In mid-September, between the two America’s Cup fall races on San Francisco Bay, the Artemis team, representing The Royal Swedish Yacht Club (KSSS), provided six of the yacht club’s finest young sailors, all in their early twenties — Anna Mikkelsen, Johanna Sommarlund, Julia Gross, Antonia Sjöstedt, Louise Törnsten and Hampus Appelgren — together with their coach, the full America’s Cup experience both on and off the water. They experienced everything from working out in the gym with the team, to maintaining the racing craft, to training on the AC45s on San Francisco Bay.

Mentored by their nautical heroes, these aspiring sailors are already competing at the top of their game in a variety of boats: 29ers, 49ers, Laser radials and Europe dinghies. These young Swedish competitors now are in training to represent Sweden in the 2016 Olympics in Rio.
This week of training and racing was the first initiative of the Artemis Racing Youth Programme, which wrapped up on Saturday, September 15th with the Artemis Racing Invitational. The Swedish sailors lined up against four American university sailing teams for a team racing regatta organized by the Encinal Yacht Club. Team racing in Flying Juniors (FJs) was a first for the Swedish sailors who only had a few hours to train prior to the event.

The collegiate sailors from the University of California, Berkeley, Western Washington University and Encinal Yacht Club enjoyed racing against the Swedish sailors who by the end of the day progressed through the matches to win the team racing finals. As impressive as this result for the newcomers to team racing was, the final scoring, however, took into account all the round robin scores; so, it was Western Washington University who won overall. The students who travelled from Washington for the regatta will now get to return to the Bay to redeem their prize - a sail on one of the Artemis Racing AC45s.
"Six strong youth sailors from the KSSS had the golden opportunity to visit one of the top Challengers for the 2013 America's Cup this week. It was a dream come true for these young sailors to be so close to a professional sailing team. The inspiration from Artemis will stay in our minds forever," said Coach Björn Johansson.

By Ted Olsson

Read more on Artemis, 'The Challenger of Record' and the Americas Cup