They sail under the blue and yellow flag, work for a Swedish magnate and represent the Royal Swedish Yacht Club (KSSS). Everything about Artemis, the Swedish entry in the Louis Vuitton Trophy, seems Scandinavian...
—everything, that is, but the crew.
by Chipp Reid Torbjörn Törnqvist of the KSSS assembled a world-class team to sail for Sweden, the majority of them coming from New Zealand with a smattering of Australians and a couple Americans. The lone Swede among the crew is grinder Magnus Augustsson.
Artemis finished fourth in the latest Louis Vuitton regatta, March 9-21 in Auckland, New Zealand. The Swedish yacht reached the semifinals where it lost to Italian yacht Mascalzone Latino 2-1 in a best-of-three race. America’s Cup veteran Paul Cayard is Artemis skipper, and he was happy with his team’s performance.
“We had a good run in this regatta,” he said. “We have definitely raised our game since Nice. We made a huge step forward here in Auckland and I’m really pleased with how we sailed.”
The Louis Vuitton Trophy once crowned the America’s Cup challenger. However, following a prolonged legal battle between Swiss syndicate Allighini and American syndicate BMW Ocean Racing, sailors from around the world got together to form the World Sailing Team Association and adopted the Louis Vuitton trophy as their banner.
Although it might sound unusual for many sports fans to think of Kiwis, Aussies and Yanks representing Sweden in a world championship event, it is common in sailing. The team Cayard assembled for Sweden is one of the best in the world, although it has had a somewhat tough time in the LVT.
Artemis won the RC44 and the TP52 regattas in 2009 but hasn’t finished above fourth in two Vuitton races, in Nice and now in Auckland. Still, Cayard said he believes the LVT is fast becoming an important part of professional sailing.
“The Louis Vuitton Trophy races are going to form a fundamental part of the next America’s Cup,” he said. “It’s proving to be a great formula and we are looking forward to the future.”
In Auckland, Artemis lost the first race after Mascalzone Latino slipped into the lead at the top mark and they sailed the shifts and stayed out in front to win.
In Race 2, the Swedish team was back with a vengeance. Winning the start and forcing Mascalzone Latino over the line early, by the time the Italians dipped the line, Artemis had a lead of more than 100 meters it protected and extended throughout the race. Immediately following on from Race 2 was Race 3, with special guest John Bertrand, Skipper of Australia II, staying onboard with the Swedes.
Mascalzone Latino were aggressive in the pre-start fouling Artemis, meaning the Swedish team would have to carry the penalty only clearing it at the leeward mark. Artemis kept the pressure on but it was not enough to catch the Italians who sailed away with a clean win and a ticket to the finals.
The Louis Vuitton Trophy series continues May 6-22 in La Maddelena, Sardinia.