King Harald V of Norway Competes in The World Cup Sailing Regatta in Geneva

King Harald V of Norway participates in sailing regatta

We are indeed at the peak of the summer season as Royals of Europe showed us life on the sea! The stunning view of the ocean, hot summer sun, gusty wind, and billowing waves are sights to behold as some European royals embarked on sailing races.

While The Duchess of Cambridge, who participated in the sailing race with SailGP and Sir Ben Ainslie, was on a friendly match in Plymouth, His Majesty, King Harald V of Norway, participated in the competitive sailing race in the World Cup Sailing Regatta last month.

King Harald V of Norway participates in sailing regatta
King Harald V and his crew aboard the sailboat, Sira
© Norwegian Royal Court

Sailing World Cup 2022

The Norwegian king, 85, who is a keen sportsman and sailor, competed in the 8-meter Sailing World Cup in Geneva Sailing Regatta in the last week of July.

King Harald V of Norway participates in sailing regatta
King Harald V and his crew during the Sailing Regatta in Geneva
© Norwegian Royal Court

His Majesty and his crew aboard his boat, "Sira", sailed through the high sea and on the border between Switzerland and France, the king and his crew finished in 10th place. 

His Majesty was the Skipper or the Captain for Sira during the tournament. A Skipper, according to Uksa Org, is a person who has command of a boat or watercraft and is more or less equivalent to a captain in charge of a ship. 

King Harald V of Norway participates in sailing regatta
The king and his crew finished 10th place, Her served as a skipper for Sira
© Norwegian Royal Court

According to the Norwegian Royal Court on instagram:

"It's been long days for the crew with up to seven hours on the water straight, and in some varying placements, but with a good last day, "Sira" climbed into the top 10 by a point margin".

King Harald V of Norway participates in sailing regatta
The King on high sea aboard Sira with his crewmates
© Norwegian Royal Court 

Sira has been King Harald V's sailboat in the sailing races. It was originally owned by his father, King Olaf V, and was built in 1938, even before Olaf V, who was born Prince Alexander of Denmark, ascended the Norwegian throne.

The top ten placement was a good finish for the 85-year-old Skipper king, despite the bad start of his boat, they managed to finish 10th among the 26 participants. 

The other Norwegian boat, “If,” with Tom Knutsen as Captain, finished in 14th place. After the competition, the king received high praises for his sailing skills.

The Sailor King

During sailing events, His Majesty dressed casually, just like other sailors: sneakers, white socks, shorts, a bull cap, and a matching white T-shirt. 

King harald V competes in the sailing regatta
The King during the 2016 Sira Cup International Sailing Competition

While aboard his sailboat Sira, His Majesty just goes by the name, Harald. But his crew addressed him as His Majesty when not in competition in the high sea. 

As a Skipper, he is just one of the boys, and at the helm looking for ways to win the race. However, it was not all smooth sailing for the king, who has been on the Norwegian throne for 30 years now.

In one sailing event, His Majesty was knocked unconscious in one notorious sailing accident, an incident his crew refers to as the time the King of Norway nearly abdicated.

Usually, when he is in the competition, he just sleeps on his sailboat, just like in 2016 when he and his crew participated in the Sira International Sailing Cup in Toronto, Canada.

“I’ve raced all my life. You can’t stop playing, you know. The first time I was on this boat I was two years old. For me, with sailing, it’s about the competition. The wind — the weather — it doesn’t make any difference who you are, before the wind", said The King in 2016 Sira Cup

King Harald V of Norway participates in sailing regatta
The King also participated in many World Championships in sailing

Inspiration to aspiring sailors

His Majesty proved that he has still the grit and groove of a competitive sailor despite his prime age and mobility issues. Recently, the Norwegian king is using a walking stick to support his mobility.

However, it did not stop him from participating in this year's Sailing Regatta in Geneva, which saw 26 participants competing in the said event.

“He really gave the younger sailors tough competition. It was fun to watch,” Jean Olivier Kerr, head of the event committee, told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK). “He has a strong competitive instinct. He is not here just to enjoy himself and have fun.”

King Harald V has been into competitive sailing even before he ascended the Norwegian throne. He was a three-time Olympian competing in the sailing event.

He became a Crown Prince of Norway in 1957 upon the death of his grandfather, Haakon V, and his father ascended the throne as Olaf V.

He represented Norway in the sailing event in 1964, 1968, and 1972 Olympic Games. He was also a medalist in the World Championships sailing event. He won World Championship with his sailing crew in 1982 (silver), 1987 (gold), and 1988 (bronze). 

In July 2005, he won gold with his crew at the European Championships in Sweden. He came in sixth during the 2007 World Championships.

Per Christian Bordal, general secretary of the Norwegian Sailing Association, in NRK, was all praises for His Majesty. "We at Norwegian sailing are very grateful that the king is active even at the age of 85",

"Sailing can be performed in many ways, we have so many different types of boats. And in the 8-meter class, energetic 85-year-olds can also participate and assert themselves. So it’s really fun to be with the king", Bordal said.

Bordal describes King Harald as a great ambassador for the sport. He believes the king, with his many years of sailing experience, still has good chances to assert himself in the World Cup in the 8-meter class.

When King Harald and his crew aboard the “Sira” participated in the World Championships for 8-meters in Germany four years ago, they finished in third place.

King Harald V escorted his granddaughter, Princess Ingrid Alexandra during her 18th birthday gala dinner, which he hosted. © Norwegian Royal Court

King Harald V also echoed his love for sailing and sports during the 18th birthday gala dinner for his granddaughter, Princess Ingrid Alexandra. When he gave a speech, he also shared a piece of advice to the princess:

"Don’t forget to play! At least I had a good experience there. I play, as you know, most and best at sea. And fortunately, you prospered there as well", said the king.

Source: © NTB Scanpix /Norway Today

Other Sailor Kings

King Harald V is not the only sailor king in Europe who participated in the Summer Olympics. King Felipe VI of Spain and his father, King emeritus Juan Carlos also represented Spain in the sailing event in the Olympics. Juan Carlos in the 1960 Rome Olympics while Felipe in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics.

King Felipe VI of Spain competes in sailing regatta
King Felipe VI of Spain is also an Olympian sailor

King emeritus Juan Carlos loves this sports so much that he even returned to Spain in May this year from his self-imposed exile just to participate in the sailing event. 

King Juan carlos of spain competes in sailing regatta
King emeritus Juan Carlos of Spain participated in the Sailing Regatta in May 2022

The King emeritus participated in the Sailing Regatta in Galicia aboard his sailboat, El BribonHe also won the World Championships classic boat competition in 2019.

King Constantine II of Greece
Constantine II while still Crown Prince won gold during the 1960 Rome Olympics

Constantine II, former King of Greece, represented Greece while still Crown Prince in the 1960 Rome Olympics in the sailing event. He and his crew won gold. He was one of the awardees in Greece during that year as Athlete of the Year. 

King Felipe VI of Spain competes in sailing regatta
King Felipe VI as a skipper during the Sailing Regatta in Mallorca

In the current generation of royals in Europe, although most of them are into sports, none followed the sailor kings into the sailing sports competing in the Olympics.

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