Åkervall talks to us about home, getting kicked out of school and playing jazz.
I live a little south of Stockholm really close to the water. So when I was about nine or ten my parents decided that I should learn to sail, or at least how to carry myself on the water, so I joined a sailing academy.
My dad used to play ice hockey and mum is a runner, I’m the first generation of sailor in my family. My little sister started sailing but to be honest she probably stopped because of me - I'm a bit too competitive.
Sailing is a big past time in Sweden, lots of people do it for pleasure, but its not a big sport.When I explain what I do for a living everyone thinks it’s pretty cool. I'm always traveling, it’s a little bit exotic and because it’s sailing people think it’s pretty glamorous – unfortunately that’s not always the case.
I only managed to complete a year at Stockholm School of Economics before I was kicked out.
If I wasn't a sailor I would like to think I would have become a musician. When I was 15 years old going into high school instead of following down the sailing route I almost went to a music academy. I play saxophone and was part of a big jazz band, I'm not sure if all the crew know that – the sax is a bit big to bring on tour.
Getting the call to say I had made the cut to be in the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup was probably one of my protest moments. There was a massive selection process, loads of guys entered it, so to get the call that I was in the team was amazing.
I think the first person I called was my mum. For everyone doing their sport as a hobby you always wish you could to do it professionally and the Youth America’s Cup gave me a little taste of this. But to get the call up for a second time, to work for the Artemis Racing team in the build up to the 35th America’s Cup - that is the dream, I can’t believe it happened.
Our RC44 crew is made up of the youth and the young at heart. Freddy [Freddy Lööf] is a really great guy and it’s amazing to have him as mentor to the team. Knocker [Rodney Ardern] our main trim is a legend, been around the world a couple of times, competed in a few America’s Cups, he's our experience. Then the rest of team is us youth guys, Andy is in the Pit - he runs the same hair programme as me - David Jonsson our grinder and Gustav Petterson on the bow.
We have all sailed together in the past too which is good and we have all come into the programme from similar paths. What Artemis offers youth sailors is really fantastic and hopefully one day we will be the ‘experience’ helping the next generation come through - we've got a few years yet though!