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Another Olympic sailor to Victory Challenge


Another Olympic sailor to Victory Challenge

(December 4 2006, Valencia) He has sailed in the Olympics twice, in Sydney and in Athens.

Now, the Tornado sailor Martin Strandberg, 31, has been hired to Victory Challenge’s sailing team as a link between the afterguard and weather teams.

“It feels great; the team has very capable sailors.”

The function is new in Victory Challenge’s sailing team and another step towards effectiveness in the America’s Cup challenge for next year’s Louis Vuitton Cup with regards to both preparations on land and work onboard. Magnus Holmberg, the skipper and helmsman says:

”Hiring Martin is an important relief for the afterguard in general and the strategist in particular. During the two-boat training, he can in addition jump in as a strategist, which is good for his role when the competitions begin again in April, since he is supposed to be onboard until five minutes before the warning signal.”

It is at the five minute limit that the contact between the weather team and the sailing team is broken. It is up until that point in time when all the meteorological data is gathered for the strategy for the beginning of the race. In short, which is the most advantageous side of the course?

Martin Strandberg has previously sailed against a number of the team members. As a junior he had many duels with Victory Challenge’s second helmsman Mattias Rahm in E-dinghies. In the Olympics he competed against the Swedish America’s Cup challenger’s traveller Santiago Lange, both in 2000 and 2004 (Santiago Lange won a bronze medal in Athens).

Born and raised in Höllviken in southern Sweden, he started sailing Optimist dinghy in the Falsterbo canal as a seven year old. As a 14-year old, he won a bronze in the World Championships in this class. Then followed E-dinghy, 470 and some match racing before Martin Strandberg decided to try out Tornado as crew for the helmsman Mats Nyberg, who had already participated in three Olympics.

They winter trained in Antibes in France. On the long car ride home to Sweden, they stopped off in Verbier in Switzerland to relax with some downhill skiing. At three in the afternoon on Saturday February 13, 1999, they were on their way down an off-piste ravine.

”At the end of the ravine, I was a hundred meters in front of Mats and swung off to stand and wait for him. Then I heard thunder”.

An avalanche had been released at the top, at a height of two thousand meters.

Mats Nyberg didn’t have a chance. A head start of 100 meters saved Martin Strandberg´s life. He started the search himself.

“I was in shock; I thought that I could here Mats´ voice.”

The rescue service arrived but was forced to break off the search due to darkness and the risk for another avalanche. Mats Nyberg was 39 years old. His body was not found until later during the spring, when the snow melted.

Despite the tragedy, Martin Strandberg sailed in the Olympics. He became the helmsman and Mats Nyberg´s earlier crew, Magnus Lövdén joined him.

In the latest Olympics, Martin Strandberg sailed with Kristian Mattson as crew.

After two World Cup wins in a Tornado, in Barcelona Olympic Sailing Week 2002 and Kieler Woche 2004, but no Olympic successes, Martin Strandberg chose to try out the civil life instead. He helped to start the event company Aktivmera in Malmö, where corporate sailing is a part of the concept.

He couldn’t however entirely let go of the competition sailing. Since 2005, he has participated in a number of match racing competitions in Sweden and has sailed both 60-ton Trimaran and SeaCart30.

Finally, he sent in an application to Victory Challenge, came to Valencia for a test and has now been hired.

”It is a great change in the beginning, to be a part of such a large team. I have been allowed to sail quite a lot, a lot more than I had counted on."

Victory Challenge’s main partners for the 32nd America’s Cup are Tele2, Red Bull and MTG. Metro, Viasat and Bet24 are media partners. Sail Racing, LIROS Yacht Ropes, Rutgerson Marin and OM Pimespo Ibercarretillas are official suppliers. The team suppliers are Sebago, Fitness First in Valencia and the Nordic Sea Hotel in Stockholm.


© Scoop Media

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