onsdag 20 april 2011

Johnie Berntsson på World Matchracing Tour

Sent i höstas blev jag tillfrågad av Johnie Berntsson om jag ville segla med honom under 2011. Jag har seglat några tävlingar och träningar med Johnie förut och jag ville gärna komma tillbaks till att köra matchracing. Så det var inte svårt att bestämma sig för att hoppa på. Att planerna dessutom gick vägen och teamet fick ett tour kort, som garanterar inbjudan till minst 6 av 9 world tourtävlingar under året, kom som extra krydda på moset.
I helgen seglade vi Ice breaker i Långedrag, mitt första deltagande i teamet och första matchracing tävling sedan 2007. Vi vann, som vi borde men det kändes som en bra start på sässongen. Teamet hade premiär i Longbeach i slutet av mars månad.

Följande artikel finns på WMRT´s hemsida:





London, UK – 19 April 2011: The World Match Racing Tour's debut Tour Card Holder
Johnie Berntsson admits that a harsh but honest assessment of 'a mediocre' 2010
season was needed if his Berntsson Racing Team is to get the changes right to
launch a realistic assault on the podium in 2011.
A 3rd place at the Argo Group Gold Cup aside, the Swedish
team struggled for consistency last season, eventually finishing 13th overall.
However, with a Tour Card secured for the next series guaranteeing up to 6 event
invites, Berntsson knows that now is the time to take his chance.
"Last
season was mediocre after a really good 2009. We simply tried to do more events
than we were capable of. Now we've negotiated and planned so we can be dedicated
to the Tour and make that our sole focus."
Having competed on the Tour for
the past 5 years, Berntsson is no longer a new face on the WMRT, but he's backed
both his team's talent and strategy and given them what he feels is an
attainable target of a podium finish.
"A successful year for us would be to
finish in the top 3 on the WMRT. We know it's going to be tough but we have the
potential to be there. We'll take one step at a time towards that goal and
having a Tour Card is certainly key to our development. We have won Tour events
but now we want the World Championship."
Strength in depth
Many of
Berntsson's fellow Tour Card Holders have opted to introduce only minor tweaks,
instead sticking to what they know. Berntsson, although confident in his team,
has learnt from past lessons and introduced some more wholesale
changes.
"We've built a new team, a double team of sorts which gives us
strength in depth and competition for places. We've also introduced 'a
Scandinavian type of leadership' on the boat where everyone has an equal voice.
So while we all have our own responsibilities, at the end of the day if one link
breaks then the team breaks. Nobody is more important than the next."
"Apart
from smaller Grade 2 and 3 events back in Sweden, we're focusing solely on the
Tour. My experience is that to build your sailing knowledge it's good to vary
your events. Our decision now is to concentrate on match racing which we think
will pay off in the long run. Teams that do a lot of other events have a
challenge to juggle their time and give match racing and the Tour the focus it
demands to be successful on it."
New teams, new challenges
With 3 teams
making their debut as Tour Card Holders, 2011 will see a mixture of newcomers
and more experienced faces battle it out to become the next Match Racing World
Champion. Young or not, Berntsson isn't taking any team for granted.
"For
every great sailor that leaves the Tour, another comes in. New teams like (Phil)
Robertson's Waka Racing are young but they've been racing all their lives.
They'll be confident, determined and a challenge for everyone. You cannot afford
to overlook them. They will bring new tricks to match racing which can trip us
up – we actually need to analyse them as they will be assessing
us."
"Elsewhere, there are some really strong names, former winners who will
be there at the end of the season. It's difficult to say who will win but the
names that have been around on the Tour will certainly be in the hunt."
With
9 different locations for the teams to compete at, the teams often find certain
locations suit their team's abilities more.
"We perform well at Tour events
with bigger boats. With those you have to make the decisions well before the
situation comes up. That sort of knowledge is a strong part of our team."
In
sailing, and in particular the one-on-one combative world of match racing, teams
need to get into a competitive, even aggressive mindset to take on their
opponent. Off the water Berntsson is considered an affable sailor with a
professional yet approachable manner. However he knows that's not something he
can afford to be on the water if he is to realise his dreams this
season.
"We're very different to how we are in-shore. When match racing we
want things to happen and we want to disturb our opponents. We're very different
in-shore...people probably think we're a bit schizophrenic!"







Länk till teamet hemsida finns bland länkarna till höger.

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