One week ahead of the SailGP Season 3 opener in Bermuda, Denmark SailGP Team presented by ROCKWOOL has unveiled a new-look, mixed athlete roster with added international firepower, and an expanded talent development pool of Danish Olympic stars.
The team – which raced its first SailGP season in 2021-22, finishing sixth overall in the global racing championship – will add Luke Payne (AUS), Julius Hallström (SWE), plus Danish Olympic team athlete C.P. Lubeck to its roster for Season 3.
“I’m excited to reveal this young, talented and ambitious team ahead of our second season in SailGP,” says Nicolai Sehested.
“We’ve been focused on building a world-class, mixed squad with depth, and solid international experience, to complement the best young Danish talent. I’m confident that this team can achieve great things in Season 3.”
Added firepower with international experience
Both Payne and Hallström bring a wealth of match-racing experience to the Danish team, having competed in the America’s Cup, GC32 Racing Tour and World Match Racing Tour between them.
Payne, who hails from Fremantle, Australia, raced with Japan SailGP Team in Season 2 and has previously competed in the America’s Cup with NYYC American Magic.
“For me, Luke is one of the best grinders in the world, so to add him to our team is a massive coup. He has been around for many years and has a lot of experience at the top of the industry, so he will come in with new ways of doing things and help us to improve,”
“I’ve sailed with Luke in the past, I know him well, and I know his personality will fit into our group. That’s important – you have to have a good mix of personalities, of people who will perform and have each other’s backs in good and bad times, and Luke is one of those.”
And Hallström, who previously raced with Red Bull Racing in the GC32 Racing Tour and competed in the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup in 2017, became a race winner in San Francisco in March, after jumping on board the Danish boat for the final Sail Grand Prix of the season.
“Julius is half Danish, half Swedish, and is probably one of the strongest Vikings you can find. He is probably the fittest athlete in SailGP, and he’s just a machine from top to toe, so he will be a fantastic asset to us.”
The pair will add increased firepower to the Danish ranks as Lars-Peter Rosendahl steps out of the team after competing in Season 2.
A focus on talent development
The addition of Lübeck, who has competed for Denmark in the last two Olympic Games, signifies a renewed focus on talent development for the Danish team.
“From the start of this project, we have had two aims,” adds Sehested. “The first, is to win SailGP. I believe that we are on track for that after our first season in this league – as we showed in San Francisco, we are challenging the big teams, even in their own backyards, and with a bit more consistency we can be a real threat.”
He continues: “The second, is to develop Danish foiling talent and create and inspire the next-generation of SailGP athletes. We have already added Anne-Marie (Rindom) and Katja (Salskov-Iversen) ahead of Season 2, and CP joins our ranks with a view on developing his skills in the F50.”
“CP is one of the best foiling sailors we have in Denmark, and a very smart guy. He has spent many years racing on the Olympic circuit, and now makes the step into SailGP – it’s a whole new world, but just like Katja and Anne-Marie, I’m sure that he will pick it up quickly.
“Our ambition is to forge the best Danish sailing team we can, and so we need to keep identifying the best talent, and creating opportunities to succeed in SailGP. Having Katja and Anne-Marie in the team has been fantastic, and they have proven that females can take on the F50 and can hold their own in SailGP. We are focused on building that talent pool even further in Season 3.”
“We want to disrupt the status quo”
With Season 3 on the horizon, Sehested admits that there are expectations on the Danish team – but adds that the pressure helps.
“We see ourselves as a team that is in the fight for the podium spots,” he continues. “That does add pressure, but this is sport, and pressure is what you need to drive forward. The pressure starts with ourselves, and our own expectations.”
Sehested adds: “The characteristics of this team are hard-working, fun, young and fresh, with a lot of hunger to go and perform well enough to challenge the most experienced teams in SailGP.
“We want to disrupt the status quo. We have shown that, in the right conditions, we can beat any team in SailGP – we just need to do it more consistently. That starts in Bermuda.”
Denmark SailGP Team presented by ROCKWOOL – Season 3 crew
Nicolai Sehested (DEN) – Driver
Rasmus Køstner (DEN) – Flight Controller
Tom Johnson (DEN/AUS) – Wing Trimmer
Hans-Christian Rosendahl (DEN) – Grinder
Luke Payne (AUS) – Grinder
Julius Hallström (SWE) – Grinder
Martin Kirketerp (DEN) – Grinder
Katja Salskov-Iversen (DEN) – Development Athlete
Anne-Marie Rindom (DEN) – Development Athlete
C.P. Lubeck (DEN) – Development Athlete