ROCKWOOL Denmark SailGP Team sits in joint sixth place in the SailGP standings at half-time – after a disappointing third race at the Mubadala Abu Dhabi Sail Grand Prix saw them drop five places in the overall event standings.
The Danish boat, helmed by stand-in driver Nathan Outteridge as Nicolai Sehested stays home in Denmark on paternity leave, scored a fifth, fourth and eighth place in light winds in Abu Dhabi – with the fleet struggling around the course in, often, non-foiling conditions.
Reacting to the action, Outteridge revealed it was the starts and the Mark 1 rounding that made all the difference on Day 1 – something that the team has been working on after a tricky Practice Day on Friday.
“It’s quite challenging, when you’re trying to take the round the outside approach,” he says. “There’s obviously fresh air at the windward end, but you had to roll the whole fleet to make it around.”
“We had a much better starting day today than we did yesterday, so some improvements, but we’re losing some spots around the track which is the frustrating part,” said Outteridge.
After the start, comes the famous Mark 1 turning mark – and with teams struggling for speed, hitting the mark in the right position became even more important.
“Being in the inside of the turn is critical, which is something that we haven’t really had at SailGP before. Normally, when you get to Mark 1, some options open up, whereas here, all the options closed. I think we got around in second in one race, so we’re pretty happy with that, and the others were maybe four or five, which is still in the game.”
Outteridge continues: “But for us, it was more about after Mark 2 the decision-making from there. We were very rarely moving forward, kind of moving back, that’s what we need to look at overnight to improve.”
He adds: “We’re not too far out of the hunt. I think in that last race, had we have been a little more patient on that last run, and just held our nerve and gone for the cross on GBR, we probably would be been three points better off. So every point counts here, and we’re ready for tomorrow.”
Racing continues at 14:00 local time in Abu Dhabi. Fans can head to sailgp.com/watch to discover how they can catch the action live in their market.