Always carry emergency snacks in your carry on, invest in good quality headphones, never post low-quality images on social media and don’t waste time on unpacking your trunk - I had a chat with Marcus Höglander about the glamourous life of pro sailing!
Hanna: So, what teams do you sail for?
Marcus: This season I am sailing on Elvis on the fast 40 circuit, I am match racing with Marcus Edegran, and M32 fleet sailing with Håkan Svensson on Valhalla. Then I jump in on a bunch of other stuff that comes around: I sailed on the classic yacht Beatrice Aurore during Sandhamsregattan and I was part of the Swedish team in the Nord Stream Race - I try to have a finger in every cookie jar, it is sort of what you have to do if you want to sail all year round. I was also part of the Artemis Racing team, first in the youth cup and then with the RC44:s
H: So you’re a pro sailor?
M: Yeah, I am, and that is why I jump around between boats, because sailing for one team isn’t enough to fill 52 weeks of the year. When I am not sailing myself, I also coach and work with sailing events.
H: I have to ask, how many days per year do you travel?
M: Last year was pretty hectic, I think I had 220 days away from home, (home is Gothenburg, Sweden). This year, I think I will land somewhere around the 200day mark, depending on what comes around between now and December 31st.
H: You must be a traveling pro, what do you always keep in your carry-on when you travel?
M: I always travel with a huge trunk, that really never gets unpacked if we are honest, so in my carry on I don’t really have much except for my laptop, and food! You never know what happens, how long you might get stranded somewhere, and when you get to eat next, so it’s always good to have some emergency sustenance. Oh, and my Bose noise cancelling headphones, the are pricey, but worth every penny!
A side note: I have the same headphones, and they are a lifesaver on long haul flights. This is not sponsored content, but Bose, if you do read this, feel free to hook us both up!
H: Why do you out of bed in the morning?
M: Haha, I am not sure I have the answer to that, I sometimes question it myself. When you live like I do, life sort of gets split into different periods; if you are out traveling it is all about routines, like a well-oiled machine. You decide the evening before what the next day is gonna look like and then when you get up, you know what to do. It is different when you are back home, because you don’t really have the same kind of schedule, but for me it is a lot of un-packing and packing, hanging out with friends, going to the gym, regular stuff.
H: You have a pretty large social media following, what Instagram posts get the most likes?
M: Boats and sunshine, champagne sailing - it has to look pretty and appealing! When I do post on Instagram, I think a lot about what I would like see myself. People spend a maximum of 3 seconds looking at a post, and you have to capture them in that time space. It should look professional, so that what I post stands out from the crowd. I can’t post unedited photos taken with my cell phone – it has to quality content.
H: Which is your favorite regatta, if you don’t talk about the actual Sailing?
M: The Match Cup in Marstrand: it’s always sunny, always windy, a lot of people there to watch the racing, and I like that the sailing is really at the focus of the event. I also really like Tjörn Runt because our entire crew has stay in Stenungsbaden’s hotel, you have really nice dinners, a good social scene, all that stuff.
H: What do you still have left to do on your bucket list?
M: Sail the Volvo Ocean race! I am pretty sure it is rough while you are out there, but I would want to do it once. I also want to weigh 100kg at some point. I weighed 71kg last fall, during the match cup I was 90kg and now I am back at 83kg - pro sailing turns you into a master of weight cycling.
Side note: Amen to that, the discussion actually sidetracked a lot into the world of pre weigh-in hangryness and a bunch of dieting war stories.
H: If you weren’t a sailor, what would you be?
M: I mean I played Ice hockey until I was 18, but I don’t think I would have continued with that, so I guess I would be a nobody, or a gym rat, haha.
H: What do you want to be when you grow up?
M: Tough question, to sail or not to sail? I am technically enrolled at Chalmers in the engineering faculty, and have completed 3,5 years, but for now it is put on ice so to speak.
H: How do we make sailing as a sport more approachable for the masses?
M: I don’t think there is a single or straight forward answer to that question. I think we need to get more people involved in the sport and that is a job for the sailing federation. But then you have to consider where we Sweden is located geographically, you can’t sail all year round here. In Sweden we have many small sailing clubs, but very few have the resources, if you look abroad to the prominent sailing nations the dinghy clubs are often associated with larger marinas making it a whole different ball game. And if we look at media coverage I do think we have to get better about spreading content and be aware that not everybody watching is a pro-sailor themselves. We also have to be more conscious about our audience, there is a very select crowd that wants to look at 6 hours of livestreamed sailing, out of which 4 hours is waiting between races - more highlight reels to the people!