Stord local to fight for World Cup points in Florida

Following a short career as a helmsman in Sunnhordland, Rolf Gangdal (34) was thrown into the World Cup sailing circuit.

By Jarle Kaldråstøyl, Sunnhordland

“A fascinating experience, but the start of this adventure was tough,” acknowledges the Stord local.

While most Norwegians looked forward to the indulgences of Christmas, Gangdal was dieting.


Sunglasses and SPF 50 were a necessity over the open sea off the coast of Florida. Stord local, Rolf Granli Gangdal was a crewman as the 2012 World Cup opened mid- January.

“Christmas was a bit of a pity in that way, but we are a crew of four men and together we mustn’t weigh more than 360kg. I struggled my way through the Christmas weekend and forced my weight down as best I could, but it still wasn’t enough when we weighed in in Florida. So, it was straight to the gym for the four of us. After that, we managed the weight requirements. By that time I had lost seven kilograms. There were others that had pushed themselves even more than that,” says Gangdal.

Haugesund boat

Brothers Jens and Jørgen Wathne from Haugesund bought a Melges 24 boat called "Party Girl". The boat is build number 800 and there are currently only 830 boats of this type. In addition to the boat owners, Erling Holler and Rolf Gangdal joined the crew. Holler was given the responsibility of being bowman, while Gangdal took the position behind him. The two Haugesund men took on the roles of maintrimmer and helmsman.

On 12 January they left the airport. The first days in Florida were used to ready the boat and exercise. The crew members from Haugesund were also in this race in Florida in 2009, where they secured tenth place. With top equipment and a great crew, they were confident that they could better their result this time. Their main aim centred on the Norwegian Championship - and the World Cup, coming up in Italy in June.

Strong finish

Key West Race Week 2012, which is the correct name for the World Cup event in Florida, started on Monday 16 January. It was a special day for the sail enthusiast from Stord.

Key West Race Week 2012, which is the correct name for the World Cup event in Florida, started on Monday 16 January. It was a special day for the sail enthusiast from Stord.

The actual competition took place on a path out to sea. The course was 1.5 nautical miles and a total of 119 boats competed. To ensure level competition, boats were sorted according to type. In Gangdal’s class there were fifteen boats, representing five nations.

Following the event he could report an improved result.
“We took eighth place – finishing in the middle of our class. In the final two regattas we finished in fourth place. We can be happy with that,” says Gangdal.

Waiting in anticipation

Following the World Cup opener in Florida will be the second World Cup round in Miami. "Party Girl" is on her way to this city in Florida for the start in March. Gangdal is unsure if this will be their last shot at the World Cup.

“For my part, I don’t know, but the boat is in place and it looks certain that it will participate in the second World Cup race. I have not yet decided what I will do. In any case, I will need to decide in early February so that we have the chance to get things in order in time,” says Gangdal, whose day job is working as a consultant for the agency, Omega.

“A lot has to fall into place, when it comes to family and work, but it has been fun,” says the father of two.

Regardless, he will maintain his current physical form.

“There will need to be some jogging and exercise. Everything is much easier when I'm in shape. If I do travel, then the training will be intensified,” says Gangdal.

Gathering experience

It is not only the spirit of adventure that drives Gangdal across the Atlantic Ocean.

“I am looking to become a better sailor. Being a part of this provides good experience that I can take with me. Over the four days that we were competing in Florida we experienced both calm and strong winds,” he says.

“This competition is organized such that we compete on more equal terms than we do here at home. This offers lessons that can be beneficial for the future,” says Gangdal.

The sailor has a specific goal for the season.
“I will be on a Stord boat at the World Cup this year on Lake Garda in Italy. In other words, we can come in competition with "Party Girl". In fact, we have already tested ourselves in connection with a training session on Askøy.”

Based on this, it appears the man from Stord can give the men from Haugseund a run for their money. The event in Italy marks the final leg of the World Cup, so it will be exciting.

“In other words, you may be competing against the people you are currently working to secure World Cup points with currently?”

“That's right, but for us the focus is only on the World Championships and not the World Cup,” concludes Gangdal.