ROCKWOOL Denmark SailGP Team took a memorable win in the final action of Race Day 1 in Taranto, as the ROCKWOOL Italy Sail Grand Prix kicked off in big breeze in front of the iconic Castello Aragonese.
The Danes – who are racing a ‘home’ event in Italy, as title partner ROCKWOOL takes naming rights to the Sail Grand Prix – scored a sixth, a third and a first to leave themselves in a strong position to make the final on Sunday.
“We’re happy – especially with that last race,” admits Nicolai Sehested, driver for the Danish boat. “We’re not getting carried away, but we wanted to be in the mix at half-time, and that’s where we’ve ended up.”
The Danish boat has historically struggled in big breeze, so Sehested and his team took the opportunity to put in a few intense warm-up laps before the first race, to the delight of the crowds lining the seawall in Taranto.
“It was a bit hectic at first, but we were really keen to get more experience in these conditions, so it was super valuable for us,” he continues. “We were ripping around the bay before the races, so we knew we could handle the challenge ahead.”
Race 1 saw Denmark struggle over the start, but show consistent speed gains and strong decision-making to claw back a respectable sixth place – taking an advantage on Germany SailGP Team after a close battle on the final lap of the race.
A podium in Race 2 kept Danish hopes alive, before an almost pitch perfect Race 3 scored the Danes their second race win of the season.
The final rankings from Race Day 1 have Emirates GBR sitting in first spot – with Australia SailGP Team tied on points – and France SailGP Team two points behind. Denmark sits in fourth, just three points behind the leaders.
Sunday’s forecast is an altogether different challenge, with light winds and tricky conditions set to puzzle the fleet.
“We will debrief today and then put it to bed – we survived the first day, and now we have to focus on tomorrow, which will be a different game,” says Sehested.
“We have to thank ROCKWOOL for the amazing support today, which we could hear from the grand stand and the boats on the water. Tomorrow, we hope to go and put on a show for them – and make sure we grab a spot in the final.”