Mange’s Memorial Service & Foundation

Mange’s memory will be honored at a memorial  service at Djurgårdsvarvet, Stockholm, on Sunday June 16 starting at 15.00 CET.

Read more here

Mange Olsson’s Memorial Foundation

A Foundation in Mange’s memory has been established. The Foundation is already supported by a number of Mange’s friends, as well as of companies he worked with during his offshore racing career. The Foundation’s purpose is to promote and encourage Swedish youth sailing and boating activities by issuing grants to individuals or organizations. Read more on above link.

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Magnus Olsson 1949-2013

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Share your memories

Magnus Olsson, one of the greatest sportsmen in the world of sailing, has passed away at a hospital in Spain. His family and friends were by his side. Magnus suffered a stroke during the week and despite initial positive signs, deteriorated over the next days.

If you have images, video, stories or anything else you would like to share, send en e-mail to

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Seglarminne från Per Göthlin

Det var 1980 och jag och min bror Mats fick åka till Newport för att skriva om Americas Cup. (vi var chefred för Segling då).
Orten, villorna, seglingen, båtarna, pirerna, clubbarna och så själva seglarna (som vi fick äran att hänga med så mycket) har blivit oförglömliga för oss.
Vi gjorde en större intervju med Mange och Gösta Holmin på verandan i deras förläggning. Den första större som gjordes på killarna i svensk press. De var ju inte så kända då.
Artikeln publicerade vi i Segling nr 2 1981.
Sen dess har jag fått äran att intervjua Magnus många gånger, varje gång lika kul. Intelligent och så kunnig och allmänbildad, och alltid så generös mot mig oavsett vi spelade hockey-bockey match, fajtades i Trapez eller möttes på cykelbanorna i stan.
Sen bifogar jag en färskare bild av  Magnus. En bild som visar en lycklig och ödmjuk plimsollare (hans första klubb hette så) på scenen efter målgången i Volvo Ocean på Stockholms Ström – innan han gick upp för att träffa Kungen och Drottningen på yttre borggården och där Mange var den som kramade och klappade om Silvia, inte tvärtom!
Utan tvekan är han vår störste seglingsambassadör! I sanning en god människa – medmänsklig, ödmjuk, och varmhjärtad.
Per Göthlin
seglare och journalist


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Final Round with Mange Banan

“I will bring the SCA boat to Antigua for RORC600 in February. That will be a perfect warm up sailing for the girls. You  arrange or a lobster dinner for us”!

Mange drove his car on the Drottningholm Golf Clubs parking lot last autumn with a big smile on his face and the typical laughter.

I had just paid the beers in the bar as Mange and Henry were the winners. The round started as always with Henry and myself in time for a warm up and Mange arriving very late to the first tee, not always dressed to golf standard (eg wearing jeans and sportshoes). As He used to play Bandy he had a very good sense for the game and most of  the times he won our golf games.

Now it feels so good to have paid that last beer.

We met first 1974 at Digital Equipment where we both worked, Mange in Field Service and myself in Sales. The customers just loved Mange when we visited them togegther, as he smiled and joked all the time. He could  say ” I did not bring an oscilloscop it is enough to repair this computer with a chewing gum.”

On our final Golf Round we talked about the PDP11 computer its different Operating systems and the version LSI -11 which was the computer onboard the Swedish Americas Cup challenge “Sverige” 1977. As Magnus had a Master of Science education he was supervising the development of the navigation software for “Sverige” which was developed by two students at the Royal Institute of Technology  in Stockholm.

On hole 15 we slipped into talk about girls working with us at Digital. We were speculating if these nice girls were preserved as good as we imagined we were. I do not remember what our conclusion was. But a lot of laughter.

And also as always, Mange did not have time to stay for dinner at the Golfclub, he had a sailing activity going on in the evening. I served Mange and Henry beer and we planned alternative dates for a Crayfish party in september (that never happened becuse of the SCA Project) and also the visit to Antigua and the RORC 600 in feb 2013.

Last mail from Magnus in february: We do not have time for RORC600 7 girls and myself will sail the boat direct to Lanzarote.

My thoughts go to Magnus family.

Will miss you my friend and look for that sign in the sky.

Bo Löweberg  friend

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A tribute to Magnus by Mikael Lindholm

For the Memory of Magnus Olsson,

Magnus Olsson is one of the most extraordinary person I have ever met. It is therefore with great sorrow and regret I write these words…

I met Magnus several times and I can not say I was a very close friend of his, but the unique thing with Magnus was that he was so deeply focused in each person he met, so it felt as if you were part of his family. For Magnus it was more important to givet than to receive – which is a rare quality of the human race. In other words he was a good example to mankind. This world needs more people like Magnus!

The first time I met Magnus was many years ago after his talk about the ”Whitbread Round the World Race” in Uppsala, Sweden. Then we sailed a long distance race with Laser in Nynäshamn. We manage to bump into each other in Aukland, when he sailed on EF Language and then in Gothenburg, when he sailed on Assa Abloy. Everytime it was like we known each other forever.

I admire Magnus as a fantastic source of inspiration, a great team leader, a team player, someone that everyone admires, respects and looks up to.

Magnus was a great amabssador for the sport of sailing, which he loved. He has surely inspired many people to chose sailing as their main sport. He was aslo a person that media loved to talk to, since he was always spontaneous and could never hide what he felt at that perticular moment.

I strongly belive that Magnus, with his unique qualities, could also successfully have been a coach for a big soccer team, CEO of a big Copmany or even the leader of United Nations and in that case it would be peace on this planet!

It is a huge loss for us all that such a fantastic person shall end his days way too early. Magnus had still a lot to give and everyone around him had still a lot to receive in the form of wisdom, eperience, knowledge, inspiration, joy and an increased appetite for life!

Thanks Magnus, for everything we have received from you! You will allways remain in our hearts!

Mikael Lindholm and family Anna & Nils
Enköping, Sweden

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From Aksel Magdahl: Magnus’ happy boat

In a tribute to Magnus Olsson, his skipper onboard Ericsson 3 in 2008-09, Aksel Magdahl describes his Swedish friend’s faith, allowing him to make a bold tactical decision which led to an unexpected and splendid victory in the leg from China to Brazil.

It was the longest leg of the Volvo Ocean Race 2008-09, and after their delayed start due to their disastrous previous leg, nobody expected the youngsters from Ericsson 3 to shine between Qingdao and Rio.

But skipper Magnus Olsson’s philosophy and navigator Aksel Magdahl’s talent made for a surprise result. After leaving China, Ericsson 3 tacked to go back northeast, avoiding a huge area of high pressure in the south. Magdahl’s unconventional analysis allowed Ericsson 3 to ride a low-pressure system spinning up to the northeast.

This brilliant coup gave them a comfortable lead, which they kept over the next 6,000 miles. The triumphant arrival of the team in Rio remains one of the strongest memories of Olsson and his boys in the race.

Here, Magdahl tells us how Olsson gave the boat a “happy” feeling, giving his Norwegian navigator full confidence and allowing him to take his own decisions.


I had the chance to spend two years of my life close to Magnus in the Ericsson project for the Volvo 2008-09. There will be a big void left after him. I’ve been in contact with most of the Ericsson 3 guys and we all share similar feelings.

We faced tough times on Ericsson 3: the pre-race crew selection, a penalty for our ‘illegal keel’, boat breakages and a skipper change. We manage to come back on legs 4 and 5 but I was beyond my limit at that stage and I don’t think I was the only one. We endured whale damage and took last place on leg 7. We had to take tough ‘push or slow down’ decisions and a disastrous tack cost us home victory and glory on the leg into Stockholm. We didn’t always agree onboard… but we had a lot of respect for each other.

Continue reading at

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What a Guy – what a Friend

Mange on Ericsson 3

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A Happy Memory of Magnus from 1984

Mange and I were together during a delivery of 2 yachts from The Canary Islands to Fort Lauderdale with a planned stop in St. Bart. Unfortunately Hurricane Klaus got in the way and destroyed St. Bart’s harbor.

Our yachts were separated but we met up again in Nassau harbor. We sailed towards Fort Lauderdale over the Bahama Banks under spinnaker at 5 knots. Mange brought up his surfboard (made out of a floor board) and we sailed so close together that the crews could jump between the boats and go surfing on Mange’s board. That was a great day.

I knew Mange for a long time and he was a fantastic guy. I will always remember him fondly. My thoughts are with his sons as well as his entire family and extensive group of worldwide friends.

- Janne Friberg S  Sarasota FL/Stockholm

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From Staffan Salén

With the passing of Magnus “Mange” Olsson KSSS and the Swedish sailing community has lost one of it’s all time greats. There has probably never been a more inspirational sailor and human being than Mange, always having a positive word to say and a wealth of experience to gladly share. He will be truly missed both as a friend and as a sailor.

Staffan Salén
Commodore, Royal Swedish Yacht Club

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Simon Le Bon’s lament for old crewmate Magnus

Simon Le Bon sailed with Magnus Olsson on board Drum in the 1985-86 edition of the race. The Duran Duran frontman has sent Volvo Ocean Race this personal tribute to his smiling Swedish friend, who died on April 20 at the age of 64. A musician and the owner of the maxi yacht Drum, Le Bon was participating in the Fastnet with skipper Skip Novak when the boat lost her keel and capsized.

Before being rescued, the crew members were trapped underwater, inside the hull, for 40 minutes.

Despite the accident, the Duran Duran singer went on to complete what was then the Whitbread Round the World Race in 1985-86, with Magnus Olsson, his “flat footed friend”, among the crew.

We’re sailing down a wave
you and me
and all shipmates bunched like knuckles in the cockpit
a lazy fist punch through the spray and the spindrift
white arrow gleaming, touched by the sun
but your smile is brighter
and you laugh louder
than the howling old sea when she bangs on our Drum
Goodbye flat footed friend
and many other things which set you apart
for in the cold and damp
the world has need of folk like you
to keep the ember alive
when you blow on its heart

Simon Le Bon


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From Colin Sinclair: What else, but Magnus

Not sure when I first met Magnus. I was one of those lucky people who landed up at the right place at the right time, and had a bumper start to my Yacht Brokerage career with Berthon at the end of the 70s and up to the mid 80s. At the time, Lymington was “the place” where race boats prepared for Admirals’ Cup and so on, and perhaps it was when a Frers 51 footer, Carat? ex Retaliation? was heading off late season to be in Florida for the SORC – late 83? If my memory serves me, Bob Sharkey had run the boat for the previous owner and Magnus was involved since Victor Forss had it? The pair of them were fitting these new, guardrail mounted speakers, about 60cm square, in protective canvas mounts, either side of the wheel, and we laughed together about what music each of them might choose when honking down a big wave mid Atlantic.

It seemed like I bumped into him everywhere in the years that followed as we both raced in those heady days of IOR. The Solent, Fort Lauderdale, Porto Cervo, Sandham …. Magnus was one of those simply lovely people who remembered you, spotted you, shouted “Ho Colin” at you across the water, and shared such easy times chatting ashore about life, sailing, friends. I was never surprised by what followed, but delighted, excited, engaged, by the warmth, the commitment, the passion which he epitomised and inspired in others.

My successor at Berthon, Malcolm, named his son after Magnus, and I am delighted to be able to say that I have been able to give a bit of Magnus to my 2 sons. Ask them, they will tell you what a wonderful person he was, and they only have it second hand! When someone as special leaves us, we have a task. We must do everything we can to pass on what he was, what he still is in our hearts and memories. When that big wave builds behind us, we will have Magnus smiling at our side. He is part of us now.

Colin Sinclair
St Malo
April 24th 2013

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From Malcolm Lee

During one of the stopovers during the 89-90 Whitbread, Magnus and I were both working on our masts. My future wife was with me at the time and I remember pointing at Magnus who was head down fiddling with something, his customary huge grin on his face and saying, ‘if we have a boy, he is going to be named Magnus and be as happy as he is’. I then went over and told him what I had just said. He roared with laughter and made me promise to make sure if I did, they met.
In 1994 I duly named my son Magnus.
They did meet, at Bill Green’s yard in Lymington where Magnus was building yet another ‘last because I am getting too old’ Volvo boat. On being introduced, they looked at each other, grinned and then simultaneously started laughing. I knew then my son was going to be OK no matter what life threw at him.
There may only be one Magnus left but there will always be laughter for two.
RIP Magnus, but know this, you will always be present in my family.

Malcolm Lee

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From Rick Tomlinson

“Just two weeks ago Magnus and I were watching these dolphins from the deck of SCA. Full of enthusiasm for everything in the ocean, he laughed like a child as they hopped and ran rings around the boat. ‘Look at them Rick, they make it look so easy, like the albatross we saw in the southern ocean on Drum.’

“Girls, if a dolphin or an albatross stays with you just a little longer than rest – let us know – Magnus will always be looking out for you.

“I was lucky to race in four Whitbread races with Magnus: Drum, The Card, Intrum Justitia and one leg with EF Language, and to photograph him in three Volvo races. He always had time for you, and you always felt better just for meeting him. Sail on my friend, the world has lost the most inspiring man.”

Rick Tomlinson is best known for capturing the Southern Ocean at its most treacherous from the decks of various yachts in the Whitbread Round the World Race. Rick was crew aboard Drum. Rick offered to take some pictures and set off on the race with one Nikon and 20 rolls of film. Eventually he sailed in four Whitbread Round the World Races, onboard Drum, The Card, Intrum Justitia and with the two EF teams in the 1997 Whitbread. He was official photographer for the Volvo Ocean Race 2001/02 and 2008/09 races. 


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From João Cabeçadas

I met Mange during the 1989-90 race. His laughter would be the first thing you hear whenever you come by “The Card”.
I had the chance of sailing with Mange on EF during the build up for the 1997-98 race which I end up racing with another team. Mange was a blast of enthusiasm in a tricky training camp as EF Language, EF Education and Silk Cut were three different teams sharing two training boats.  It was during my time with EF; prior to that race and then competing against Mange that we became closer friends.
For the 2001-02 race, Mange was member of the Race Organizing Committee with the role of “Recent Competitor”. When he joined “Assa Abloy” Mange decided to resign his position at the Organizing Committee and I thank him for having put my name ahead to replace him. Ian Bailey-Wilmot and Michael Woods accepted his suggestion but I’m sure that the meetings were not half as fun without Mange.
I last saw Mange at the Legends Regatta. His laughter had never change.
When I heard the sad news I simply wrote to Richard Brisius that I didn’t know what to say. But now I finally know what to say. I just say: – « Live like Mange »

João Cabeçadas is the most international of Portuguese sailors today, with 16 Atlantic crossings, 3 Indian, 2 Pacific on his CV. He was a crew member on Esprit de Liberte (Whitbread 1989/90) and went on to participate in two more editions of the race. Now a member of Team Alinghi.

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Remembering Magnus by Brian Hancock

An excerpt from Brian Hancock’s great tribute to Magnus:

The sailing community lost a true legend this past weekend. Few individuals have had such an impact on sailing as the irrepressible Magnus Olsson who died on Saturday from complications from a stroke. It really is hard to believe that he has sailed his last passage and that those of us left behind will continue to sail on without the sound of his laughter booming out from below decks. Life on the lip of a cresting wave will simply not be the same without Mange.

I arrived on the sailing scene in the late 70’s and heard talk of an immensely attractive Swede who somehow made a living as a ski bum in the winter and a sailing bum in the summer. I was intrigued and more than a little curious to know how such a life was possible, but when I met Magnus for the first time it became obvious. Here was a person who had such an appetite for life, such an amazing zest for squeezing every bit of juice out of living that it was hard not to wonder what planet he was from. Turned out he was from a suburb of Stockholm and his zest was genuine. More than three decades later, until just last week, that booming laugh, infectious smile and twinkle in the eye was there. His passing is truly a sad loss, not only for sailing, but for humanity.

Continue reading at SpeedDream

Brian Hancock author, adventurer, inspirer … Sailed with Magnus on Alaska Eagle (1981/82) and Drum (1985/86) and then raced against Magnus while onboard Russian entry Fazisi (1989/90). Read more about Brian here.

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Magnus Olsson in the VOR Legends Regatta

In the build up to the start of the 2011-12 Volvo Ocean Race I was lucky enough to be part of the broadcast team filming a documentary about the first VOR Legends Regatta in Alicante. On the first day I was on board the beautifully refitted Charles Jourdan with Magnus Olsson as part of the Legends crew. From the moment Magnus appeared on the dock until we returned to port after the race (Charles Jourdan was in the lead when the race was abandoned with no wind) it was clear that he was the most loved and respected sailor in Alicante that day. Sharing a joke with wind-creased old deck hands, gently teasing fellow legends and VOR executives, the consumate professional in front of the camera, and a natural racer at heart. Although I only knew Magnus for a few short hours he left a lasting impression and I was very sad to hear that he died this week. Long live his memory and his lasting legacy to ocean racing.

- From Richard Aylmer-Hall

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“Bons ventos” from Torben Grael

Mange has surely impacted everyone that had the opportunity to know him.
He was such a positive guy, even when things were not going particularly well.
Mange was a sweet , happy and always amusing friend.
A person with whom you could spend hours  talking, enjoying his experience, his sport quiz questions, his friendship .
I had the privilege of being a team mate with him in Ericsson Racing Team.
He was probably  the best team player I had the opportunity of working with.
Surely we will miss him, but I’m quite sure there will be one more Albatross looking around sailboats in the Southern Ocean too.
I guess the photo bellow can express my feelings much better then my words…

Fair winds out there my friend,


Torben & Magnus.
Picture by Rick Tomilson/Volvo Ocean Race

Torben Grael is one of the most well known Brazilian sailors, renowned in international competitions. He is the Brazilian with the highest number of Olympic medals, and holds the highest number of Olympic medals in sailing together with Ben Ainslie and Robert Scheidt with five, followed by Paul Elvstrøm with four.
Grael has also sailed in the 2005-06 Volvo Ocean Race as skipper of the Brasil 1 team, which finished third overall. He would win the next Ocean Race, but this time as the skipper of the Swedish team Ericsson 4.
He has sailed in several America’s Cup races, including the winning campaign in Louis Vuitton Cup in 2000 and the 2007 event as tactician aboard Luna Rossa Challenge.

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From Simon Le Bon

“My good friend and shipmate Magnus Olsson died on the weekend. I am terribly sad that I didn’t get to see him and spend one more evening in the glow of that smile. That smile, and the laughter which warmed your heart when all around, everything seemed damp and cold. Goodbye dear friend.”

Simon Le Bon, crew mate on Drum

Simon Bon is an English musician, best known as the lead singer, lyricist and musician of the band Duran Duran and its offshoot, Arcadia. While Duran Duran was on hiatus in 1985, Le Bon drew media attention when his maxi yacht, Drum, lost its keel and capsized during the Fastnet race. Le Bon and other crew members were trapped underwater, inside the hull, for forty minutes. They were all rescued by the Royal Navy. Despite the accident, Le Bon and Drum went on to participate in the 1985-1986 Whitbread Round the World Race, coming in third overall in elapsed time.

Read more at:

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Video from Fredrik Röjås

Below video was produced 6 years ago by Fredrik Röjås featuring his biggest role model, colleague and friend Mange Olsson. The video is 10 minutes long and in Swedish.

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From Torbjörn Freudenthal

For some years I was producing tv and video for different sailing projects: Whitbread 1996/97, VOR 2001/2002 and Nokia Oops Cup 2005 and 2006. In all of these Mange was the natural gravity centre, with his contagious smile and positive attitude. Here’s a clip in Swedish from the Formula 60 Trimaran cup Nokia Oops Cup 2005, with a portrait of Mange a beautiful summer´s day in the Swedish archipelago. It’s the day before the start of Gotland Round Race, and Mange reflects on the choices he made, and the life he lived.

Torbjörn Freudenthal

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From Palle Ekdahl

MANGE. Your passion for yacht racing, sailing, boats and life here around was  so strong that nothing else not even the physical body did matter. You lived your passion fully, with laughter and joy leaving those of us having had the fortune of getting to know you with memories of unique person.

Palle Ekdahl

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Memories from Hans (Swedish only)

I en regatta i R6M var det en dag en mycket, mycket lätt delsegling. Mange seglade med Pelle Pettersson i “Irene”. Plötsligt ramlar storseglet ned i Irene, när de ligger någonstans på övre halvan och guppar. Men den kloke Pelle P hade alltid en liten plastboll bakom taluriten i fallet, så fallet stannar i masttoppen. Full aktivitet i Irene, utom hos Pelle P som strikt fokuserar genuan och kör vidare. Alla andra båtar tittar på “dramat”. Nu tar Mange av sig kläderna ned till underkläderna, som visar sig vara en på tvären brett röd/vit randig overall. Denne gigantiska polkagris börjar nu ta sig upp för masten. Först med hjälp av undervanten, så toppvanten, men sedan är det kanske 2 m kaltopp kvar. Där stannar polkagrisen efter att frenetiskt ha halkat runt där uppe ett tag. Alla andra båtar börjar nu svaja och skaka av skratt inför denna föreställning, alla utom Irene. Nu tar Figge Montan av sig alla kläder och med skinkontakt + utmärkt fysik kommer han ända upp och hämtar fallet. Storen upp och nu LEDER Irene, för Pelle P är den ende rorsman som inte tycks ha brytt sig om vad som händer i båten, litat 100% på sin besättning och kört så fort och högt det går med vad han har. När veckan är slut, är Irene världsmästare. Jag vill minnas detta var Seattle 1979. I Äppelvikshamnen träffade jag Mange första gången, vi bodde båda nära där. Det var redan då tydligt att denne intelligente, starke, omtänksamme, duktige, fokuserade och glade grabb var speciell. Det enda som känns lätt denna dag, är att “i ljust minne bevara” Mange. Så trist att det skedde så tidigt.

Jag misstänker, att det fanns en plan här hos Mange, att få oss alla andra att vingla när de höll på med sina trix i Irene. På något sätt kände vi andra, att det var med detta konststycke Irene drog åt skruven, bestämde sig och åkte hem det hela.

Vi satt i May Be XI och slutade på 7e plats.

Själv väljer jag att vara glad för att mina kurser och vägar korsat Manges vid ett antal tillfällen, ända från början, faktiskt (jag är 5 år äldre än Mange, Juppa, Boman och de andra grabbarna i Äpplevikshamnen). Det är ett bättre alternativ än att gå och sörja att han är död och skulle jag tro det sätt som Mange föredrar!

Fort & högt


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From Sam Davies

Magnus has always been my hero, from the days when I watched the Whitbread starts on my Mum and Dad’s boat in the Solent, until this day, when recently I have had the honour to sail with him and learn from him on board Team SCA.

I have only known Magnus for a few months but already I feel like I have known him all my life. My son Ruben enjoyed playing with him and we will miss the football lessons that Magnus promised us!

He is truly an inspiration. He brought a smile and laughter to our boat. It will be quieter now without him, but we will sail harder than ever for him. He believed in us and I make it our duty that when we sail into the Southern Ocean and we meet Magnus’ albatross he will be proud of us.

My love to all Magnus’ family and close friends for these tough weeks ahead

Sam Davies

Sam Davies is an accomplished single-handed sailor. She has competed in two Vendee Globe races and has sailed in the challenging Open 60 class for the past 10 years. In 2008 she finished the Vendee Globe in fourth place. She was part of the all-female Jules Vernes Trophy attempt in 1998 sailing with Tracy Edwards. Sam is one of the first five crewmembers selected for Team SCA in the Volvo Ocean Race 2014/15.

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From Tracy Edwards MBE: A tribute to my friend

Magnus and I became firm friends in the build up to and during the 85/86 Whitbread Round the World Race.  He was an inspiration to me and when the cook on Atlantic Privateer became ill Magnus and Sir Peter Blake were the ones that urged me to go and hassle Shag for the job!  I would never have had the courage without that support.  To have sailed on that particular race with that bunch of reprobates was amazing enough but to have had the friendship of people like Magnus made it very special indeed.

I remember that when we were all on the water we wanted to beat the hell out of each other but when we were all on land the friendships were unique and none more so than Magnus.  His competitive spirit ensured that his laughter was to be heard at the finish of the Tour de Uruguay (picture enclosed, I am presenting his garland) and at the infamous Sports Day at the Montivideo Leisure Club, Magnus was always in the thick of it, smiling and laughing and winning!!

Magnus & Tracy

Magnus & Tracy

He was that rarest of characters and a truly special human being. He saw only good in others and in the 30 years I knew him I never ever once, heard him say one bad word, about another person which is just extraordinary. What makes it even more amazing is that he was a true competitor with a passion for winning but he did it without anger, without guile and without lessening anyone else’s achievements.  A true sportsman and role model in every sense of the word. I can picture his smile and hear his laugh so clearly when I think of him.  His love of life and joy of spirit were unique and he really was a sailing legend.

We are all very lucky that he touched our lives and I am guessing that he and the lovely Yannis are having a big catch up right now before heading off on a new adventure. I will miss him very much.

Tracy Edwards MBE

Tracy Edwards MBE, BSc is a British sailor. In 1989 she skippered the first all-female crew in the Whitbread Round the World Yacht Race, becoming the first woman to receive the Yachtsman of the Year Award, and was awarded Membership of the Order of the British Empire

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Memories of Magnus, by Roger Nilson

Now that Magnus has left this world, it feels much less colourful without him.

In the summer of 1976 I was invited to navigate the “trial horse” for The Swedish Challenge for America’s Cup. When I arrived to the project base for the first time, I could hear the most contagious laughter somewhere in the distance. When I got closer, it was obvious who it belonged to – Magnus “Mange” Olsson. His spirit was unique and I was, from there on, lucky to race offshore with him for many years to come.

In August 1985 we lost the keel of Simon le Bon’s Maxi Drum during the Fastnet Race. Drum was towed into harbour, upside down, as a wreck with no mast, most sails lost and the hull full of diesel. Most of us had lost all hope in starting the Whitbread, only six weeks later. Magnus was supposed to join the project after the Fastnet and as things were, I was sure he would never turn up. I had started looking for work as a doctor again and felt out of energy for the project. But, before I left Falmouth, Magnus magically appeared at the dock, filled with his tremendous positive energy and that large familiar grin on his face. After taking a good look at the mess he exclaimed:

“Guys, this is a great and interesting challenge. It looks pretty bad but I’m sure we can get her ready for the start.”

His enthusiasm turned many of us around. Magnus’s energy and his attitude really helped us to get on track and amazingly enough we got to the start. Mission impossible accomplished. His perseverance to never give up was a major contributing factor to the success of the project.

When we got The Card Challenge up and running in 1988, Magnus was my obvious choice as the co-skipper. It was a job he handled fantastically and we became the first Swedish boat to finish the Whitbread.

Before the race, we had a very bad collision and lost three metres of the bow. During the stopover in Uruguay, our foredeck crew had a fatal motorbike accident and during the Auckland start, we lost our mizzen mast. It was a tough project and Magnus was always by my side – trustworthy, honest and a super-skilled sailor as well as technically superb. We even achieved a good sportive result and had very satisfied sponsors. The project became a benchmark for Swedish commercially financed large sailing projects and Magnus’s contribution to the success was instrumental.

Magnus and I have spent around 80,000 nautical miles at sea together and I feel that this created a special bond between us. We´ve had many a fun time, and shared laughter, as well as hardship. We made serious decisions, at times arguing, but always with respect for each other’s opinions. Sometimes in crucial moments, there´s been tears to ease the pressure. This created a special friendship and a strong connection between us.

I am forever grateful to have had Magnus in my life. He has made a tremendous difference for me as well as for many others. I will forever remember our many shared hours under star-filled skies or in stormy nights, never knowing what lies ahead, enjoying that moment on our beloved oceans.

Magnus has meant a lot for me. I have learned much from him both as a human being and as a sailor. It feels unreal that he leaves this world so much earlier than expected with thousands of close friends and supporters in deep sorrow. Two days before I got the sad news I had a strong daydream that we once more would head out together over the large oceans.

I loved this man and he will always have a special place in my heart.

My deep condolences to all of his family and close friends.

This poem by Robert Burns paints, in my opinion, a good picture of this beautiful, fine man, now missed by so many. He will be in mine and many other´s thoughts and hearts forever.

An honest man here lies at rest
As ever God with his image blest.
The friend of man, the friend of truth
The friend of age, the friend of youth:
Few hearts like his, with virtue warmed,
Few heads with knowledge so informed:
If there´s another world, he lives in bliss
If there´s none, he made the best of this.

Roger Nilson, Stockholm

Roger Nilson sailed 80,000 miles around the world with his friend Magnus Olsson over three separate Volvo Ocean Race campaigns, with Drum, The Card and Intrum Justitia.

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From Shannon Falcone

“Sailing today lost one of its greatest characters both on and off the water. I had the great pleasure to race against him in the 2008-09 Volvo Ocean Race and can safely say I never saw him without the biggest smile on his face.

“I’ll also never forget the tacking duel between PUMA Ocean Racing and Ericsson 3 on Leg 9 into Stockholm, Sweden. He was leading his team of young Swedes to what would have been an epic homeport win and we were fighting for our elusive first leg victory of the Race on PUMA.

“Until the very end he was pushing the boundaries of our sport, helping coach the all-female crew of Team SCA and sharing with them his wealth of knowledge after 6 laps of the World. Sail on Magnus…”

Shannon Falcone sailed on PUMA against Magnus (Ericsson 3) in Volvo Ocean Race 2008-09.

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