After winning the European regional final of the Nations Cup in Lelystad this weekend, Viktor Ogeman, the young Swedish skipper, said his experience in the DS37 boat could give him an edge in the grand final of the Nations Cup in Middelfart, Denmark, in August.
With his two crewmates - Herman Andersson (bow/pit/trim) and Patrik Sturesson (tactics/main) - match racing on the B/One boats, Ogeman came from a flight down in the semi-final against Denmark's Joachim Aschenbrenner before beating Finland's Staffan Lindberg in the final 2-0 in dying winds on Sunday.
"It's a great feeling,"
Ogeman said. "We came to Lelystad feeling that we had the potential to beat the other sailors if we sailed on our top level, which we managed to do. We had a good feeling in the boat in the finals on Sunday, we felt confident in out speed and tactical decisions, and I think this gave us the edge we needed."
"We are looking forward to competing in our first grade 1 event, and the Nations Cup no less. We expect the level of competition to be very high, but we may have a small advantage in that we regularly practice in the DS37 boat in out home club GKSS."
The open competition of the Nations Cup final in Middelfart from August 6-10 will be raced in DS37 boats, the women's event will be sailed on Match 28s. Ogeman will not be the only skipper confident in the DS37s, but all the crews will have to adapt quickly to the conditions in this part of the Triangle Region. The Fænøsund out of Middelfart Marina, with its narrow waters, different and strong currents and localised winds make it unique and exciting for the match race crews and overlooking spectators.
The bi-annual Nations Cup is the showcase event for emerging match racing talent and former winners include Ed Baird, the 2007 America's Cup winning helmsman.
The 25-year-old Ogeman is bidding to become the first Swedish man to win the Nations Cup - Helena Strang won the women's competition in 1993. If Ogeman needed inspiration of what it means and takes to win the Nations Cup he would not have had to look far. The organiser and race director at Lelystad was Roy Heiner, who won the Nations Cup in 1993 on home waters at Hoorn in the Netherlands.
Ogeman led the seven-team round robin competition on Friday in light winds with four victories. But on Saturday, in what Heiner called "match racing paradise" sunshine and 15-20 knots - Aschenbrenner, who came into the competition as the highest ranked on ISAF's match racing tour, at 18th, dominated. He showed that you can regularly win match races from behind. In four of his six races he lost the start but managed to pass his competitor before the first leeward mark.
Aschenbrenner won the round robin, chose to face Ogeman in the semi-final and in the last race on Saturday went 1-0 up. In the other semifinal Lindberg won his first race against Mati Sepp (Estonia). The wind had dropped by Sunday and Ogeman and his crew won as it disappeared, dropping down to one knot on the final run to the finish. With the positions of the crews not changing, the race officer finished the race early, giving Ogeman victory.
N.B. There was no women's event in Lelystad, that will take place at Viana do Castelo, Portugal on June 12-16.
1. Viktor Ogeman (Sweden)
2. Staffan Lindberg (Finland)
3. Joachim Aschenbrenner (Denmark)
4. Mati Sepp (Estonia)
5. Jurjen Feitsma (The Netherlands)
6. Felix Oehme (Germany)
7. Martin Mehus (Norway)