The grandstands sold out and fans filled the shoreline to watch the Rockwool Denmark Sail Grand Prix in Copenhagen today.
Light air conditions prevented racing from taking place yesterday, which meant there were three fleet races today, followed by the podium race on the Oresund.
Expectations were high for Driver Phil Robertson and the Canada SailGP Team with newcomer, Sarah Douglas onboard as Strategist. Sarah joins the team as part of the SailGP Women’s Pathway Programme, in tandem with her intense training for the 2024 Olympics. The team also announced in Copenhagen that wing trimmer Chris Draper's commitment to the team has been confirmed for the season.
The Canadian team sailed a solid first race today, managing to move up two places just meters from the finish line, to secure fourth place. Optimistic for race two, the team battled it out in the middle of the pack for most of the race yet challenging conditions meant a fifth place finish. In race three, despite an aggressive race strategy, the team struggled after a tough start and finished seventh holding onto fourth place on the overall leaderboard.
“We didn't get off the line in any of the races. We were sort of stuck in the pack which made for a tricky racetrack. I also think we struggled to find our rhythm. But that said, we are sailing the boat well. We are sailing it a lot better than we did in the first two events. But I think everyone in the fleet has gotten a lot better and that everyone has caught up. It’s tight racing. There are some areas that we improved on this week. Every minute you get on the F50 is valuable for a team like us that is new on the block. We had a lot of learning in the racing and training this week which we will take to Saint-Tropez and hopefully, come off the line a little better and be back to our normal selves,” said Phil Robertson.
Commenting on her debut with the team, Sarah Douglas said: “I’m always proud to represent Canada, no matter what class of boat. To have Canada on the start line and to be among the top nations in the sport is great. Before the Canada SailGP Team, I never thought there would be a professional path in sailing for me. It means a lot to the sport and for future generations in Canada.”
Changes in wind speed and direction, made for an unstable platform for all the teams today, but New Zealand, France and Denmark were solid from the start. New Zealand went on to win the event with four first place finishes, while France finished second and the home team, Denmark in third overall.
In addition to racing on the water, the Canada SailGP Team competes in the Impact League in the race for a better future together with partner OceanWise. Lasse Gustavsson (President and CEO) joined the team in Copenhagen and spoke at the Champions for Change conference. “Being here in Denmark, surrounded by athletes and partners who are also ocean advocates, I can’t help but feel a renewed optimism that we will have a flourishing ocean once again. Thank you, Canada SailGP Team for bringing OceanWise into the world of sailing.”
Next up for the team is the France Sail Grand Prix in Saint-Tropez on 10-11 September.