ROCKWOOL Denmark SailGP Team has joined forces with Royal Danish Yacht Club (KDY) to launch a new youth foiling initiative aimed at forging the Danish foiling stars of the future.
The collaboration sees the SailGP Season 3 Impact League champions Denmark re-affirm their commitment to investing in youth and creating pathways for the next generation, and will include the launch of a Danish youth mixed foiling team, to compete against some of the best young talents in Europe, in one of the sport’s most iconic venues.
Youth racing on the European stage
As part of the collaboration, ROCKWOOL and Royal Danish Yacht Club (KDY) will compete in the European Dream Cup 2023 under the Danish flag, with some of Denmark’s top youngsters racing on Lake Garda in 69F foiling boats.
The European Dream Cup, an event organised by Circolo Vela Gargnano to promote connection among young people through the sport of sailing, takes place from 1-15 July and features 10 yacht clubs from 10 nations. In addition to KDY, the regatta will feature teams the likes of Portugal, Spain, Germany, the Netherlands and the host, Italy.
“Since the start of this project, we have been committed to building the next generation of foiling talent in Denmark – and it’s been a big focus of our Impact League efforts in the past two seasons, too,” said Nicolai Sehested, driver of ROCKWOOL Denmark SailGP Team.
“The European Dream Cup project is a super cool initiative and a fantastic way for young sailors all over the continent to go foiling in high-performance boats, so we’re delighted to be able to make this happen alongside KDY and ROCKWOOL.”
He continues: “I think that Denmark is lucky to have a mixed young team entering this competition, and it will help us to build a new generation of foilers, capable of flying the Danish flag in competitions like SailGP in the future. “
“We know that there is an experience gap back home in these kind of boats, so this is a really exciting development. All of us at ROCKWOOL Denmark SailGP Team are looking forward to supporting the initiative and following the racing this summer.”
The European Dream Cup is built on three core values: inclusion, sustainability and technology and is open to young athletes aged between 13 and 18. Anne Sofie Munk-Hansen, Commodore at KDY, said: “We are delighted to launch this youth team, which will see Denmark racing against a host of other European countries in an exciting foiling competition this summer.”
“The 69F boats are fast and very cool – and our KDY talents are excited to go foiling and to learn from some of the best in the world, thanks to Denmark SailGP Team and ROCKWOOL.”
The 69F boats are one design and built by Persico Marine. The foiling boats are 6.90m long, and equipped with a fully battened square-top mainsail, a fully battened jib and a gennaker totaling a sail area of 69 m2 (39 m2 upwind) with only 380 kg all-up weight.
Creating a foiling pathway in Denmark
As part of the initiative, the ROCKWOOL Denmark SailGP Team athletes will be delivering coaching and mentoring sessions to the young sailors from all over Denmark.
Last month, the ROCKWOOL Denmark SailGP Team hosted the ROCK The Boat Academy in Copenhagen, for the fourth consecutive year giving Denmark’s top young foilers expert coaching from some of the sport’s top professional athletes. The camp gave the young sailors a chance to race on the team’s ETF26 (Easy To Fly) catamarans. The Danish team has two of the boats as part of a new programme designed to give the SailGP athletes even more opportunities to train and upskill outside of events.
The boats – which also compete in the ETF Series – will mainly be used for training in Denmark, but could also see the athletes compete in some regattas within the next 12 months.
“One of the biggest challenges in SailGP is the lack of time on the water – and so we’re always looking at other classes to help us improve our team work, communication and foiling skills – and keep us sharp on the water,” said Sehested.
“The reality is that, even at the top of the sport, foiling is still so new that we are all learning every time we go sailing. The ETF boats are small foiling catamarans, in some basic ways similar to the F50, but much easier to operate and run for training purposes, so we are looking forward to testing out our skills this summer as we enter Season 4 of SailGP.”
The new season of SailGP kicks off on 16-17 June in Chicago, where ROCKWOOL Denmark SailGP Team will compete against the best sailors on the planet in the ROLEX United States Sail Grand Prix. To watch the action, check out sailpg.com/watch
For more info on the European Dream Cup, head to europeandreamcup.eu