Tre trevliga västkustkillar har kommit med på Ericssons nordiska båt. Anders Dahlsjö, Martin Strömberg och Martin Krite. Jättekul! Och att de har med sina lokala LYS-race i meritlistorna är också lite festligt.
Nu kanske man kan få lite bra skvaller från vad som händer i teamet. Eller så är det fortsatt locket på… Och för er som inte orkar med alla flashanimeringar på Ericssons sida, så finns sammanfattningen nedan.
Born: June 28, 1972
Family: Wife Malin. Daughter Nellie, 4 months
Interests: House and home. Sport in general.
Hidden talent: Can free-dive down to at least 20 meters.
Offshore racing has always fascinated Anders Dahlsjö, and it drew him into the sport of sailing. As he was growing up, he ploughed through many books on the Whitbread Round the World Race.
“Last spring, I read that Ericsson was to have a Nordic crew, and that’s when I saw my chance,” he says. “It’s extremely difficult to gain a foothold with the international crews, but I realized that I may have an opportunity to take part.”
After twice participating in the Swedish America’s Cup syndicate Victory Challenge, Anders has gained plenty of international experience.
“I’m no expert in any one area onboard, but rather good at most things. I can trim the sails, steer and be foredeck hand. I also have good technical skills, good physique and strength.” His strength comes mainly from competing as an elite swimmer as a teenager. But swimming also almost stopped Anders from truly committing to yachting.
Anders began sailing at the age of five. His family sailed during vacations, and when Anders was about seven years old, his father built a boat for the family. He spent many weeks of vacation on the family’s homemade Dominant 105, and Anders soon also began sailing optimists and dinghies. But then, at the age of 16, he stopped yachting.
“I chose to focus on swimming because things were going quite well for me there, especially in 100m and 200m freestyle,” he says. “I participated in the Swedish swimming championship in a relay, among other things. But it was also tough doing nine training sessions per week, so I had to stop doing everything else.”
When Anders was 18, he started sailing the family’s boat all by himself. And his interest in sailing took off again. He mostly took part in competitions on the Swedish west coast. That was also when Anders and his friends began dreaming about getting a job on a boat and sailing across the Atlantic. But they soon realized that they already had a boat. They could just as well take the Dahlsjö family’s Dominant.
“We never got as far as the West Indies,” he says. “But we sailed to the Azores and the Canary Islands. It was fun and adventurous, and I got a taste for off-shore sailing.”
Back on the west coast, Anders joined the Swedish America’s Cup challenge in 2002 thanks to his friend and Olympic sailor Mats Johansson. They finished fifth among11 boats, which was a huge success. But when they finished in the same place in 2006, their joy turned to disappointment. “We had much higher expectations and goals the second time,” he says.
He says that it is too early to make predictions about the Volvo Ocean Race 2008-2009. First and foremost it is about establishing teamwork between all those onboard in the Nordic crew.
“We don’t at all have the experience that exists in Ericsson’s international crew,” Anders says. “And despite everything, experience accounts for a lot within sailing. We’ll have to try to compensate that with talent and good teamwork. And in spite of everything, we have quite a lot of time to gel onboard.”
The teamwork between the crew is something that Dahlsjö often comes back to.
“The best thing about sailing is when you’ve worked hard for a long time with people you like, and it results in success on the yacht-racing course. My best yachting memory is when we won Tjörn Runt, which had 900 boats at the starting line. We had to work extremely hard, and a gale was blowing. But we were a gang of friends who won, and we did it with Dad’s homemade construction. It was an incredibly wonderful feeling.”
Born: April 3, 1982
Home town: Gothenburg
Interests: Fishing and other outdoor activities
At 25, Martin Strömberg is the youngest crew member on the Ericsson Racing Team. But thanks to his parents’ interest in sailing, he has more or less been sailing as long as he has been alive. The first time he went out to sea on a small boat, Martin was just four days old.
Martin has always been early or young. He was just 15 when he left home in Stenungsund, Sweden, for the sailing high school in Lerum.
“It was a fun time,” he says. “We were out sailing after school three days a week. And every weekend when I was at home with my parents, we had races.”
Many of Martin’s school friends had ambitions within competitive sailing. Some of them dreamed of the Volvo Ocean Race, others wanted to do the America’s Cup and a third group strived to win Olympic gold.
“But I’ve never felt really at home in dinghies,” he says. “I’ve always felt a little too big, even though I might have also dreamed about winning an Olympic gold medal. But offshore racing is more my thing.
“At the same time, I’m not that certain that you have to choose. There are those who’ve been successful in many different boats, and I think you can aim for the Volvo Ocean Race, the America’s Cup and the Olympics. But you can’t do them all at the same time, and all my focus now is on the Ericsson Racing Team in the Volvo Ocean Race. That’s what I’ve been dreaming about.”
After Martin heard that Ericsson would be competing with two boats, he also heard a lot of rumors floating around.
“Nobody knew if there were to be two boats with international crews, or an all-female boat, or perhaps a youth boat or something else,” he says. “But then came the announcement about a Nordic crew and that’s when I knew I wanted to be involved.”
After three selection trials, the news that Martin had been waiting for so long came from Ericsson’s training camp in Lanzarote.
“I think they’ve been looking for personalities that suit each other onboard,” he says. “It seems as though everyone in the Nordic gang is quiet, calm and humble. And I think that suits me too.
“Because we sail on the boat in teams of four, you have to be versatile,” he says. “But my main task onboard is to be trimmer. And considering that I’m working as a sailmaker, it will be Anders Lewander and I who will be spending a lot of work on the sail.”
Born: December 8, 1980
Home town: Lund
Family: Wife Emilie; son William, 4 months.
Interests: Ice hockey and soccer.
Hidden talent: At 23, he performed on Sweden’s TV3 channel at Christmas singing “When you wish upon a star.”
Ericsson Racing Team’s desire for a purely Nordic crew in one of the team’s two boats in the Volvo Ocean Race was not at all in line with Martin Krite’s plans in life.
“I’m newly married and have just become a father,” he says. “And I’d just decided to stop sailing and start studying theology to become a priest. Now I’ll have to put my studies off.”
His plans are not the only thing that separates Martin from most of his sailing friends who are about the same age. His sailing background is also a little different. He does not have a stack of Swedish dinghy-sailing championship medals at home in his drawer. And when his mother put him in a sailing school on the Swedish west coast’s sailing metropolis of Marstrand, Martin did not enjoy it one bit.
“I loved ball sports when I was young,” he says. “But when I was about 12, I realized that I’d never be an ice hockey star. That was when I decided to concentrate fully on sailing because I love to compete and wanted so much to be good at one sport. But things didn’t go very well there either. I was actually really bad as a sailor too.”
His lack of success may have been partly due to a lack of self-confidence. And he did not do himself any favors when he christened his first optimist dinghy “wait for me” and his second boat “wait for me too.”
But unlike many young guys who lack the talent for sport, Martin never gave up. Although he never won anything, he chose to study at the sailing high school in Lerum, southwest Sweden, and he eventually found his role.
“I’m not a helmsman or a skipper – and I never will be either,” he says. “I do the heavy work. I have to take the strenuous and tough jobs onboard, but I’ve no problem with that. On the contrary, I enjoy my role.”
However, Martin almost never applied for the Ericsson Racing Team.
“It wasn’t until after Gotland Runt at the beginning of July that I heard that Anders Lewander was right in the middle of the selection process for picking the crew,” he says. “But I still got the chance of a trial, and I was soon offered a place. I have to admit that I was rather surprised at the invitation.”
Despite the unexpected decision, Martin never had a doubt that he would accept.
“Once I’d applied, I was completely sure that I wanted to be involved,” Martin says. “I may have had some doubt at an early stage, but when I got everything to work with the family there was no longer any doubt.”
Martin thinks that the Nordic boat will be an outsider, while Ericsson’s international crew will command more respect due to its crew’s many achievements.
“Experience is all well and good, but you don’t sail on previous merits,” he says. “And I promise that none of us on the Nordic boat will sail around the world and be satisfied just with being there. I believe that with good team spirit and the right attitude we could surprise a lot of people.”