Wednesday, 23 March 2011
Magnus Olsson. Image copyright Dave Kneale/Volvo Ocean Race.
by Sophie Luther
Six-time race veteran, Magnus Olsson has accepted an invitation to become an Ambassador to the Volvo Ocean Race Legends Regatta and Reunion, to be held in Alicante 1-5 November this year. Olsson joins fellow Ambassadors Lady Pippa Blake and Sir Chay Blyth CBE, BEM.
The blond-haired Swede, renowned for his cheery and up-beat attitude as well as his sailing skills has been at the heart of this, the premier offshore race, since he first raced with rockstar Simon Le Bon onboard Drum in the 1985-86 Whitbread Round the World Race, the forerunner to today’s Volvo Ocean Race. Becoming an Ambassador to the first official reunion of all the people whose lives have been touched by the race means the world to him.
”Everyone who has raced around the world knows that it’s a great achievement and a memory for life. The Volvo Ocean Race builds strong characters, and for me to become an Ambassador for all these wonderful people is a great honour,” says Magnus.
”I will also do my very best to convince younger sailing generations that Volvo Ocean Race is a must, and I am looking forward to participating in the Volvo Ocean Legends and to meeting (and beating) my old friends and competitors!”
Olsson had to circumnavigate the globe five times before he finally found himself in charge of his own crew, something he always said he never wanted. He and his ‘rookie’ Scandinavian team onboard Ericsson 3 in th e Volvo Ocean Race 2008-09 survived a near sinking on leg four, suffering serious structural damage during the gale-ridden leg from Singapore to Qingdao in China.
They suspended racing in order to limp into Taiwan where they made substantial repairs, finally arriving in China on the day the rest of the fleet began the next leg to Rio de Janeiro.
For Olsson and his team there was no restful stopover. Instead they had just over an hour to load 40 days’ worth of food and diesel and set sail again on the most demanding and, potentially, the most dangerous leg of the course, chasing the teams that had left seven hours earlier. They were quickly back in contention and a brilliant tactical decision by Olsson’s young navigator, Aksel Magdahl, a sailor half Olsson’s age (30) and competing in the Volvo for the first time, swept them into pole position.
Passing the notorious Cape Horn in the lead, Olsson and the crew of Ericsson 3 won the 12,300-nautical-mile leg comfortably, by taking a northerly track, and in doing so, rewrote the history books. "It’s unbelievable," Olsson said at the finish - a word he repeats often about insignificant things. This time he meant it.
The Volvo Ocean Race Legends will celebrate the long and varied history of the world’s premier ocean race and includes racing and social events in November this year for all those who have competed or been involved with the event since its inauguration in 1973. It promises to be an occasion not to be missed, with many ex-sailors travelling from all over the world to take part.
About Magnus Olsson
• Born in Sweden (62)
• Drum 1985-86
• The Card 1989-90
• Intrum Justitia 1993-94 (2nd W60)
• EF Language (winning boat) 1997-98
• Assa Abloy 2001-02 (2nd)
• &nb sp; Ericsson 3 2008-09 (skipper)
• Ericsson 3 won leg five Qingdao – Rio de Janeiro
• Ericsson 3’s elapsed time for leg five 40:05:37:57
Entries in the Volvo Ocean Race Legends Regatta and Reunion
• Great Britain II/Whitbread Heritage (Maxi) took part in the first five races
• Copernicus 1973-74 (45’: the smallest boat ever to race)
• Rothmans 1989-90 (Maxi)
• Berge Viking 1981-82 (Swan 57)
• Charles Jourdan 1989-90 (Maxi)
The official Notice of Race and entry form is now available for download together with full information on how to take part and a preliminary schedule of events from: http://volvooceanrace.com/news/Legends-Regatta-Information/3022
About the Volvo Ocean Race Legends Regatta and Reunion
• The first ever official reunion of all who have sailed in the world’s premier ocean race since the inaugural race in 1973-74
• To be held in Alicante, Spain from 1-5 November 2011, week between Alicante In-Port Race and the Start of Leg One of the Volvo Ocean Race
• A full racing schedule over two days
• Will conclude with a departure ceremony and parade of sail to escort the Volvo Ocean Race fleet to the start line for Leg One
• A rich shoreside programme includes a regatta prizegiving, a gala dinner and a host of other social events
• Chat shows and forums after racing
• Legends entries open for public viewing
• 148 boats have crossed the start line in the 37-year history of The Whitbread/Volvo Ocean Race
• 1974 crew competed in the first 10 events
• The first 31,250 nautical-mile race first took place 37 years ago (as the Whitbread Round the World Race 1973-74), testing the crews against some of the most ferocious elements that man can encounter
• The Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12 will be the 11th edition of the event
Lady Pippa Blake
Sir Chay Blyth CBE, BEM