|© Hans Berggren/Ericsson Racing Team
|| Torben Grael
|Date of Birth
|| 22 July 1960
|Place of Birth
|| Sao Paulo, Brazil
In October 2008, Torben Grael embarked on his second Volvo Ocean Race as skipper of Ericsson 4. The race statistics speak for themselves and after ten legs, Grael had led Ericsson 4 to the podium in eight of them and of those, five were at the top. Ericsson 4 was also in the top three at all seven offshore scoring gates and on the podium for three of the seven in-port races, Grael's team accrued a total of 114.5 points which represents 84% of the total points available. The team was unbeatable for the final leg and they crossed the finish line in St Petersburg with a nine-point lead.
With five Olympic medals under his belt, multiple world championship titles and a Louis Vuitton Cup, Torben Grael is a true world class competitor at every level of the sport and it was not long into leg one that his team made their mark on the Volvo Ocean Race 2008-2009. On 29 October, Ericsson 4 entered the record books claiming the 24hour Monohull World Record sailing a phenomenal 596.6nm, an average speed of 24.85 knots.
Grael's secret to success is in the intensive training and the solidity of the Ericsson 4 team. The only boat in the race not to make changes to their crew list, the tough competition and new race route meant a consistent performance throughout was essential. After nine months and nearly 40,000 nautical miles of racing, Ericsson 4 was the undisputed winner of the Volvo Ocean Race 2009-2009.
Volvo 70 - Ericsson 4 - (skipper with 10 crew)
1 - Volvo Ocean Race 2008-2009 - Oct 2008-Jun 2009
24 hour Monohull World Record - 596.6nm - average speed 24.85 knots - 29 Oct 2008
2 - Rolex Ilhabela Sailing Week - Mitsubushi - Jul 2009
STP 65 - Luna Rossa (tactician)
2 - Cowes Week, Cowes, Isle of Wight, GBR- Aug 2009
2 - Rolex Fastnet Race, Cowes, Isle of Wight-Plymouth, GBR - Aug 2009
What inspired you to take up sailing?
My grandfather Preben and my uncles Axel and Erik Schmidt.
What was the first boat you ever sailed and how old were you?
The boat was the 1912 Six Metre Aileen, former Nurdug II (silver medallist in 1912 for Denmark) which was my grand fathers boat. Age? hard to know...
Name your first sailing club
Rio Yacht Club (known as 'sailing' which is not the Iate Clube de Rio de Janeiro
What was the first event you competed in and in what year?
My first little trophy is from a race in 1967 - I was 7 years old
What are you personal sailing career highlights?
5 Olympic Medals (the only sailor to achieve this)
Gold - 2004 - Star
Gold - 1996 - Star
Silver - 1984 - Soling
Bronze - 2000 - Star
Bronze - 1988 - Star
Winner of the VOR 08/09 - Skipper Ericsson 4
3rd - VOR 05/06 - Skipper Brasil 1
Winner of the Louis Vuitton Cup 2000 - Luna Rossa (tactician)
Challenger for the America's Cup 2000 - Luna Rossa (tactician)
Finalist of the Louis Vuitton Cup 2007 - Luna Rossa (tactician)
Semi-finalist of the Louis Vuitton Cup 2003 - Luna Rossa (tactician)
Winner of 6 World Championships
Star - 1990
Snipe - 1987, 1983
Snipe Juniors - 1973
One Tonner - 1992
12 Metre - 1999
Silver medallist at 9 World Championships
Star - 2005, 2002, 1998, 1995, 1991
Soling - 1985
Snipe - 1989
One Tonner - 1991
50' Class IOR - 1992
What are your future sailing goals?
Evaluating at the moment
Who has had the greatest impact on your sailing and career and why?
My uncles, for their great passion and technical knowledge.
Who is your sailing hero?
What other sports do you enjoy?
Tennis & Volleyball
What does being nominated for the ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards mean to you and how would you feel if you were voted the winner?
It is always nice to be nominated for this prestigious award, as it has been in 96, 01 and 04, but winning would be a fantastic outcome for a fantastic year I have had so far.
Not only for winning teh 08/09 VOR in advance and breaking the monohull record on the way, almost reaching the 600 mile barrier but for being runner up at the Rolex Ilhabela Sailing Week, Cowes Week, the Rolex Fastnet Race and finishing third at the Rolex Maxi Worlds in Porto Cervo.
But also for having the imeasurable pleasure of having my daughter Martine as an ISAF Youth World Champion in the 420 class and finishing 4th female at the 420 Worlds for the second year in a row. Plus having my son Marco as a winner of the Rolex Ilhabela Sailing Week as well as winner of Brazils main match racing event.
Finally our Social Project known as 'Projeto Grael', now in it's 11th year, reaching more than 9,000 kids has assisted with sailing schools and other activities such as fibreglass, carpentry, sailing making and mechanics.