Team Sanya in Auckland, the best is yet to come
Skippered by former NZ Sailor of the Year, Mike Sanderson, Team Sanya got a rousing welcome home from the many on the water supporters in Auckland.
"It’s obviously all gain if we could ever beat one of those guys and it’s all bad for them if we do,’’ he said. "It’s going to happen, I hope so anyway. I’ve certainly counted on that.
Sanderson, also known as ‘Moose’, was awarded the 2006 ISAF World Sailor of the Year Award for winning the 2005-06 Volvo Ocean Race as skipper of ABN Amro I. From 2007 to 2010 he was Team Director of Team Origin, a potential British challenger for the 2013 America’s Cup.
Navigator of Team Sanya – Aksel Magdahi
In early 1985, master painter and yachtsman Kjell-Rune Magdahl bought an Optimist dinghy for his son Aksel, who had just turned six. The hope was that little Aksel would develop an interest in boats and sailing, just like his dad. But Aksel’s interest in boats almost never set sail. He sailed his Optimist at home off Tönsberg on the Oslofjord’s west coast, but at the age of 11, other interests, such as computers and football, took the upper hand. When he was 19, he rekindled his interest in regatta sailing after he completed his military service, not in the navy but with an assault team in the Norwegian cavalry.
Aksel started studying economics at the BI Norwegian School of Management in Oslo but also became increasingly involved in sailing. His first project was a fast 43-footer that he sailed off the Norwegian coast. Then he had six months on a 47-foot cruising yacht that sailed between Oslo and the Mediterranean.
Back in Norway, Aksel helped start a new sailing project with an IMS boat; for a change, he had both sponsors and resources from local sailors. With his interest in IT, Aksel decided to invest a portion of the sponsorship money in computers and other technical equipment on board. Back then, some years ago, wireless screens and other advanced equipment in the cockpit were uncommon in northern Europe. Aksel became somewhat of a trailblazer, and many noticed his skills in sailing and advanced technology.
In early 2004, Aksel was contacted by Norwegian yachtsman Knut Frostad, who wanted to try Aksel out in the Team Academy trimaran project. Aksel spent three exciting years with Knut including competitively racing 60-foot trimarans in the Nokia Oops Cup around the Nordic region.
It was the same Knut Frostad who, in early 2007, told Aksel that he might be Anders Lewander’s and Magnus “Mange” Olsson’s first choice as navigator for Ericsson in the Volvo Ocean Race 2008-09. Mange and Aksel met in June, and a month later Aksel took part in a day’s sailing trial in the Baltic.
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