Denmark SailGP Team presented by ROCKWOOL faces an uphill battle to make the overall Season 3 podium places following a disappointing first day of racing at the ITM New Zealand Sail Grand Prix in Christchurch.
The Danish boat – led by Nicolai Sehested – scored a 7, 8, 8 in the opening trio of races on Saturday following technical issues with its wingsail, which scuppered the momentum of the team as it attempted to make a play for the top three.
Sehested said: “It’s been a bad day for us as we felt good going onto the water, but we had issues with our wingsail all afternoon which made it very difficult to control the boat.”
“We had a good first part of the first race, and then the wing started to give us problems. We couldn’t really put any shape into the wing – then we just went backwards through the fleet from there.”
He continues: “We thought we got it fixed for the second race, but we just couldn’t control the boat well and had too much crashing. We need to look at the data, and figure out how much of it was controllable.”
The fleet faced an unfamiliar challenge of heading into racing without any practice days, after practice racing was postponed on Friday due to high breeze forecasted.
“It’s difficult going in cold with no racing, but also those training days are an opportunity to catch any problems or teething issues with the equipment,” explains Sehested.
“It’s of course impossible to say whether all our issues today would have shown up in practice though, and it’s the same for pretty much everyone, as only two boats got to train.
“No excuses – we didn’t sail well and we know we can do a lot better around the course and making decisions. We need to fix it and come back stronger tomorrow.”
The inaugural Sail Grand Prix in New Zealand saw the home team win the day, taking three straight podiums, including a race win.
Their success was cheered on by a bumper crowd lining Lyttelton Harbour as Pete Burling’s team put itself in pole position for an historic victory on home waters at the half-way point.