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Meet our new team members!


We're proud to introduce our two new ambitious teams into the Magic Marine family; Carlos Robles & Marco Soffiatti Grael representing Brazil in the 49er class and Odile van Aanholt & Nicole van der Velden rocking the 49erFX for Aruba.




We're proud to introduce two new ambitious teams into the Magic Marine family; Carlos Robles & Marco Soffiatti Grael representing Brazil in the 49er class and Odile van Aanholt & Nicole van der Velden rocking the 49erFX for Aruba. Both teams started training together only a few months ago and have just finished their first events. In Palma both teams managed to earn themselves a place in the medal race and scored a 10th place overall. We're curious to find out what their thoughts are about changing classes, switching crew and nationalities and what it's like to be part of a big sailing family.

Carlos Robles & Marco Soffiatti Grael
Odile van Aanholt & Nicole van der Velden

You both managed to earn yourselves a top ten spot at your first big event. That's pretty amazing! Since when have you been sailing together?

Nicole: "We managed to get four weeks of training in before we started racing. We did a training regatta just before the Trofeo Princesa Sofía IBEROSTAR and we participated in the events themselves. We came 2nd and 10th in these two events which really made us want to keep going. In Hyères, at our first World Cup together, we manage to come 6th! So actually it went pretty well and we're going to continue the big challenge of finding sponsors and partners and start our Olympic campaign."

Carlos: "In November we sailed for three weeks together as a try-out. Marco got in touch with me through Facebook. Because my mum is from Brazil he asked me if I would be interested to sail with him in the 49er. I decided to book a flight to Brazil and we just started to see how things worked out. In January we trained for another three weeks in Cadiz, Spain. We sailed for two or three months in total, including one small regatta in Brazil, which felt more like match racing with Robert (Robert Scheidt & Gabriel Borges) and it was all about getting the communication on board right. Sailing European style is quite different from Marco his South American so we used the first three months mainly to adapt and to create a strong and solid base."

"On Palma we had 60 boats in our fleet instead of two, so we really had no idea what to expect. We hoped to reach the gold fleet and are are really happy with our tenth place!"

Carlos, how does it feel to sail for Brazil now? 

Carlos: "My whole family is in love with Brazil and my mother her family lived there for 50 years, so it feels special to represent their country. Since we sailed well at our first event we luckily get help now from the federation and we can train together with the other Brazilian team so that's really nice."

Carlos Robles & Marco Soffiatti Grael
Carlos Robles & Marco Soffiatti Grael

Nicole, how is it for you to sail with a girl after having sailed in a mixed Nacra17 crew for the last four years?

Nicole: "To be honest I was quite terrified about the idea of this at first. It’s really different in a lot of ways but makes for a lot of laughs and good times. And I am quite happy to have found Odile as a partner! Giving up the helm is quite hard but Odile might be the only person I fully trust to do this and I’m more than happy crewing for her! Marco, would you try a mixed crew if you got to sail with a fantastic capable girl? Your sister Martine maybe?"

Marco: "I actually sailed with Martine once when we were small! We were together in a Laser and we sailed faster than my dad (Torben Grael) and Robert (Robert Scheidt). It was an amazing feeling to see them rounding the mark behind us."

Marco, is there extra pressure coming from such a big sailing family? 

Marco: "The biggest pressure comes from other people expecting us to do the same as dad. They always saw us as the kids of Torben Grael. Since Martine won gold at the Olympics in Rio this has changed, now Torben is the father of Martine. The fact that he stopped racing also helped. On the other hand, having grown up with traveling and sailing and being around water all the time was really great. Sailing has always been fun for us because we were always around water and my mum would do a lot of non-sailing stuff with us, when my dad was competing. We were always exploring and that's still how we live our lives now that we're racing ourselves."

Odile van Aanholt & Nicole van der Velden
Odile van Aanholt & Nicole van der Velden

Nicole and Odile, the 49er FX is new to both of you, how different is it from the boat you sailed before? 

Nicole: "I’ve been sailing on the Nacra17 as a helm for the past three years, so crewing already makes it a whole lot different for me as I’ve suddenly gone to a really physical job. Also the 49er FX is quite a dynamic and unstable boat compared to the Nacra 17. It’s slower, but because you're closer to the water it really doesn’t feel that way."

Carlos: "I sailed a 29er before, but also sailed on the Nacra17 for a Month when Iker Martinez was injured. I think that boat is a lot faster!" 

Odile: "I've sailed a lot of different types of boats because I felt that it would make me more diverse and capable as a sailor. Single handed sailing always makes for a smooth sail because you’re all by yourself but it's also a lot less fun. The last boat I sailed was the a 29er, which is similar to the FX. I definitely prefer the FX though because of the speed and high-level fleet."

Marco: "I sailed many boats before, from Optimist to Sniper, Tornado and Catamaran. I enjoyed sailing faster boats a lot. We were at the point of setting up a campaign in the Tornado but with my focus on uni at the same time I didn't have enough time to train as much as was needed. I chose to keep focusing on uni and do some lower profile sailing in Lasers and some match racing. Match racing is huge in Brazil and we have a strong group of sailors which helped me to improve my tactics, starts and knowledge of sailing rules. After University, in 2009, Andrea Fonseca invited me to come sailing in the 49er and I have never stopped since."

"I finished 11th at the games in Rio together with Gabriel Borges. We didn't feel good after the Games though, it felt we hadn't sailed well but we still finished 11th. Mentally we were tired of each other and we both needed something new. For me it was a good step forward to go crewing after having been on the helm for many years. Especially on the 49er, where crewing is quite a physical challenge."

Odile adds: "To be honest Nicole and I are pretty lucky to have found each other on a small island like Aruba, it works very well. Nicole is really athletic which is a key aspect on a boat like the FX, which is something I can still work on (laughs...). You guys obviously have spend a lot of hours on the boat so some tips to be less clumsy and faster would be much appreciated!" 

Marco: "Especially on a 49er you feel like an elephant in a China shop when you loose focus and when you're not at one with the boat. You really need the will to adapt, become a good team and be at one with the boat. That's the most important thing." 

Carlos Robles & Marco Soffiatti Grael

Carlos, you've been part of the Magic Marine family for a while. How did you get involved? 

"I won the Dutch Youth Regatta in Workum in 2009, the last year that I sailed in the Optimist class. Because I won that event I received a price from Magic Marine and that's where it all started! With just that one prize. In the 29er I continued to work with the brand and won three World Championships. When I started sailing the 49er I didn't achieve any results but they always kept supporting me, even in the bad times. I really appreciate that. And lately their gear is evolving a lot. It's getting better and better, which is really awesome!"

Marco: "I'm very happy to be part of Team Magic Marine. We're now training on Lake Garda and I never feel cold in the water whatever kind of weather it is and that's really something! I never had that before. I was always borrowing things from others to stay warm. If you have restricted budget you have to make choices like whether you want to buy a warm outfit or a new sail that makes you go faster. Now that we have gear that protects us from the elements and keeps us comfy and warm we can make wiser decisions." 

Nicole: "So true! The whole team gets geared up right from the start, we're warm and we look good on the water and we love wearing our matching Energy rashpants! Oh, and we're trying to win this month's prize for best dressed Magic Marine team riders:-) It was super nice to meet a part of the Magic Marine team on Palma, they made us feel right at home!"

Do you want more information about our team riders or products? We're more than happy to help. Please contact our Team Manager Linda Bomhof at

Photo credits: Sailing Energy

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