With around 200 days on water every year, Max Salminen admits that there isn’t as much time left over as he would like for his other hobbies…
At the tender age of 23 he won the gold in the Star Class at the 2012 London games together with skipper Fredrik Lööf, and continued on to take 6th in the 2016 Olympics sailing the Finn dinghy.
This year he is back in the Star, but this time as a skipper, sailing with Johan Tillander. Salminen got one of the coveted wild cards to compete in the Star Sailors League Final and will be facing off against his former skipper and Finn mentor.
The Star Sailors League Final sailed in Nassau, with a $200.000 price for the winner is one of the highlights of the year in the Star boat community. 10 skippers from the world ranking qualify for the competition and 15 skippers get invited as wild card entries.
Hanna: We have to talk about the Star Sailors League, will you beat your old skipper?
M: Of course that's really hard to say, I can only do my best and hope that it will be enough. Depends if Freddy finds it back to good old form. When Freddy is on song he will be really hard for anyone to beat. But one thing is sure, he won't have any help from me this time!
H: is it your first time sailing in the Star Sailors League?
M: I was actually invited last year but couldn’t make it. And then I sat there watching all the livestreams and cursed because I hadn’t gone. I knew the odds were good of me getting an invitation this year, I made it a priority and focused on getting the preparations right, clocking hours in the boat.
H: What expectations do you have on the regatta?
M: Well today’s results makes me feel confident, but it is kind of hard to know what to expect. Many of the guys coming I have not sailed against before, so it will be interesting to see where they are at.
Note: This interview was done on the dock just as Max had won Oktoberpokalen, a regatta organized by the Royal Swedish Yacht Club in Stockholm, winning all races except the first where he got fifth.
M: The people who get in through the ranking maintain their level pretty well, but the Wild Cards really make a charge for it and increase their level massively before the event. It is becoming one of the highlights of the year for many sailors…
H: What is the main difference between sailing Star and Finn?
M: Well, the obvious thing of being two people in the boat, and one being a keel boat, the other a dinghy. The star has a more complicated rig, you have a lot more options in terms of trimming on the water, with the Finn you are kind of stuck with what you have.
H: What is the main difference between crewing and helming in the Star?
M: Working with the back stays, and the fine tune trimming – that was the biggest change for me, going from crewing to skippering.
H: How many training hours do you have in a year?
M: We do somewhere around 170 to 200 days of sailing, so about 800-900 hours on water.
H: What do you do when you don’t sail?
M: Well we don’t have that much time left over. I have a lot of hobbies I don’t have enough time for, I just accumulate toys. Bikes, fishing gear and miscellaneous outdoor gadgets.
H: Favorite regatta?
M: Princess Sofía Trophy in Palma, the entire island is like a big playground. It is the first big competition of the season, so it’s nice to get going.
H: If you weren’t a sailor what would you do?
M: Some other sport, probably…