SailGP returns to Italy for the first time in two years this weekend, as the ROCKWOOL Italy Sail Grand Prix lines up in Taranto.
The spectacle will see 10 teams go into battle in the shadow of the iconic Castello Aragonese in the City of Two Seas, as the second of a three-part European triple header gets underway.
ROCKWOOL is the title partner of the event, and with no Italian team in SailGP, the ROCKWOOL Denmark SailGP Team is the “home” favourites as the fleet hits the water in Puglia.
“Taranto is a fantastic place to go racing, and somewhere we have fond memories of,” admits Nicolai Sehested, driver of the Danish boat.
“We are really looking forward to getting back there, as we remember last time thousands of fans lining the sea wall to cheer on the action. We hope there might be a few honorary Danes in the crowd this time!”
The Denmark SailGP Team is certainly winning some positive reviews so far in SailGP Season 4. After three events, the black boat sits in third spot overall – and narrowly missed out on a podium spot in the previous event in Saint-Tropez despite looking dominant all weekend.
“The result at France Sail Grand Prix was really hard to take – probably one of the toughest days we’ve had as a team so far,” explains Sehested.
“It hurts when you feel you are racing fast and look consistent, and then you throw it away in the last manoeuvre of the weekend. But we have to learn from it and move on – we’re lucky that we can get straight back on the horse in Italy.”
New Zealand SailGP Team, which suffered a dramatic wing collapse after racing on the French Riviera, will not race in Taranto.
Aside from the action on the water, there is plenty of activity around the city, as the SailGP festival rolls into town.
ROCKWOOL has been working closely with its Race For The Future partner One Ocean Foundation, SailGP and the Comune di Taranto to deliver a broad range of projects which will leave a positive legacy in the city.
They include the first ever ROCKWOOL Impact Summit, held at the City Hall in Taranto on Friday 22 September; the commissioning of a large-scale SailGP-inspired mural on Via Lago di Monticchio; an ocean health-focused photo exhibition between La Rotonda and the Monumento al Marinaio in the heart of the city; and one of the largest Inspire programmes ever delivered by SailGP.
Consisting ocean science workshops and plankton analysis, the Inspire programme, a joint venture between SailGP Inspire, One Ocean Foundation and ROCKWOOL, will see more than 350 local school kids attend the SailGP site for the experience.
“We’re excited that ROCKWOOL has been able to put together this fantastic programme of activity in Taranto,” adds Sehested. “It’s important to us as we really want to use our platform to connect to as many people as possible to discuss these important issues such as climate change and ocean health – especially the next generation.
He continues: “As Impact League champions, we know that we have a responsibility to use our voice and share the things we have learned over the years racing on the ocean all over the world. With the collaboration of our great partners, SailGP and the Comune di Taranto, we’re able to leave a really strong legacy in the city long after the fleet has left.”
Fans can discover when and where to tune into the live action in their market by heading to sailgp.com/watch.