Denmark SailGP Team ended Friday’s Race Day 1 at the Australia Sail Grand Prix within touching distance of the overall podium, following a day of drama and incident in Sydney Harbour.
The Danes – led by Nicolai Sehested – sit in fourth spot in the overall rankings after the first day, following a consistent performance which saw them secure two fourth and a fifth placed finishes in tricky conditions.
“It was a fine first day in Sydney, not fantastic, but we are staying in touch with the podium spots,” said Sehested.
“We’ve shown that we have a pretty high bottom level, which is important. We didn’t actually sail that well today, but we are still pushing hard and in with a chance.”
He added: “One thing we’ve learned in SailGP is that you don’t win these regattas on day one, but you can definitely lose them. So we’re happy that we kept it pretty safe and sailed well today.”
In lighter conditions, the F50 put on a real spectacle in Sydney Harbour with tight racing and all teams sailing on the edge to squeeze and advantage in a highly competitive fleet.
“I think it shows just how tough SailGP is,” continued Sehested. “You can have a decent day and still finish in last place – and the level is only getting harder.”
“We had some good boat-on-boat racing today, but we need to be better off the line. I’m not sure we executed our starting strategy too well today, so we need to look at that, but if we can be better off the line tomorrow, then we’re looking pretty strong.”
Denmark SailGP Team fought hard to bounce back from last place in Race 1 to claim fourth spot – and started Race 2 in better shape with a well-timed start, before ending in fifth.
The day was not without drama though, as two teams – Great Britain SailGP Team and Japan SailGP Team – both in the running for the podium spots at this event, and in the season rankings, collided at the start line ahead of Race 3, and had to pull out of racing.
That left the course open for the hosts Australia and United States to claim the final two podium places, as the Spanish won the day.
Bigger breeze incoming
Race Day 2 is predicted to be a different affair, with bigger breeze set to fill in across the race course, and Sehested is determined to put on a show to and grab the team’s first ever overall podium place.
“Our focus now is the heavy winds tomorrow. It’s no secret that we haven’t sailed a lot in those conditions, and we need to do a better job than we did in Cádiz. We really need to be one of the better teams tomorrow.”
He added: “It’s tricky, as we don’t get many training days in heavy winds. You saw that last event in Cádiz, where we arrived in Day 2 with a chance of the podium and got our asses kicked by the breeze. But we have done a lot of work since then – debriefing and looking at the data. Now we just need to go and put it into practice on the race course.”