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Johnie Berntsson


Johnie Berntsson began his sailing career in an Optimist dinghy at the age of 9 but quickly transitioned to keelboats at the age of 12. Since then, he has competed at the local level, gradually expanding his competitive arena first within Sweden, followed by Europe and globally.

Johnie made his debut in match racing in 1997, and since then, he has competed worldwide, earning numerous medals for his achievements. In 2011, the Swedish Sailing Federation crowned Berntsson and his team as the "Swedish Sailors of the Year."

While driven by the pursuit of victory, Johnie is equally fueled by a commitment to providing young Swedish sailors with opportunities for personal and sailing development.

"I am passionate about youth and believe it is important to provide them with role models. The sailing community and all the wonderful people in it have given me so much, so I want to give back in some way. It's both fun and inspiring to share many years of training and development with young sailors who aspire to progress.

I had the chance to sail with the four-time WMRT champion, Peter Gilmour, when I was young. He was the best in the match racing world at that time, and the insight and experience it gave me allowed me to elevate myself and my sailing further. What I realized was that it wasn't as difficult or complicated. Gilmour had no unique solutions. He just did everything very well."

Approaching the finals of the 2023 World Match Racing Tour (WMRT) in Shenzhen, China, in mid-December, Johnie faced the dilemma of declining due to unavailability of his regular crew. Instead, he opted to invite four young sailors aged 19-23, resulting in a successful outing. Achieving a commendable fourth place out of twelve participants, it marked Johnie's second-best result in the match racing World Championship.

In addition to his professional work and active sailing at the world elite level, Johnie actively engages in various sailing initiatives, particularly emphasizing the younger generation. Holding a board position in the Swedish Sailing Federation, he oversees responsibilities such as the Regional Sailing Schools (RIG). In the Allsvenskan league, Johnie steps in to sail with youth at his home club, Stenungsunds SS, generously sharing his wealth of knowledge.

For many years, Johnie has stood out as one of Sweden's preeminent match racing sailors, consistently ranking among the world's top elite in the class. While his most significant triumphs have occurred in the WMRT, he boasts multiple Swedish Championship golds, two Nordic Championship golds, one European Championship gold, and a World Championship bronze in match racing. He has also claimed victory in the prestigious Bermuda Gold Cup three times – most recently in October 2023.

"It is an honor to be part of the history where many great sailors have fought," concludes Johnie.