Recab sailing team (Karukera) – MAT 1220
Meet one of the newest and coolest additions to Sweden's ocean racing scene, namely the Recab sailing team (formerly Karukera) who will be starting with their brand-new Mark Mills designed MAT 1220. Follow their preparations and what makes Gotland Runt special for a bunch of värmlänningar/westcoasters!
It's always fun to get new cool boats come to Sweden, tell us a little about your new boat, a MAT 1220?
First of all, it is a planing gennaker boat, so the conversion from our old First 40 Karukera will be a challenge. We have evaluated a few different boat options, and one thing was certain, it would be a pure racer this time. While waiting for a decision and delivery, two Melges 24 were purchased, which we have sailes for a while to get a feel for the differences between a spinnaker and gennaker boat.
The boat we chose is designed by Mark Mills and is built in Turkey, she is 12.20 in the hull and we aim for a weight around 5600 kg. She has an interior and amenities such as hot water and a door to the toilet so even though she looks fast and slim, she is equipped with the basic comfort. As I said, it has been a long process with many, long and good discussions between the team, the shipyard, the designer and the sailmaker. This is to put "our" mark on her and for us to get things right, hopefully we will make the learning period faster and we will get the rating right from the start - this will be a big difference for the team compared to the old boat.
The new boat will contain some exciting technology and solutions, including an all-electric powertrain with batteries based on recycled EV batteries, a divisible carbon fiber mast from Seldén, robust and powerful communication solutions from Recab and even more of Big Data which means that we will hopefully come up and running faster but also to make the right tactical decisions.
The name Karukera perhaps some people wonder about? A rum variety or?
The skipper's boats have been called Karukera since forever, and we like our "brand", so it was a natural decision to continue under this name... We also don't want to lose our competitors, who have called us a lot of funny things over the years. It is very true that rum is marketed under this name, and it can happen that sometimes such things are consumed on after sails, but originally the name comes from the indigenous people of Guadeloupe, they called their archipelago Karukera, it roughly translates to "the islands of the beautiful waters”.
However, we will be sailing as "Recab Sailing Team" this year after concluding a cooperation agreement with them.
You sailed the First 40 for several years, is it the same group that continues to run the MAT?
Yes, it's pretty much the same group that has sailed together for the past five or six years, time flies. It is a mixed group of sailors from Värmland and West Sweden and the surrounding area. We have high goals, incredible determination, focus and a will to develop. It is a pleasure to sail together with these guys and girls.
Have you gotten out on the water yet? What are the differences sailing MAT versus sailing First 40?
Well, not quite yet, the boat arrived in Sweden very recently and there are a lot of loose ends and work left, but we are in the water right at the time of writing (June 1st), which is of course later than we want, but it's just continue to work hard so that we get all the ducks in a row before Gotland Runt and that the right things are shown on the displays on the mast as often as possible.
Where is the boat on a daily basis, will there be intensive training now to get a handle on polars and different sail options?
It's a bit unclear and depends on where we're going to sail, but we have the base in Kristinehamn where she's standing right now, then we have a place and connection to GKSS when we're going to the west coast. One of the main goals of the concept and the investment is for the boat to be able to be driven on land transport, this gives a flexibility we will use more from next summer and the plan is to extend the season, shorten transports and check off a bunch of bucket-list sail races.
We will launch in Kristinehamn and CSS for shakedown for both boat, crew, boat-handling and tick off all target-speeds and validate all the data we have with us.
What sails do you choose to bring to Gotland Runt?
It will be an ORCi optimized selection developed by the team, Mark Mills and with Henrik Ottosson at North Sails. Those who had their eyes open during GR 2019 saw us working with our thoughts and ideas around this
at old Karukera. The ORCi championships will be more focused on distance and offshore and less upwind-downwind so the aim is to have good speed potential as soon as it is not right in the nose. What is clear is that the selected sails feels well thought through and insanely exciting to start using.
What does the sailing calendar look like for 2023/24?
Gotland Runt of course, then an event in Marstrand. The next race will be the ORC Worlds in Kiel and then we will most likely end the season with Tjörn Runt for a little trick and fun. We are of course especially looking forward to the Worlds in Kiel in August as we hope that we have put together our game plan well enough.
When you think of Gotland Runt, what do you think of?
Yes, it's sailing's Vasalopp, everyone is there and it's a long way. It is clearly one of the highlights of the calendar and that the team is incredibly excited for this year's edition. Then the setting with the race village before and Sandhamn after and everything that happens around is also a strong contributing reason for us to come back, a really good event. In terms of sailing, it's also difficult with the jungle on the way out with tricky conditions and tight sailing to then stretch after Alma down towards Gotska Sandön, it's simply damn fun sailing for obvious reasons.
How many Gotland Runt have you done, do you have any special memories?
Oh that's a lot, everyone in the team has done at least two anyway and some members probably 20. Personally, I think our last GR was an experience, with sometimes easy conditions and exciting and tight racing all round, and that the team was incredibly coordinated and that we drove the boat 100% thoughout, that's the feeling we're aiming for in 2023!
Many thanks to Niclas Dahlgren for taking the time to answer our questions. It will be a lot of fun to follow you and the crew at this year's race! Good luck.