Denmark driver Nicolai Sehested reveals how the team went from bottom of the Impact League in Season 2 to kicking New Zealand out of top spot and winning the podium for the planet in Season 3.

Winning the Impact League was one of the goals we set as a team right at the beginning of Season 3 and it’s not something that happens unless you dedicate all your time and energy into it. We finished our first season in SailGP - Season 2 - in last place overall in the Impact League, so we knew we needed to make big changes to improve our ranking.

Season 3 // San Francisco Grand Final // Denmark win Impact League

In that first season, we were a brand new team to the league so we were new to the racing as well as the Impact League. It was difficult to be new to two different competitions and I think we were just out of time and energy when it came to the Impact League. This season we had full commitment and dedication from everyone on the team, as well as guidance of our partners ROCKWOOL and One Ocean Foundation.

I think you don’t get much more sustainable from a cultural point of view than a country like Denmark and a company like ROCKWOOL. Sustainability is in our DNA. The way we’ve been approaching sustainability for years in Denmark means we are able to pour that knowledge and passion into the Impact League. The Impact League gives you a voice and a platform to share the message, but the way the team works to protect our racecourse and the environment is not an ambition the Impact League has given us - it’s a passion we harness to succeed in the Impact League.

Season 3 // Denmark SailGP Team // Nicolai Sehested in between racing

Along with our partner One Ocean Foundation, we spent a lot of time just trying to do things the right way and finding ways to change the big things. But it’s not just about the big things - all the little things that add up too. I think that’s what we have done really well, we’ve done the small things very effectively and consistently, and that’s inspiring for others at home to make changes in their own lives. That includes everything from the way we travel, to cutting our waste on and off the water, and reducing our footprint in pretty much all areas of team operations.

Season 3 // San Francisco Grand Final // Season 3 Champions together

A pro sailing team is a bit like a company so there are a lot of things in the background that need to happen to get us on the water, and those innovations and reductions can add up in an 11 event season with a global calendar. All in all, we had a much better game plan heading into Season 3. We approached it with the same energy and vigor that we approach racing in SailGP – we set our strategy, put the focus in the right places, and made it happen.

Our initiative More Speed, Less Plastic was my favorite of the season. This is a ground-breaking initiative which takes the top speed reached at each event by both our team and the fastest team in SailGP, and diverts the equivalent amount of plastic pollution from the ocean. Every km per hour is equivalent to at least 10kg of waste - resulting in a total of more than seven tonnes of ocean bound waste diverted so far.

Season 3 // Denmark SailGP Team // Denmark underway in San Francisco

It’s something we’re doing that’s concrete and easy for fans and followers to follow - it’s relatable and fun. The Impact League is all about inspiring others and getting more people to take action, so if we’re removing plastic from the ocean and talking about how much waste we’re removing in a cool and different way, it might inspire people not to put it there in the first place.

It’s absolutely our plan to back up our Season 3 Impact League win by winning in Season 4 too. But winning the Impact League next season is going to be even harder and take even more effort. The level and commitment across the fleet is rising all the time, so all teams are going to have to work harder, but we’ll come out strong in Chicago to defend it.