Along came 48-year-old entrepreneur Hakan Svensson, the tour’s new owner. He didn’t buy it to rescue it, however. He bought it as a means to enable younger pro sailors, to provide them, as he puts it, with a “pathway to the top.”
At the entrance to this winding path sits the M32 catamaran, built by Aston Harald, which is also owned by Svensson. The $250,000 one-design carbon cat will be the exclusive boat for all World Tour events and championships in 2017, and will be used for most tour events this year. The cost of the boat, Svensson says, is attainable enough for 25- to 35-year-old sailors to launch and sustain professional sailing campaigns, using M32 regattas to seed and hone their squads. Svensson’s endgame, of course, is to pipeline sailors to the World Match Racing Tour and its million-dollar purse.