||Under Sail: Daily Reports from our Juniors in Sweden
By Head Sailing Instructor Adam Corpuz-Lahne
Six of StFYC’s Juniors are spending this week in Sweden with Head Coach Adam Corpuz-Lahne, participating in what has become an annual youth sailing exchange between StFYC and the Royal Swedish Yacht Club (KSSS) in Stockholm, Sweden. Lökholmen is a small island owned by KSSS, just off the popular summer destination island of Sandhamn, which sits at the eastern end of the Swedish archipelago on the edge of the Baltic Sea.
The kids are sailing 606 sailboats, a small keelboat similar to a Yngling, and receiving coaching from Swedish sailing legend Jurgen Sundelin, KSSS Head Coach Anders Bengtsson and Adam. Each boat is mixture of 16- to 18-year-old kids from each club.
Last year KSSS brought eight sailors to StFYC to team-race in FJs with us, and the year before we took six sailors to Stockholm to sail in Swedish Youth Sailing Championship. We are building a bond between clubs, kids and coaches that we hope will continue on for years to come.
Head Sailing Coach Adam Corpuz-Lahne is sending us regular updates:
Saturday, July 16
Yesterday the kids toured around the Stockholm area on RIBs and later we all met up and took the RIBs to an early dinner at Bockholmen where we had a buffet dinner with all sorts of good stuff, including French Fries (pomme frittes to the Swedes).
We then headed to the KSSS training facility in Rhoning for a quick look. It has everything they need and nothing more: storage yard, classroom, shower, bathroom, docks. It is brand new facility, opening just a couple months ago. Black building in the back is for Opti sail storage (sails on rigs, ready to drop in and go).
Friday, July 15
We headed back into Stockholm (we are staying just outside Stockholm) for some touring. We went to the Vasa Museum, which is dedicated to a Swedish warship from the mid 1600s that sank on its maiden voyage before it even left the harbor! It sat on the bottom of Stockholm harbor for 300 years before it was raised. Due to the brackish (mostly fresh) water it preserved very well, and the ship is 98% original.
We had a long lunch in a little garden cafe, waiting out a rain squall, before taking a ferry to Old Town Stockholm where the kids took an organized walking tour. After that some of the kids headed home, while a few did some shopping (mostly of the window variety) before we all met up at Julia's home for a BBQ feast with all the kids and parents. The kids played "Kubb", a Swedish lawn game that involves throwing sticks at blocks of wood and trying to knock them down. Despite a strong start by StFYC, KSSS managed to take the win. Everyone hung out long into the night with laughter and jokes and smiles all around.
The kids from both clubs have been getting along so well, and forming a strong bond with each other, and our hosts have been so gracious and welcoming. This has truly been a fantastic trip for everyone involved! Today the kids are on their own, and are out touring the area via RIB and will have a picnic lunch.
Thursday, July 14
Wednesday was our last day of sailing at Lökholmen, with a training session in the morning and a small regatta in the afternoon. We made a couple of crew changes on the day, with Chloe joining Spencer and Lukas, and Juliana moving to Malin S and Mackenzie's boat, and Julia moving to Malin T and Dan's boat. Parker had to miss the regatta as he was sick and getting sicker. Anders and I made the decision to send Parker to bed so he would be able to participate in the rest of the trip in better shape. Regatta went well with every boat leading a race at some point, but in the end it was Spencer/Lukas/Chloe for the win.
After sailing, we cleaned up the boats and loaded them back into the sea base. We had a nice BBQ dinner to wrap up our trip in Lökholmen.
On Thursday we packed our bags, roamed around Sandhamn one last time, then brought the ferry back to Stockholm where we greeted by our host families. We dropped our bags at our homes, had a quick shower, then took the train into the city for dinner at funky Thai restaurant. After dinner we headed to the amusement park, which is on the water in downtown Stockholm. A great time was had by all, with the kids running from ride to ride. It was great, with no lines, we were even able to ride multiple times without getting off!
Wednesday, July 13
Today was a fantastic day. The coaches decided to take it easy today and give the kids something a little different. We started by sailing around our island home under blue skies and a perfect breeze, which took around an hour. We then ran some short races behind Sandhamn before de-rigging the boats and pausing for a long lunch break aboard the mothership (the boats we are sailing came in on a custom barge with its own crane) which has served as our base of sailing operations.
We then took the powerboats across the channel to a beach on Sandhamn, where we played around in SUP boards and windsurfers. It was great to see all the kids frolicking and messing about. Sorry, no pics as I was too busy teaching myself to windsurf and picking up the kids as they blew downwind. Turns out it's pretty easy to go downwind, pretty hard to go upwind on both SUPs and windsurfers.
We had a couple of squalls come through (apparently this is common for the "Swedish Summer"), but it didn't dampen the spirits. Once back on Lökholmen, most of the kids hit the sauna to warm up a bit. Dinner was good again: pork chops and potato salad. I think the kids were hungry after a few days of hard work, as even the girls were in line for seconds.
Again, the kids all headed over to Sandhamn for an evening walk and ice cream and candy following dinner. Plan for tomorrow is a quick training session before lunch, followed by a regatta in the afternoon. We then pack the boats up before a BBQ regatta dinner for our last night at Lökholmen.
Fun fact: Sweden, being the socialists they are, have an interesting law called the "All Man's Law" which allows anyone to land on any island, even if it's private. Cruising around this morning I saw many boats anchored off the island, families playing on the rocks and shore, picnic tables set up and little grills cooking.
Tuesday, July 12
Last night all the kids went into town to watch the big soccer match (Euro Cup Finals) at Frederik and Karina Olson's house along with 25 other youths. I believe they played mini golf on Sandham tonight. We are basically dismissing the kids to go as they please after dinner every night, as long as they get the last (10:00pm) ferry back to Lökholmen. We don't have a set curfew, as they are pretty worn out after sailing all day and are getting to bed early.
Breakfast is at 8:30, and I am the only one who has been late (alarm clock issues, sort of). Sailing was great today, with no rain, sunshine and a strong shifty breeze. Worked on starts and sail trim, with an excellent talk from Jurgen about jib shapes. We did face a crash on the water today, which looked like it would be a major collision, but luckily was just a glancing blow that chipped some gel coat and not much more. Other than this incident, lots of smiles and laughs on the boats.
Tomorrow we work to rebuild confidence of the teams involved in the crash. We are planning a very intense morning session, and something different during the afternoon, probably windsurfing and paddle boarding at the club's beach on Sandhamn, or maybe a cruisy sail around some of the other islands (apparently there are 30,000 islands in the Swedish archipelago).
The water is pretty warm. Juliana missed the hiking strap and fell in today without a spray top, but was able keep sailing no problem. We have almost sorted out the teams on each boat in a way that allows them to all be equal speed, so sail trim and tactics will be the most important part of the racing, not weight. Everyone is enjoying themselves on and off the water, and I can see the two sets of kids talking and laughing more every time we sit down together. I'm really enjoying our group of kids. They have been super attentive at our briefings and very respectful to the coaches, boats, and each other, as well as doing a great job of picking up their trash.
Monday, July 11
So far, so good. We are staying on KSSS’s island “Lökholmen,” which is just across the channel from Sandham. We took the ferry to Sandhamn which was an incredibly beautiful ride, with scenery that was a cross between the Pacific Northwest and Tahoe. There, we were picked up by Anders, the KSSS head coach and Jurgen Sunderlan who is an Olympic gold medalist, former Swedish Olympic team head coach, owner of the fleet of boats we are using, and basically a legend around here.
Lökholmen is incredible, with green forests and grey granite and blueberries. When we arrived, the KSSS summer camp had already started, with 80 kids and 26 instructors. Our boys and girls each have their own bunkhouse with the Swedes and Americans staying together. It all feels a bit like summer camp. The weather is great: sunny with 10–14 knots of breeze.
We are sailing 606 sailboats, which are a version of 6-Metres with a keel and hiking straps. We have mixed the crews up, combining Swedes and Americans and moving kids between different boats. The first day of sailing, Sunday, was just a “shake down” for the kids to figure out how to sail the boats. Tomorrow we will get after it a little more and ramp up the intensity. Everyone is well behaved and respectful and courteous. This evening I think the kids are going to head in to Sandhamn and be kids…