Denmark SailGP Team presented by ROCKWOOL driver Nicolai Sehested wants to see a strong finish from his team as it prepares for the final racing of SailGP Season 2 next weekend.
The curtain will fall on an action-packed first year for the Danish team on 26-27 March as the SailGP fleet battles it out in San Francisco bay in the Mubadala United States Sail Grand Prix.
Australia, United States and Japan are in the hat to become the SailGP Season 2 Champions and take the $1 million dollar prize pot – but there’s plenty of adrenaline-fuelled action in store before that big winner-takes-all race.
And, as the Danish team rounds off its first full year of SailGP action, Sehested admits that although results have been mixed, his crew can take a lot of positives from its first taste of SailGP action.
Building solid foundations
“I think that overall we can be happy with our progress in our first season,” he says. “It takes a few events just to get used to the boat and the level – but we’ve actually reached the point now where, in the right conditions, we can go up against the top teams, and even beat them.”
He adds: “As athletes, we always put pressure on ourselves, and we want to win every race – but we understand that right now we do have an experience deficit, and that it takes time to build with solid foundations.
“We generally look strong in the lighter stuff, as that’s what we’ve raced in the most, but when it comes to big breeze, we do still have a weak spot. We are losing points in those conditions, and we need to improve.
“We’re looking forward to getting some good days of practice under our belts in San Francisco, where hopefully we’ll get some wind, before going racing next weekend.”
First time in American waters
The United States Sail Grand Prix is the first time that the Danish team has raced in American waters, and it lines up for the final racing of Season 2 sitting in seventh spot in the rankings – just three points behind Great Britain SailGP Team, led by Sir Ben Ainslie.
“This is probably the most decorated and skilled fleet ever seen in the sport of sailing, so as one of the newer teams, it’s always difficult to get up to speed with those who have years of racing in these boats, but I think that we’ve held our own in most of the events this year,” continues Sehested.
“It’s not easy out there, even for the most experienced teams. Look at Australia SailGP Team – they’re the reigning champs, they go into San Francisco in top spot, but even they’ve finished last in two Sail Grand Prix this season. It just shows the level that we are all performing at, and how demanding and relentless this competition can be.”
“We’ve been quite consistent in our performances, but we need to find our top gear more, and stay there – and that’s where teams like the Aussies have the edge on us at the moment. We hope to do that in San Francisco next weekend.”
New faces join the team
Ahead of the racing in San Francisco, the Danish team has expanded its talent pool – bringing some new faces to the USA, including Denmark’s two-time Olympian Christian Peter Lübeck.
“We are always looking for new talent, and to expand our pool of athletes in SailGP – and CP brings a lot of experience and a new perspective from the Olympic world and sailing the Nacra 17,” said Sehested.
Grinders Mac Agnese (USA) and Julius Hallström (SWE) will also join the team for training ahead of the event on the west coast.
Excitement building for Season 3
Looking ahead to Season 3, which kicks off in Bermuda in May 2022, Sehested revealed that his team has lofty ambitions both on and off the water.
“We’ve had our highs, and we’ve had our lows, but the key thing is that we are identifying our weak points and learning – and that’s all we can ask for now.
“With the continued support of our fantastic partner ROCKWOOL, we will take those learnings into Season 3, and we’re excited to get underway – more cities, more teams, a fantastic home event with the ROCKWOOL Sail Grand Prix in Copenhagen, and hopefully more highlights on the water, too.”
He adds: “It would be fantastic to finish the season in style and show what we can do in San Francisco to really set up Season 3 for us.”