Non-stop racing action of the second day of racing for the M32 Series Scandinavia Finale in Stockholm, Sweden turned thousands of heads on the shore of Lake Mälaren, providing some of the most exciting sailboat racing ever seen in Sweden.
Few would have expected that Friday was just a small taste of the action possible in the M32. “If you didn’t love the racing today, you don’t have a heartbeat,” said Team Hydra skipper Michael Hestbaek, who fought tooth-and-nail to remain on the podium despite the hard-charging American boat US-One.
Hestbaek wasn’t referring to the incredible recovery by US-One after coming literally microseconds away from a capsize, or the violent crash between Martin Strandberg (Alite Racing) and Day 2 leader Nicklas Dackhammar (Essiq Racing), as heart-pumpingly exciting as that was. The Danish skipper of Team Hydra was talking about the racing itself, which featured constant lead changes, incredible speed, and top athletes working at their maximum intensity for 3 adrenaline-charged hours of racing in the center of Stockholm. “I couldn’t look away for fear of missing something,” said World Match Racing Tour co-founder and Swedish sailing legend Magnus Holmberg.
While the fleet traded paint and penalties, Danish co-skippers Jes Gram-Hansen and Rasmus Köstner (Trifork Tuborg Yacht Klub) continued their winning ways, with the longtime racing partners taking a huge lead into the final day of racing thanks to an incident free day. “We’re really focusing on staying out of the scrum and sailing our own race, and it’s working for us,” said Köstner.
The man on the move today was Taylor Canfield and US-One, who stood in sixth place going into today’s racing – a position that would have ended his Series Championship run had Essiq Racing continued to lead the fleet.
“We weren’t worried yesterday, and we’re not worried now,” said Canfield, after easily moving into fourth place by the end of the day thanks to a series of consistent finishes in 20 knots of breeze today. That fourth place is an important one; should Canfield remain here at the end of the regatta, he will take the M32 Series Scandinavia Cup home to Miami, USA. “We’re going to keep sailing the way we are, and keep working to improve ourselves, and we’ll see how the rest plays out,” said Canfield.
Overnight leader Nicklas Dackhammar wasn’t nearly as lucky; an ill-advised gybe at 22 knots of boat speed caused Martin Strandberg’s Alite to crash into the stern of Dackhammar’s catamaran, opening a sizable hole in Essiq’s transom and sending Dackhammar’s crew ashore to repair their boat. Umpires assessed a major penalty against Dackhammar, whose inability to continue racing meant a quick ride from 1st place to 6th. Dackhammar had only the briefest of responses to media inquiries: “No Comment,” he said.
Just one day remains in the double-points finale of the M32 Series Scandinavia, and Sunday will feature a knockout round of racing followed by the final, double-points shootout between the top 6 boats in the regatta. With more big breeze forecast from the Southeast, sailing fans can expect action like they’ve never seen before on a sailboat.
Racing begins at 1400 CET, with the full live pre-show broadcast starting at 1330 CET/1230 UTC. Join us at www.m32series.com for all the action, watch on your mobile with Livestream at this link, and find video clips, highlights, and high-resolution photos from America’s Cup photographer Sander Van Der Borch on our Facebook Page here. You can relive all the action from the previous days with the full, free, on-demand video replays here.
A short highlight reel from the incredible action on Day 3 of the Battle Of Stockholm is right here.