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Meet an X-Sailor – Torben Kornum!

Thursday 9th May 2019

Meet an X-Sailor

A series of interviews, setting focus on the X-Sailor and the yachts behind them.


– Torben Kornum – The grand old man of windsurfing

Torben is participating in the Gold Cup on his X-40 – together with his daughter Julie Kornum, who also enjoys sailing at its fullest!

This time we have asked Torben Kornum a couple of questions;

  • Who: Torben Kornum, a former professional windsurfer and today the owner of Neilpryde Scandinavia
  • Boat: X-40 JULIE (#140) built in 2009/10
  • Homeport: Glyngøre (Limfjorden), Denmark
  • Primary sailing area: Limfjorden (Kattegat and the Archipelago in the summer)
  • Previous boats: X-102 and X-362 Sport

What is your background?
I made windsurfing for a living for 10 years back in the 80s and 90s, and part of the work was equipment development. The design, construction and detail were crucial to the success on the water, and what I learned in my professional career as a surfer also greatly influenced my choice of sailboat.

What is the most important thing for you in your choice of boat?
I want a boat that sails well. It should be able to convert the wind into speed and propulsion and accelerate instead of lying down. The hull should be rigid, and there has to be stability enough so that we – with a little trim – can get extra speed out of the boat if we want.

My family should feel good about it, both when we sail and are in port or mooring under anchor. And it has to be beautiful. I am enjoying every time I see my X-boat lying in a lovely harbour or moored under anchor at a peaceful place. I have been swimming around the X-40 many, many times on our summer holidays and I was delighted by the beautiful lines and look forward to each new day sailing it.

It sounds like you’re pretty happy about your X-40…?
I have to be honest to say I’m proud of my boat! I appreciate slipping into a harbour in a well-maintained X-40, knowing that other sailors recognize it. The choice of boat type often tells something about the owner, and I have to say that it matters to me. I am not the kind of guy who prioritises fancy watches or cars, but my sailboat shows that I am selective.

Why did you choose an X-Yacht?
It was a bit of a coincidence that we bought the X-102 at the time. I came directly from surfing and did not have much experience with sail boats, but I wanted an activity for the whole family. A good friend and experienced sailor recommended me to buy an X-Yacht, which was the beginning of 18 years (so far) as a happy X-Yacht owner.

In 2002 (if I remember correctly) I was crew on an IMX-38 at the Gold Cup in Marstrand. The event was a fantastic experience and was of great importance to my prioritization of boating in general. On my way out to one of the races in the Archipelago, I saw a brand new X-362 Sport and fell in love. The next day I contacted X-Yachts, and shortly after, I had ordered a new 362 Sport. The X-102 was sold to a happy Swede in Stockholm, with whom I still have contact. After six good years on the 362 Sport, I was offered pretty much the same price as I paid for it, so it was affordable to switch to the X-40. The X-40 is named after my daughter JULIE who is also a windsurfer.

There are probably many, but can you mention a good sailing experience you’ve had on your X-40?
Sailing holidays in a good boat is in itself a cornucopia of good experiences, but I have two extra memories from our family trips. One was on the X-362 Sport when my – at that time -12-year-old son Sebastian ruled for hours in light air, and I trimmed sails. In principle, we were “racing” with a few other boats a few hundred meters away, as you usually do – especially if you have a quick boat…

Sebastian sat completely still and concentrated at the steering wheel, and we spoke softly about wind pressure and wind shift, which we could see remotely – being our advantage while we trimmed. After a couple of hours, we moved from the other boat, and Sebastian said quietly without taking his eyes off the water: “Dad, I think we got him now …”

Today, Sebastian is 26 years old and a professional windsurfer. He has won the World Championship three times and also quite a few Danish and Nordic titles. He travels most of the year, and I hope that some day he will have time to sail a two-star race on the X-40 – or perhaps another X-model, who knows.

Another wonderful experience on the water was on the X-40 with my daughter Julie. We sailed from Anholt to Aarhus, where she lives, and the sun was shining warmly from a cloudless sky. With the gennaker set, we went 8-9 knots, while Julie enjoyed a good book in the sun, and I sat as the happiest father in the world and steered our boat. Julie also likes the X-40, and we often distribute the tasks, her taking the helm and I making the food.

Racing or pleasure?
The X-40 is almost exclusively used for cruising. Although we have equipped the boat for racing, including fine 3Di sails from North and a nice carbon wheel. I enjoy the extra feeling it gives with the boat, but I opt out of racing and the effort needed to gather a good crew and participate in major races.

My biggest achievement on the water – or at least one of those I am most proud of – is the Formula Windsurfing World Cup in 2011, where Sebastian and I won a class each. Okay, I won in the class for elderly gentlemen, but as far as I know, it has not happened before that father and son became world champions in the same windsurfing competition.

Among my best racing experiences on a sailing boat is the Norwegian distance race between Oslo and Færder lighthouse called “Færderseilasen. I was a crew onboard an Xp 50 with a good Norwegian / Danish crew. I have also had many good experiences in Asia, where I have sailed as a crew onboard a 52-foot carbon fiber racer with a 13 man professional crew.

In which direction does the wind blow your X-40 in 2019?
This year’s sailing holiday with the X-40 goes to the Gold Cup in Haderslev, where we participate in the family class. The atmosphere, the beautiful nature and the many sympathetic people will certainly be a good experience. Then, we let the wind and the weather decide the rest of the holiday, but I have a hope that we can visit Anholt on the way to the Swedish Archipelago as we have done many times before. On top of my bucket list is to sail out in the North Sea at Thyborøn and from there to Sørlandet in Norway. Probably not until next year..