For Berntsson Sailing Team, the second place in Bermuda was a clear message that they have more potential than they have shown previously this season. According to Berntsson, the team still aims for the podium of the Tour and they have surprised us before. Last year they closed in 26 points to steal the bronze medal from Torvar Mirsky at the final event and now they have less than 15 points up to Keith Swinton who is currently in third place. Berntsson is on his way to Malaysia right now and Sailing Sweden talked to him just before he left.
Be very sure – Johnie’s looking to mix things up once again.
Less than a week left until the big final, how does it feel?
It feels great and very inspiring. It’s always nice in Malaysia and it’s going to be great to get there now that the tension and excitement is building for next week. As we see it, the season is far from over and it’s still wide open how things will turn out. We really look forward to it.
You are less than 15 points behind Keith Swinton at third place. What do you think about your chances to get on the podium?
I absolutely think we have a chance to get on the podium. If Swinton gets knocked out in the quarter finals while we go on, that could be enough. Still, it’s going to be very tough. All the competing teams have a lot of potential and there is no team that will serve as a punching bag for the rest of us and give away easy points.
You had more points up to the podium heading for last years Monsoon Cup but you still managed to grab the bronze medal. Is the situation on the scoreboard something you think about while you are racing?
Well, we always try to focus on our own performance in each race. The way to the final can look very different and sometimes you are unlucky and face tough competition early on in the knockout stage. If you are fortunate you get time to evolve and improve for every match. Last year Ian Williams beat us in the final of Monsoon Cup but if we would have met him earlier, the regatta could have been very different for us. You need a bit of luck but we hope that we are among the best teams and I’m certain that we have the potential to beat all the others.
What can you tell me about the conditions you will be sailing in next week?
We know the conditions quite well and if it’s like the final days last year, things will suit us well. It can vary a bit but we know what the challenges are. The tide is absolutely a challenge and sometimes it’s difficult to see which side of the course that’s best. I hope we will get a hang of that as well.
Do you still feel like you are entering the event as underdogs?
If you look at the scoreboard it still looks that way. Everyone focuses on the teams ahead of them on the scoreboard and we all tend to forget about the teams behind us. Some of the other teams may have counted us out already but I think it’s too early to make that call. I hope we can show them that it was a mistake next week.
And what about nerves, are you getting nervous yet?
Right now I’m not nervous at all but it will be a different feeling once we start racing. Then you always get a bit nervous and I think that’s healthy but I’m not the nervous type to be honest.
The strongest feeling right now is excitement and we can’t wait to start racing because it’s has been a couple of weeks since Bermuda. We are eager to see if we can create an exciting twist to the final event of the season.
Text: Fabian Bengtsson