Magnus Olsson

Magnus Olsson was a giant bottle of “Positive Attitude” that you could pour on anything and make it shine.

For Magnus it wasn’t a matter of the glass half full or half empty. The glass was just full all the time.

His personality and enthusiasm were magnetic. He was the center of gravity of every boat, every meeting, every project. From heads of state to children sailing optis, Magnus could hang with them all.

He is one of the very few people I have ever known who everyone liked.

It is very sad to lose a guy like Magnus. Irreplaceable…. most definitely one of a kind, a legend!

But it is fair to say that few, if any, got more out of their time on this planet than Magnus Olsson.

For those of us who were lucky enough to have shared part of his life with him, we are blessed.

Thank you, Mange. We are all smiling thinking of you!

Paul

Update from Auckland

Auckland February 23, 2011

Just a quick update from down here. The Artemis Racing team is based in Auckland this week for training and attendance in America’s Cup meetings. Auckland is approximately 450 miles north of Christchurch, the site of the large earthquake of February 22. No one on Artemis Racing was involved directly or injured in the earthquake.

Artemis Racing extends its sincere condolences for those who lost loved ones in the disaster and sympathy for those who are currently struggling to get their lives back in order following this natural disaster.

Update from Auckland

Auckland New Zealand, February 21, 2011

It was Mid December when I last wrote an update. No racing has taken place for Artemis since the RC 44 regatta in Miami but a lot has been going on with regard to our America’s Cup project. I was recently in Valencia for a couple of weeks working with Juan Kouyoumdjian and our design team who are based there. We also had a team meeting that lasted three days.

I arrived in Auckland today for a week to follow two issues; 1) ACRM meetings to discuss the aC72 and AC45 class rules, new racing rules of sailing, logistics around the World Series events and the SF venue and 2) to test sail the prototype of the AC45. The meetings went well today. Unfortunately the sailing didn’t. Our team capsized in the AC 45. It wasn’t even a spectacular wipeout at 30 knots. Rather they were sitting head to wind, taking a break after the three hour training session and repairing something on the roller furler. The boat got hit with a gust from about 10 degrees off to one side and the boat slowly rolled over. No one was hurt and the boat was back at the dock within two hours.

There is very little structural damage to the wing but a lot of the “skin” of the wing came off. Our team will help ACRM get the wing repaired and back out onto the water asap. A cyclone is approaching Auckland and is due to hit later Wednesday so it will probably be after that when Artemis can get back to sailing the Prototype.

The team are going to make a “playbook” on the capsize. Yes, even in a unfortunate situation, there is a lot to learn. Hopefully if this happens again, we will be able to right the boat without losing the skin. One thing for sure, it was good it was a 72 footer capsizing today.

Simultaneous to the activities down here, Terry Hutchinson and part of the Artemis Racing team are in Oman racing the first Extreme 40 event of the year. This is a very nice reward for a lot of hard work by our team to up-skill in multihulls. Our team has put in a lot of hard work to get up to speed in multihulls and have been there training for almost three weeks.

Paul

Tom Blackaller Video

Lisa Blackaller | January 07, 2011 | YouTube

I just had to share this clip with old friends in the America’s Cup world. This video clips and interview were done with my dad prior to his untimely death in 1989. He would certainly be thrilled and amazed that, yes in fact, the America’s Cup IS coming to San Francisco Bay, and it IS being sailed in fast catamarans! Too bad he is not alive to share in all the excitement. He would love it all.

Nassau, Bahamas

I flew in to Nassau today largely to see one person; Sir Durward Knowles. The Star Western Hemisphere Spring Championship will take place here this week and 32 teams are here training. It means a lot to Durward to have the Stars here in his hometown. Durward is the Commodore of the International Star Class. He is a Gold Medalist, World Champion and a great man. He is a hero in the Bahamas and noted more for his charitable work than for his sporting accomplishments. Durward took me into his home in 1982 during the Springs and hosted me and my crews many times since. He is a great friend and mentor.

I am unable to defend my title here this week due to other commitments, so I was planning to simply stop by for a visit but then had the unexpected pleasure of being asked to go for a sail. Andrew Campbell is out in Long Beach coaching the CISA clinic so his crew Brad Nichol asked me if I wanted to go out for a little tune up.

So I did. Nassau is my favorite place in the world to race. The wind the waves, the crystal clear water and warm temperatures all combine to make this an intensely exotic venue.

It was blowing 15 knots from the northeast today. The waves were moderate and the sea was warm as always. Surfing back toward the yacht club I was thinking back to my first sail here 30 years ago and how that downwind ride never changes. New construction never ceases on Paradise Island and the tourists have trampled through the hotels. But no one can change that beautiful sea and wind.

So, all in a day…. I spent time my good friend and felt my favorite wind and sea. I feel pretty lucky.

Tomorrow, at 0800, I am off to Geneva.

Paul

An unexpected opportunity

(January 5, 2010) Bob Little has played the game of sailing at nearly every level, and would have likely been racing a Lido 14 with his kids last November if not for an unexpected phone call and opportunity. Here is his story:

It wasn’t the type of phone call a guy like me would expect on a random late October night on the way home from work. It was a message from Paul Cayard asking if I would be interested in joining him and his RC44 program ‘Katusha’ as the Helmsman in their next event called the Gold Cup in Dubai. “Interested? Dubai? Paul Cayard? Me? Helmsman? Is this for real, I thought?”

I dialed him back and learned that he needed a helmsman for the fleet racing portion of the event who is qualified as a category 1 sailor and willing to make the trip to the UAE during the entire week of the Thanksgiving holiday here in the states. It took all of two minutes to get the support of my wife “Mrs Peaches” (more on that name later), so I jumped at the opportunity.

Now… I have sailed with Paul before on John Kilroy’s Farr 40 program, so this was not a total cold call? but why me? in this amazing event 8,500+ miles from home? Let?s be fair, I am not out sailing on a daily basis these days. And as far as Paul Cayard goes, I presume I am like most other sailors… more used to reading about him sailing around the globe or keeping up on his Volvo or America’s Cup email updates rather than fielding phone calls from ‘the man’.

Anyway, on Saturday, November 21st before Thanksgiving I was off to the Dubai, passport in-hand, ground transportation instructions and a target weight for the morning after arrival crew weigh-in. Having no cell phone or email reception the next morning, I found my way down to the dock where I saw an amazing line-up of these RC44’s. The shore teams were already populating the dock that morning with work lists and projects that needed to be done. The boats are a true sailor?s machine, designed by Russell Coutts and outfitted with the best equipment and pro sailors available on the planet.

So let’s see… I am in the office Friday in Los Angeles and Monday I am standing on the dock in Dubai ?not bad. A 1:00 pm dock start for starting practice that day got things rolling quickly and I definitely felt a bit rusty getting plugged into this great team of sailors. Hopefully, I would be a quick study as I was asked to play tactician while Paul drove the match race practice drills! After starting drills I was able to get some driving time in preparation for the fleet racing series later in the week. I can tell you that these boats are as hard to drive as they are fun. If you are off the pace, guys like Marco Contant and Robbie Naismith are quick to let you know your deficiencies and keep you focused!

After a couple more days of practice, we were ready to begin the event with the match race portion starting on Wednesday. We had a great series finishing 3:1 in light and shifty conditions but were penalized for an incident causing damage which deducted a couple points from our overall match race series score. Somewhere along the line Paul had written a daily report about my nickname “peaches”, which apparently clogged his email with responses, for which I apologized to him about… “Sorry about that Mr. Cayard”.

But for those interested, approximately 24 years ago I got crossed-up with some guys named Craig Leweck, Kimo Worthington and Billy Worthington doing an IOR boat delivery from LA to San Francisco for Big Boat Series, and yes, all I brought to eat for the entire six days at sea was Del Monte canned peaches. They starved, I was fine. End of story (P.S. they also thought they were pretty cool back then).

Friday dawned, the first day of fleet racing, and I was psyched to be behind the wheel of Katusha and give it my best. The conditions remained fairly light requiring major concentration and feel for the boat. It also reminded me that on every level, sailing boils down to the basics; getting line sights, judging the wind strength for boat set-up, checking current, sailing upwind to check speed, keep your head out of the boat, look for pressure, etc. But like all competitive classes it seems the whole fleet arrives at the first mark at the same time regardless of how good you start and how smart you sail. Clear air and positioning were key and we did a good job of always being in the game with finishes of 4-9-5-6-3-7-8*-10-7-4 (the 8* representing double points for our 4th place finish in the distance race, which was a tough race and a great experience in itself).

It was great sailing with Paul and all the guys on Katusha, I was truly honored to join them in Dubai; the whole event was very organized and professionally managed on and off the water. We had such a good time and I learned a lot. Departed the UAE Monday morning after Thanksgiving and after gaining 12 hours, I arrived in LA noon the same day.

Tuesday I was back at work reflecting on what seemed like a dream. I imagined it would be akin to an amateur golfer with a real job, being invited to play a scramble at the Masters at St. Andrews with the likes of Michelson, Woods, Furyk or Westwood; and then after a week in that environment returning to the office with just the reflection of an opportunity seized… and it all started with a phone call on a late October night.

When Bob isn?t fielding dream phone calls, he is a Project Manager in the commercial real estate industry.

World Yacht Racing Forum press release and exclusive video

World Yacht Racing Forum brings light on future of the America’s Cup

Last week’s World Yacht Racing Forum America’s Cup session brought clear answers from both Alinghi and BMW ORACLE Racing. Publically united for the first time since two years, Russell Coutts and Brad Butterworth agreed on several key elements.

World Yacht Racing Forum exclusive videos: click on the links below to download and watch:

Clip 1: Brad Butterworth and Russell Coutts explain where and when – according to them – the next Cup will take place. They also discuss their views about the possibility of getting back to Court after the regatta.

World Yacht Racing Forum

Monte Carlo – Just leaving Monaco this morning following two days here for the World Yacht Racing Forum.

Now in its second year, the Forum is really growing into quite an event. There were two parts this year: a commercial, sports side and in another hall, running contemporaneously, a technical forum with subects ranging from composite rigging to standards for construction of racing yachts.

It is kind of a collection of who’s who in yacht racing from the designers like Juan K and Vincent Prevost to the sailors like Brad Butterworth, Russell Coutts and Michele Desjoyeaux. I participated with Russell and Brad in the forum on the America’s Cup. The tone was very friendly and there was a demontrative expression from both of the teams to get out on the water and have their race ASAP. Each team showed a very high energy video/slideshow of their extremely impressive sailing machines. The fact is that after all the frustration and ugliness of the past two years, the race between the two giant multihulls will be a special moment in our sports history and something to see.

In the midst of the Forum, a light bulb went off in my head; we may have missed a great opportunity in the past two years. Rather than just sitting around and waiting in frustration, we, the Challengers, should have taken the initiative to put forward a Protocol to resolve a lot of the problems plaguing the current match. We have a unique opportunity right now; neither Alinghi and BMW Oracle knows who will be holding the cards for the 34th America’s Cup. So this is a time where each may be more willing to agree to a “fair and independant” event managment structure. Either could find themselves on the Challenger side for 34th America’s Cup and that party would certainly want a modern and objective event organization.

So after I mentioned this idea, many people came to me and said, “Hey, that’s a great idea. Its not too late. Get to work!”

I am in Geneva today visiting Torbjorn Tornqvist, the Artemis chief, and then my friends at Rolex this afternoon. San Fran tomorrow. Anyone need some frequent flyer miles?

Nestle Brasil Match Cup

Well we wound up 1 spot off the top but still pretty good result.

We won the round robin and then had a one race final against the second place team. In the one final race, things were tight and close the whole way but we could not get past Daniel Glomb and his team. The field was pretty talented with Robert Scheidt, Torben Grael, and Xavier Rohart all competing.

I had a great 4 days down here. The people are very friendly and there is a special spirit around competitions in Brasil. They are obviously winners, Torben Grael and Robert Scheidt have a few Gold medals to prove that. But there is a relaxed happy spirit here that overlays everything. The other thing is that you are almost never late here. It is just a matter of figuring out how late is going to be on time.

I am staying here most of the day tomorrow before my flight to Monaco tomorrow night where I will participate in the World Yacht Racing Forum.

I am going to hit the outdoor gym on Ipanema Beach tomorrow morning. I know it will be cold in Europe and in SF when I get home next weekend so I am going to soak up the sun!

Complete results at www.matchcup.com.br