Former Japan driver Nathan Outteridge will replace Nicolai Sehested behind the wheel of the Danish F50 in Abu Dhabi, with Sehested missing the event on paternity leave.

Outteridge, who previously steered Japan to two season Finals, will step in for Sehested, who will remain in Denmark for the birth of his second child. Abu Dhabi will mark the first event Sehested has missed since joining the league in Season 2, but the team confirmed he will return to driving duties for the KPMG Australia Sail Grand Prix in Sydney on February 24-25.

Season 4 // Nicolai Sehested talks to press in the Mixed Zone

Speaking about his absence from this weekend’s event, Sehested said he was ‘delighted’ Outteridge had agreed to step in.

“In my opinion, he is one of the world’s top sailors, and he knows these boats and SailGP inside out,” he said. “Even though it’s always a tough decision to miss racing, especially as we are entering the business end of the season and sitting in the top spots in the SailGP Championship, I can’t think of a better set of hands to leave the helm of our boat in than Nathan’s.”

Outteridge joins the Danish team on loan from Switzerland - he joined the Swiss as sailing advisor and co-driver in Season 3. Despite this, Outteridge’s stint behind the wheel of ROCKWOOL DEN will mark his first time driving an F50 in almost 18 months. He previously drove the Swiss F50 at Season 3’s events in Denmark and France in 2022.

Season 4 // Nathan Outteridge leads WPP training event in Dubai

Outteridge described the offer to drive the Danish team as a ‘no brainer’. “It’s a great opportunity for me to come and drive a boat again in SailGP,” he said. “Nicolai is doing an awesome job leading this Danish team – and I’ve been very impressed by them so far this season. They’re a really tight-knit group, with plenty of banter and a fun but focused environment – definitely one of the teams to watch in the Season 4 championship.”

Season 4 // ROCKWOOL DEN flies around the mark on day one of the Italy Sail Grand Prix in Taranto

It comes after Australia driver Tom Slingsby missed Dubai due to being on paternity leave - handing the Aussie wheel over to former U.S. driver Jimmy Spithill instead. A series of driver reshuffles have also been announced across the fleet in recent events, with new U.S. driver Taylor Canfield debuting in Dubai and Giles Scott - Ben Ainslie’s replacement on board Emirates GBR - set to race for the first time this weekend.

The Mubadala Abu Dhabi Sail Grand Prix presented by Abu Dhabi Sports Council will take place on January 13-14, with racing scheduled to take place from 2pm GST on both days.