The ice man and other stories

Text Agathe Armand
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The ice man and other stories Text Agathe Armand
Meet the winner of our 40th birthday competition! Anders Odelberg’s frozen picture from the 1981-82 edition got the most votes out of the six finalists and will be part of our exhibition '40 years, 40 faces', which opens this Friday at the Volvo Ocean Race museum. Here Anders tells you all about the adventures behind the picture.

Note: The exhibition '40 years, 40 faces' opens this Friday at 6pm at the Volvo Ocean Race museum in Alicante, Spain. Come in and have a look!

Anders Odelberg - Swedish Entry, 1981-82 (photo 1)

Tell me about you and your team. Who were you and where did you come from – even though your team name says it all!
“We were indeed a Swedish team but we only got halfway! The project went bankrupt in New Zealand so we sailed only half the race.

“We were as professional as one could get then. A Swedish company sponsored us but none of them were professional sailors. Peter Norlin designed the boat for the race and we, the crew, built it in Sweden.”

What about the picture you sent us? Who is the frozen crewmember and how did you get that cold?  
“I took it on the leg from South Africa to New Zealand. On that leg, we went too far south to the 60th parallel. I think we went as far as the 61st south parallel, hence the ice! There were a lot of icebergs too. The ice on his face isn’t snow though; it’s the ocean spray being frozen. 

“The crew on the picture was Willy von Koskull, a Finnish guy. He was in his fifties when we did the race. Everybody was doing everything on board but he did drive a lot – you could call him a helmsman! Unfortunately he passed away five or six years ago.”

It looks so cold and your equipment must have been pretty basic!
“It was cold for a while but we did dress accordingly. You know, it was not that long ago! We had fleeces and jackets. Sure, we didn’t have any of the breathable weather gear available nowadays. That was the main difference.

"But at the same time the boats were heavier and slower, we didn’t have the water pressure on us. Today it’s like being on a fire hose all the time!"

How many pictures did you take during the race?
“I have LOTS of pictures! I don’t know how many. I had two cameras with me at the time, one of them was a Nikon diving camera and the other was a Canon. I don’t remember exactly when and how I took the photo but judging by the weather I must have been using the diving one!”

Two cameras… Were you the onboard reporter?
“There was no such thing at the time! I was just interested in stills. I’ve always loved photography; I’ve always been taking pictures.

“I was also asked by a Swedish monthly magazine to take pictures so I did take some pictures for them. They were all on films, which I had to send them by post once ashore. I scanned all the picture slides two years ago to store them properly.”

Why did you submit this image then?
“I chose to send this picture because the name of the competition said ‘Your face of the race’. That was the face!”

Did this adventure have a strong influence on you?
“I was 26 during the race. It was a big thing for me to do it. That’s the only edition I’ve done but of course I’m still following it. 

“After the race I worked as a house architect before becoming a software architect. But I’m still sailing and racing. It has always been a big part of my life.”

Our 40th birthday competition is closed and Anders is the winner. Here at race headquarters we'd like to extend a huge thanks to everyone who sent in pictures as we mark our our 40th birthday. Look out for more birthday news in the next months!