Swedish Challenge – the Race to Finland

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We are always on the lookout for dangerous, hare-brained loony schemes – and today we present a great one.

Meet Lars Gardeback and Mathias Ernholm two Swedish Multi 23 sailors preparing to embark on a challenge of their own making. Its wonderful to see the organizers of crazy events actually taking on the initial challenge themselves.

It was Mathias that had the great good idea to sail from one end of the Swedish coast to the other – from Stromstad in the west to Haparanda in the east – from Norway to Finland – leaving Gotland to port – 1026 nm non-stop – in a beach cat. Mathias is a man of singular vision and genius – and very large cojones. But, after a couple of seasons getting launched off an F-18, Mathias thought better of the beach cat platform and started to lust after a Mini 6.5. Good choice for sure, the ocean-going Mini is fast and can be sailed by one lunatic – er, sailor. But why buy your own boat if you can convince your mate to donate his!

 Mathias on F18 Bow

Mathias on F18 Bow

Enter Lars Gardeback and his mid-life crisis Multi 23. Lars – until five years ago a responsible, reasonable man – now a sailor – recently purchased the Multi 23 and immediately fell in love. After a summer of bombing around his local bay, mostly solo, he was ripe for more adventure. Some might say he was ripe for the picking. When Mathias offered the chance to be the first to sail non-stop unassisted from Stromstad to Haparanda Lars shrugged his shoulders – why not? Which proves Lars is no longer the responsible, reasonable man of 5 years ago, and is now a certified barefoot trimaran sailor.


Lars at the helm

And so was born the Swedish Challenge – Race to Finland. Lars and Mathias expect to make the trip this May – after the ice melts and before adverse summer winds set in. They also hope to make the challenge perpetual – with a trophy and all the trimmings – to be taken by the sailboat that beats the current best time. Which will be Mathias and Lars, should they complete the course.

The Multi 23 is an interesting choice for this adventure. She has big bouyant floats, is light and responsive, fast. But you are exposed on a 23, if the boys can tough it out, they should have some respectable runs. Lars intends to reinforce the beam bolt areas, replace some sails and electronics, replace stainless padeyes with softies from Ropeye, and revise the running rigging to make her easier to single hand. Cameras will be located strategically around the boat to record all the action and perhaps create a video log of the event…..or rescue as the case may be.

The boys have a couple of sponsors – Zhik gave them some cool clothes and Ropeye provided a couple of padeyes – but for the most part they are doing this on their own. If you would like to donate to their effort – maybe get your sticker put on their boat – you can contact Lars Gardeback at lasselight@gmail.com.

We wish Lars and Mathias the best of luck on their adventure . Like the Race to Alaska, this sort of off-the-wall, creative adventure/challenge is more celebration than competition and we applaud them for it.

Fair winds boys!

Multi 23

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