Page 1

WHAT IS THE NOKIA OOPS CUP? The Nokia Oops Cup is a professional circuit of multihull racing, taking place in the Nordic countries. Since 2001, the cup has developed into a major media sports event, with spectator crowds up to 50,000. The cup now attracts the best sailors around, and guest starring are also names like Bruno Peyron. The Nokia Oops cup combines longdistance, offshore racing and short-course inshore racing, right on the waterfront of the major Nordic cities. This year, speed duels have been added to the program – two boats challenge each other in speed races, blasting around the buoys, close to the crowds on the dockside. Atlant Ocean Racing is managing the event, together with local yacht clubs. The Formula 60 trimaran makes the Oops an experience of spectacular speed, visual beauty, and action-packed racing. These boats, also known from the ORMA circuit in France, are the fastest sailing boat class in the world. So far, the top speed measured during Nokia Oops Cup is 43.7 knots. See more on: www.nokiaoopscup.com

86

MULTIHULLS Magazine • November/December 2006


Nokia Oops Cup 2006:

THE SWEDISH REVENGE By Øyvind Bordal

T

he annual Nordic battle in the world’s fastest sailing class came down to a fight between nations this year. Finland, Norway and Sweden took professional multihull racing to an even higher level, and the Swedish Team Hi-Q finally got Norwegian Knut Frostad under their belt. We look back at the highs and lows of the latest edition of the Nokia Oops Cup.

A few months before the show went on the road, we asked Andreas Andersén, co-skipper on the Swedish entry Hi-Q, what the team would focus on during preparation and training. What would give the Swedes the necessary edge, when they encountered their main opponent, Knut Frostad and his Academyteam – who had beaten Hi-Q two years in a row?


“Well,” he said, “actually, there’s two main aspects, both rather simple and basic. We need to keep the boat together. And we need to handle it well. These simple things have actually proven to be the most important factors – when we look at previous years, it becomes obvious that these are the areas where you risk losing the most. These are also areas where the risks and challenges of these boats are really big. Everything is brought to the limit technically, every extra gram is shaved off, and the loads are so tremendous that keeping everything from breaking is something that needs a lot of attention. And if something breaks, most likely you end up at the bottom of the fleet, or even with a DNF. We spend a lot of time, energy and money on preventing that from happening.” Simple things matter most Not surprisingly, the second aspect – the boathandling – is also critical on these boats. “When your opponents are going 30 knots, you go from first to last pretty quickly if you get tangled up in a tack,” Andersén explains. “And the risk of breaking something also increases dramatically when boathandling is not working well. So you see, the finer little tactical and strategic moves certainly mean something – in a given, single race. But in the long 88

run – and that is the most interesting, if you want to win – the basic things have proven to be the factors that matter the most. The crew must know the boat backward and forward, and inside out. That way, they can prevent breakdowns, keep the boat functioning, and also drive it close to max speed the entire time. We have discovered that knowing your boat also makes you fast, because you know exactly when and how to change gears and trim the rig, as conditions change. In a boat where the right trim adjustment can increase your boat speed by more than 5 knots, this also becomes a major issue.” The knowing-your-boat thing Andersén’s words became a prophecy, making you wonder whether he possesses paranormal abilities. Swedish Hi-Q won the Nokia Oops Cup 2006, one single little point ahead of Frostad’s Team Nokia Academy – and when the margins were on the Swedish side, it was exactly the knowing-your-boat thing that made the difference. Last year, the Norwegians sailed the oldest boat in the fleet, clearly slower in a breeze than the rest. But, they knew that boat so well, and sailed it so smoothly, that they ended up as a surprising second. This year, Frostad and his team came in a new boat, just sailed home from France. The boat had all the features of a fourth MULTIHULLS Magazine • November/December 2006


generation Formula 60: Extra-wide beam, extra buoyancy in floats, curved foils so strong that they could carry the whole boat, and a hydraulically canting mast. The speed potential was far better than the boat they had the previous year. But the Norwegians will probably remember the summer 2006 for the long hours of repairing and rebuilding. Damage after damage hit them, and even though the battle for victory was kept alive almost to the last day, the Academy team clearly lost to Hi-Q this year, simply because they didn’t know the boat as well as the Swedes knew theirs. Well aware of this, the Norwegian team plans to work its way into every little corner of the new boat, before Nokia Oops Cup hits the headlines again, probably at the beginning of June 2007. “Of course, I’m disappointed,” explains Frostad. “This year has been frustrating – everything has broken, daggerboards, sails, and foils, just about everything. We have sailed a boat that wasn’t ours, we got it late and didn’t have time to check it out thoroughly, and then you don’t know how it had been maintained earlier. But, we have had some fun victories as well, he says, like winning Gotland Runt (Round Gotland Race) and the Offshore Race from Helsinki to Copenhagen. On those occasions,” he says, “we did everything right.” The sailors generally agreed that the level this year was higher than ever, and the professionalism around the teams obviously has grown, year by year. As a result, Team Nokia Academy now had boatbuilders on the team – their previous occupation was no less than building the Abn Amro boats, winners of the last Volvo Ocean Race. This came especially handy this year, and might be the reason why the Norwegian team did manage to breathe down the necks of the Swedes the whole way through. Happy skipper Three years ago, skipper Klabbe Nylöf and his Hi-Q team also won the Oops. The last two years have been more of an uphill experience, with the team finishing second and third – on both occasions behind Knut Frostad’s Academy-boys. “We have worked so hard for this,” Klabbe said over the champagne in Kiel. “It feels great that it lead to victory. Actually, it feels like revenge, to get this victory again. Two years in a row we have had problems with our boat, but this year everything worked great. We have sailed well and fast, and we have been in good shape, both with our material and our backup shore organization.” MULTIHULLS Magazine • November/December 2006

Klabbe Nylöf

Smaller fleet – higher level Sailors and others involved in the event were worried prior to the start this year – problems on several teams with sponsors and boats meant that only three teams made it to the starting line. Immediately, this looked like a major setback, as last year’s fleet counted six boats. But, as the first battle in Oslo showed, the level of excitement was intact. The classic distance regatta “Faerder Race” turned into a fierce and close fight between Hi-Q and Nokia Academy, with ever-changing positions through the white Norwegian summer night. Crisscrossing through the more than 1,000 boats, the three giant trimarans became the main attraction of one of the world’s largest regattas. And the finish was breathtaking: Two minutes separated the Swedes and the Norwegians, after 250 miles of racing. Finnish TietoEnator Audi finished third, and even if the Finns ended up in that position in many of the races to follow, there was no giving away from their side. Former Olympic champion Thomas Johansson and his team were strengthened by Steve Ravussin, last year’s winner, and the Finns were fast and consistent, and getting better as the circuit moved along towards the final battle in Kiel, Germany. Helsinki City Race became a thriller, where all three boats were equally close to victory before the last day, and TietoEnator Audi 89


showed the home crowd that they were the masters of course racing in Helsinki harbour. The speed duel was to pick the winner, and the Swedes finally flew in to a narrow victory. Catfight The two leaders came to the Malmø City Race with equal points, and the Swedish audience saw a catfight between them: Frostad pushed Nylöf outside the starting buoy, time and time again, pressing Hi-Q to restart. As a result, the Finns came out far ahead, and won two out of four heats – but with impressive boat speed Hi-Q came back, eventually leaving Nokia Academy in its wake. Boat speed problems frustrated the Norwegians in this part of the Cup, and they had a hard time in Malmø, realizing that they were about to lose the grip on the total victory. With just one point between each of them, Hi-Q won the Malmø City Race, despite the aggressive Norwegian tactics, and finally they had an edge on the Norwegians. Oh, sweet revenge The offshore race from Malmø, Sweden, leading to the final inshore race in Kiel, Germany, was to decide the total result. During a night with winds up to 35 knots, the three trimarans fought their way past Denmark with speeds exceeding 35 knots. 90

Hi-Q kept the boat flying in perfect balance and great speed, and when they reached Kiel after 21 hours, they knew the Nokia Oops Cup 2006 was theirs – as long as they made it to the finish line in the inshore races in Kiel. In an attempt to push the boat maximum, Frostad and the Academy boys started the offshore race with a big gennaker, which blew into pieces shortly after the start. But, in the final city race in Kiel, the Norwegians saved their honor, proved their attitude and ability, and won in great style, leaving TietoEnator second, and the more conservatively sailing Hi-Q boys third. For them to have a breakdown at that point would be a disaster, for the scoring system awards no points to a boat that doesn’t finish a race. This could actually cost the Swedish team the final victory. But Hi-Q Sailing Team brought it all home safely. The sweet revenge over Team Nokia Academy tasted good after two years of defeat – but next year, the Norwegians are determined to return, probably knowing every inch of their boat. The Finns, who in several races were the fastest boat, will be thirsting for the next step up on the ladder. And probably, several other teams will challenge the three. Nokia Oops Cup 2007 could very well prove to be an even wilder experience. We will be back! MULTIHULLS Magazine • November/December 2006


THE TEAMS Sweden: Hi-Q Sailing Team Hi-Q has been one of the most consistent, dominating teams for the last four seasons. Winners in 2003, runner-up in 2004, and third in 2005 – managed this year to turn the downward slope and come out on top. The boat is skippered by one of Sweden’s most profiled sailors, Klabbe Nylöf. Klabbe’s merit list includes two Whitbread Round The World races – one as a crewmember on the winning EF Language 1998, and one as a skipper on the secondplaced Assa Abloy in 2002. Wildest experience in his own mind, though, is being watch captain and helmsman on Orange, during the world record distance run (706 n.miles in 24 hours...) Hi-Q Sailing Team bought the former ORMA-winner Groupama last year. This year they came with an experienced and motivated team, in a fast boat that they knew inside and out, and with brand-new Quantum sails. The combination proved unbeatable. Norway: Team Nokia Academy Also one of the most merited teams in the Oops Cup. This has been the third season for the Norwegians, and they started like the Swedes: On top. In 2004, Academy won 10 out of 11 races! Last year no one could touch Bruno Peyron, Steve Ravussin and Roger Nilsson on Stena Sovcomflot, but Team Academy came closest. The team consists of a mix of young, ambitious sailors and experienced sea wolves, with thousands of ocean miles under their belts. Founder and skipper is Knut Frostad; 3-time Whitbread/Volvo Ocean Race (2.4.6., two entries MULTIHULLS Magazine • November/December 2006

as a captain, and actually a fourth on some of the legs aboard Brazil 1 in the latest VOR) Knut has sailed just about everything in professional racing during the last 15 years, and is a respected team leader. Finland: Team TietoEnator Audi Third time out for the Finns; 4th place in 2005, 5th in 2004 – the team has had a hard time reaching quite the same consistent level as the two others. This year they competed with a fast, well-trimmed boat, giving the other two teams a fight to the finish – and kicking their butt on several occasions. Skipper is Thomas Johansson, a former Olympic champion in the 49 class, and co-skipper and helmsman is world class dinghy sailor Kenneth Thelen. Skipper and owner of the 2005 winner, Steve Ravussin, joined the Finns this summer, and all together the team delivered its best achievement so far. Total results Nokia Oops Cup 2006: 1 Hi-Q Sailing Team – 26 points 2 Team Nokia Academy – 25 points 3 Team TietoEnator Audi – 15 points

MM

TietoEnator Audi

91

Profile for Øyvind Bordal

Oops Cup - The swedish revenge  

Oops! Not an exclamation after spilling coffee. Oops cup is hardcire racing in the world's fastest trimaran class. Published in Mulithulls M...

Oops Cup - The swedish revenge  

Oops! Not an exclamation after spilling coffee. Oops cup is hardcire racing in the world's fastest trimaran class. Published in Mulithulls M...

Profile for bordal
Advertisement