Karen is a mahogany Dragon built at Wilenius Boat yard in Porvoo Finland in 1958.
My father received her as a present from his grandmother Karen Sigrid Säthren. His grandmother was so delighted that he had been accepted to study physics at the university that she decided to buy him a dragon, as he was a keen sailor.
Karen Sigrid Säthren was a very beautiful lady and she was a respected and loved guest in many families. She married three times and had two children: Kaj and his younger sister Ulla. Ulla did not marry or have children and Kaj is my grandfather.
My father won the Nordic Championships in 1968 with Karen and was among top 10 in the World Championships in Sandhamn.
From 1973 Karen has been in the ownership of different families.
I bought her back around Christmas 2014. In a way Karen Sigrid Säthren has also given me the boat as a present, as I also inherited from her.
When Karen was in my father’s ownership her name was written with a C but not when I bought her back. It was agreed with my father that with respect to his grandmother that the boat should be named after her and written with a K.
Karen has recently gone through a complete restoration by respected sailing expert and coach Chris Winter. This year Karen will be 60 year old.
When I was a child I was afraid of the rough sea, the stormy weather, the big waves and the boat leaning and jumping in the waves. All I wanted was to find shelter and protection. Now I love every second of it, the heavier the weather is the greater the feeling is and the more I want to be out there on the waves in the great surfs.
To race and compete in tournaments with Karen is a gift, not a free one as it is not self evident to get this far in the sport, many times it has been a struggle.
After an accident in 2010 I was in a big juncture and I felt it was time for decisions. I was grateful that my son who was just 10 months old survived the accident without any injuries.
I was lucky to be alive with a broken neck and five vertebras smashed in my spine. At the time, the chance for me to live a normal life and to be able to practice sports was almost non-existing.
I decided that life is too precious to sit around and wait for things to maybe happen and making decisions has been my way forward.
I became a yoga instructor and trained my way back to a sporty life.
Sailing is my passion. It is what I love to do and what makes me happy. It is hard to describe this feeling in words, the reward is great. Racing in tournaments is a fulfilment of all the things I have learnt in my life, sailing, gathering a team, taking risks, and being adventurous and brave.
Karen is a symbol that reminds me that I have one life and that I should use it wisely, every breath is a gift to be grateful for and only I can make myself happy so that I can live a meaningful life.
Being out on the sea with my team in Karen gives me strength and energy. This is when I feel I am in my element. It reminds me of how far I have come in life.
The feeling of not being scared is a great joy and to have found my tribe of like minded people is fantastic.
My goal is to become a better sailor, a better communicator and a better listener as well as teacher for my son who I hope will want to inherit my love for the sport of sail racing.