Björn Hansen and his Nautiska Racing Team once-again cemented his dominance over the World Match Race Tour fleet in Marstrand – the recent Sweden Match Cup Hall of Fame (yep, there is such a thing) inductee and the man known as “the Master of Marstand” swept Ian Williams to take his fifth Marstrand title on the 4th of July. With the 2016 Tour headed to the young man’s game that is the M32 catamaran, Hansen relished what will likely be his last win on the circuit.
In far bigger news, M32 builder Håkan Svensson announced on Friday that the winner of the 2016 Tour will be decided not in Malaysia but in Marstrand, and that said winning team of a truncated season will take home a shocking $1 million dollar prize – that’s over and above the usual event prize purse. In a sport where prize money is almost unheard of, a million clams is certainly an eye-opener, and signals the seriousness with which the new owner of the Tour is approaching his vision for the future. Taking Svensson at his word, this would be the biggest cash prize in the history of the sport, and if this doesn’t ignite what was, until this week, the least relevant series in the sport, nothing will.
The WMRT isn’t the first organizer to throw the M word around; Tracey Edwards tried it before with disastrous consequences. But despite the Tour’s previously shaky cash flow, we don’t see the 2016 champ waiting long for their check now that the new Tour owner is involved. Having gotten to know the Swedish entrepreneur well over the years we’ve covered his forays into the sport, we’ve learned that the man doesn’t think small, and he doesn’t think short-term, and he’d sooner lose his home than be known as someone who doesn’t pay his debts. Prospective millionaire cat skippers: It’s time to make the call.
In the above video, Nic Douglass chatted with the Stena Match Cup finalists at the end of the day, and her video has pretty much everything you need to know about the final time we’ll see professional match racing in quarter-century old modified Scandinavian cruising yachts.