A word with the project manager ahead of the Europe Cup 2024, article written by Allan Förberg for the Swedish magazine ”Skärgårdskryssaren”, translated from Swedish.
Bengt Sareyko is the project manager for this summer’s Europe Cup [EC 2024] in Sandhamn for SK30. The Cup was cancelled in Sweden in 2020 due to the pandemic and it hasn’t been sailed in Sandhamn since 1980. So finally, it’s really time to meet again in this classic location. How is the preparation going?
Q: Bengt, what are your expectations for EC 2024??
It’s going to be a fantastic regatta. Together with the A22s and participants in the Sandhamn classic regatta, we will be at least 50 Skerry Cruisers in Sandhamn. In the Sk30 class we have some boats that are over 100 years old and some which have been built in the last 15 years. And of course, anytime in between!
Q: How is the collaboration with the Royal Swedish Yacht Club [KSSS] going? Can you tell us a little bit about what’s coming, both on water and on land?
The Swedish Sailing Federation awarded KSSS the ”Regatta Organizer of the Year 2023” and the yacht club is investing in making the Sandhamn Classic Regatta a big, recurring championship arrangement. We started the planning in 2022 and now there is a project group that has ongoing meetings to sort out both the sporting and social aspects of the event. KSSS really wants to create an event that makes every sailor satisfied. On the water, there will be modern ”drone marks” and the Sailing management team has experience from large European championships and are very responsive to our requests.
On land, we will have joint activities such as the Commodore’s welcome drink and regatta dinner, mixed with class-specific evenings for Sk30 and A22 respectively.
Q: What do you think is the recipe for a successful Europe Cup event?
Good race courses and tough sailings in combination with a social event that stimulates cross-border contacts. After all, it’s not an Olympic class so it is clear that we need to deliver an event that feels meaningful even outside the race course. Everyone should feel like winners.
Q: There are rumours that many boats from Sweden are on the move. What do you say?
Yes, the sailmakers are probably busy in Sweden right now. There will be over 15 Swedish Sk30, of which a handful have the ambition to be in the fight for podium positions, maybe more. I think this is the beginning of a new heyday for the class, which is good timing since we still have the veterans with us. At the same time there are several new crews in the beginning of multiyear campaigns. You probably won’t win the Europe Cup on the first try, it takes experience.
Q: The last few times that EC has been arranged in Sweden, it has been ”old” wooden boats that have been the best of the Swedish boats. How well does a wooden boat stand up compared to the plastic boats?
As good as it gets! The rule is still not ”cracked” after over 100 years and it is possible to win with boats of all materials and ages.
Q: How are your own preparations going? Please give us your best tips for sailing fast in a Sk30.
SWE240 Nymåne (New Moon) has a new crew based on a group of friends with roots in dinghy sailing in the early eighties on Hårsfjärden, the naval base south of Stockholm. In addition to anti-submarine warfare, we are drilled in training volume with a focus on fitness. We will sail a few regattas in the spring to pick up the pace, then we will do more sail testing closer to the Cup.
I don’t know if I have any other tips than to be on the right side and avoid too many manoeuvres.
Q: What is your best memory from the Europe Cup over the years?
I had the privilege to shout the tactics at SWE225 Gryning when Stefan Linder got to lift the trophy in 2004 when the Cup was raced in Nynäshamn. That is of course a big one. But the future is for creating new memories.
Allan Förberg talked to Bengt Sareyko in the cold winter of 2023 when plans were made for a successful summer.