Nicolai Sehested has admitted Denmark will be undertaking ‘a big debrief’ to investigate the the team’s ‘disastrous’ performance in Christchurch.
Heading into New Zealand, the Danes were in fifth place overall and within touching distance of securing a coveted place in San Francisco’s three-boat Season 3 Grand Final.
But a lackluster performance in in Christchurch resulted in a 7-8-8-7-8 racing record and eighth place finish, which means making the Final is now ‘almost impossible’, Sehested said.
“We went out in Christchurch trying to do a really good job, to keep fighting and keep catching, but the event has been a disaster for us and I think the Final is gone realistically,” he said. “Statistically it’s not, but realistically it’s pretty much gone.”
As a result, the team’s focus will shift from trying to secure a place in the season finale to preparing for Season 4, which kicks off in Chicago in June.
“We are going to use San Fran to try to get better, to get more skilled in windy conditions (..) and just get ready to fire hard for Season 4.”
Sehested revealed the team underwent an immediate debrief post-racing in Christchurch to ‘figure out why we couldn’t do almost anything right’.
He pointed to the cancellation of practice racing, which meant teams hit the waters of Lyttelton Harbour with no training and admitted the lack of preparation ‘didn’t suit us well’.
Denmark also experienced technical problems in the fourth fleet race, which meant a boundary penalty went unnoticed by the crew.
“We had to go from being in the lead to last because we just kept racing with a boundary penalty so that was a bit unlucky,” he said. However, he was honest that ‘we just weren’t pulling off the things we need to pull off’.
All efforts will now turn to digesting Christchurch and preparing for the Season 3 Grand Final in seven weeks. “If we show up and do the same kind of level then we’re going to get into trouble - I don’t have the answers right now but we’re going to have to find them,” Sehested said.