Torben Grael: it’s a family affair
Brazilian sailing star Torben Grael has done it all, and almost won it all. He says classic yachts are his fist-time love and explains how sailing is a true family affair for the Grael’s dinasty.
Is this your first time in Cannes?
“No, I raced here with by brother back in 2007, on Wright on White a 12 Metre, originally called New Zealand KZ3. This year I was invited to sail with Linnet. I love classic yachts, I own a 6 Metre from 1912 and being here is a nice opportunity to see so many wonderful boats.”
You are sailing with Linnet, that is Patrizio Bertelli’s boat right? Any news you can give us on the America’s Cup?
“There is nothing officially defined yet. I’ve been sailing with Prada Luna Rossa for ten years, I have a lot of friends working for the team. I like sailing with Patrizio and enjoying my time here in Cannes, we’ll be in Saint-Tropez next week racing together on Linnet.”
You’ve done the Games, The America’s Cup, the Volvo Ocean Race and now you’ve turned to classic yachting?
“No, actually I’ve learned to sail on this kind of boats, the one I have now used to be my grandfather’s and she won a silver medal in 1920 in Stockholm. She’s beautiful, a gaff cutter originally. It’s nice to come to Cannes and see so many gorgeous old yachts, we haven’t so many in Brazil. But for us is a family affair. My brother Lars (also an experienced sailor and an Olympic medallist) has a 6 Metre from 1933, and our uncles have one 5.5 and a Dragon. We also love cruising boats.”
Your daughter Martine also won a golden medal in Rio 2016 and she’s embarking for her first Volvo Ocean Race, it’s a real sailing dynasty…
“Well, she’s third generation. My uncles went to games in Acapulco and Kiel, in the Star and Soling class. My brother Lars and myself were on it from 1984 up to Athens 2004, and now is Martine, but my son Marco also sails a 49er and finished eleventh in Rio. It’s a nice thing to see.”
Do you think it will be harder for a girl?
“Yes it is quite tough but I think introducing the rule of having a maximum of seven male and two female crew members was very positive. It will help having more girls doing offshore top events.”
Technical specs of NYYC 30 Linnet:
Designer: Nathanaël Herreshoff
Builder: Herreshoff Manufacturing (1905)
LOA: 13,20 m
LWL: 9,42 m
Beam: 2,67 m
Draft: 1,92 m
Displacement: 8 000 kg
Sail area: 105 sq. m