Unshakeable moments in sailing

Published on July 28th, 2022

Luissa Smith, PR Director for the 2022 Bacardi Cup invitational Regatta, quizzed well-known sailing personalities about unshakeable moments that propelled them forward and incidents that still keep them up at night:

Magnus Lijedahl (USA)
2000 Olympics – Gold, 2000 Star World Champion, 5-time Bacardi Cup winner (1997, 1998, 2002, 2009, 2017), 1999 Rolex World Sailor of the Year.

My Olympic dream began in 1972, but I had to wait 28-years to realize it at the 2000 Games in Sydney. I hooked up with a skipper who had a Gold and Silver from previous Games. Sailing with Mark Reynolds brought out the best in me and we won the Gold Medal and World Sailor of the Year that same year, in 2000.

I knew then that I would make sailing my priority, and I wanted to somehow give back to the sport that is everything to me. In 2005 I founded my nonprofit, Team Paradise Sailing.

In the beginning it was all about supporting disabled athletes by providing them with Paralympic equipment and coaching support. Sailing lost its Paralympic status in 2016 and Team Paradise had to adjust its course. We are now a Community Sailing Program, an Accredited US Sailing School and a US Sailing Siebel Sailors Program in Miami.

Hold onto your hat:
While sailing from Sweden to Spain in 1975, we encountered heavy fog in the English Channel. We could hear boat traffic with engines and sound signals both from vessels and buoys. Man, that was scary! While sailing along, one big vessel seemed to get closer and closer, so we started up the engine, made a hard turn and sped away.

We stopped again to listen, only to hear that there was another vessel that seemed to be getting closer. Here we go again! On came the engine and we repeated the maneuver. Luckily, the tide was slack as we came close to a sound buoy. It was right there, so we decided to tie up to it so that we would stay out of the channel! All we had to do was sail away as soon as the fog dissipated. And we did!

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