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Ibiza JoySail, scene for J Class Svea collecting Kohler Cup

by Ibiza JoySail 4 Oct 2023 15:46 BST 27-30 September 2023
The crew of Svea with Niklas Zenström with the Kolher Cup at the trophy ceremony of the Ibiza JoySail © Nico Martínez

The J Class Svea, with her co-owner Niklas Zennström at the helm, has won the highly valued Kohler Cup, a prize set aside for boats from this class, and which was handed out after Ibiza JoySail.

The Kohler Cup is a trophy that was created in memory of the entrepreneur and philanthropist Terry Kohler, who bought North Sails from Lowell North upon his retirement in 1984. Terry was passionate about North Sails and helped the firm maintain its position as a technology leader within sailmaking.

A graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, he saw the enormous potential of embracing technology for sails. Under his guidance, North Sails introduced 3D sailmaking. He owned the company from 1984 until 2014, the year of his death.

Kolher's love of sailing spilled over into the wider sailing community. He was hugely passionate about this sport, particularly women's sailing and match racing, having worked with the last US Women's Olympic Team in 2012.

Some of his greatest legacies have been the Sail Sheboygan Sailing Center and the Sailing Education Associate of Sheboygan (SEAS), both non-profit organisations.

Svea, Velsheda and Topaz

After Svea's victory in the Kohler Cup with 3 points, second place went to Velsheda, tied at 6 points with third-placed Topaz. As a result, Svea picked up the baton from Ranger, winner of the last edition of the Kohler Cup.

Over four days, from Wednesday to Saturday, Svea and Topaz lined up over three races contested in very light winds. Svea, with co-owner Niklas Zennström steering, Bouwe Bekking on tactics and Steve Hayles as navigator, won all three contests.

Svea's project manager, Tim Powell, commented after Ibiza JoySail that "it was good to sail in the lighter breezes in sub-seven-knot wind, a key factor in learning how to handle these boats, which is a learning curve for us. We learned more about the rig set up, manoeuvring, how you turn the boat in these conditions, just learning the whole package really. It's very different to how these boats handle in twelve knots of wind. There are lots of little things you don't know until you've done them. We haven't done very much light air sailing this year, so it was all good".

About Ibiza JoySail, he said that "'it was a really good event with a very good shoreside hospitality area. It was well run and an enjoyable regatta all round. As the final regatta of the season, it was good fun, and we had a great end-of-season dinner together".

Paul Kelly, Svea's captain, was really enthusiastic about Ibiza JoySail, saying "this is Ibiza: everyone wants to come here as it has places to visit, great restaurants, and so on, and it's always a wonderful destination, which is a good incentive for coming". He added that "the wind wasn't in our favour, and we can't do anything about that, but it was fantastic as far as the social side was concerned. Having a hub for all the yachts and crew, being able to have breakfast together, and enjoying a post-race beer was wonderful".

On the possible return of the J Class, Svea's captain recognised that "two years ahead is a long time to know where we're going to be, as we might still be in the Caribbean. However, we'll definitely talk about it, and we'd like to come back for sure".

Tim Kröger, Topaz's project manager, said of Ibiza JoySail that "the organisation on the water was perfect and well executed. Unfortunately, we didn't have much wind, but the team did its best to find the optimal place to get the most out of the wind. They made the right decisions at the right times and ultimately, we were able to enjoy a great race".

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