Will the Danish team be able to capitalize on the momentum from its first podium finish or will the pressure of racing in front of a home crowd steal its focus?
That’s the question SailGP’s international commentators Stevie Morrison, Todd Harris and Emily Nagel are asking ahead of the ROCKWOOL Denmark Sail Grand Prix, which gets underway in Copenhagen this weekend.
Morrison argued that the team’s third place finish in Plymouth would boost its confidence ahead of racing on home waters.
“They’ve got the belief in the team and that their routines, techniques and strategies do work,” he said. However, he admitted the ‘expectation and pressure at home’ could ‘weigh them down.’
“There’s got to be added pressure and expectations, and then you have all the media commitments - I think Denmark need to be open and honest about the pitfalls that presents,” he added.
Speaking to SailGP.com, driver Nicolai Sehested admitted that ‘it’s so easy to get distracted and carried away’ by home events but emphasised his determination to ‘stay focused’ on the racing.
Nagel agreed that ‘the pressure is on Denmark’s shoulders in their home event’, but argued the team would not be alone. “There will be a lot of teams out to prove themselves,” she said.
She pointed specifically to the British team, which would be looking to avenge narrowly missing out on a place in the Great Britain Sail Grand Prix Final. “They haven’t won an event in quite a long time now and they’re certainly a little sore after Plymouth,” Nagel said.
Morrison agreed that Great Britain ‘will be out firing’, while the Aussies will be looking to make a comeback after their five-strong winning streak was broken by New Zealand. The Kiwis too will be wanting ‘to prove it wasn’t just a flash in the pan’. “I’m sure for all nine teams, everything is still to play for,” Morrison said.
Harris agreed that the pressure will be on the Kiwis to ‘prove it wasn’t just a one-off’, arguing that anything other than a podium finish would be a ‘step backwards’.
However, he argued that the Danes just making the Final would be a positive result. “That’s a win because they’ll come through with at least seven season points,” he said.