ROCKWOOL Denmark SailGP Team bounced back from a dramatic collision in the first start of the ITM New Zealand Sail Grand Prix to complete three races on Sunday – as hometown heroes New Zealand SailGP Team took the honours on home waters.

The team – led by Nicolai Sehested – sustained damage to the port bow during the Race 1 start on Sunday, but after an on-water assessment, the boat was given the go ahead to continue racing by the SailGP Tech Team.

And, despite visible damage, the team heroically completed Races 2 and 3 – clawing back positions and vital points on the rest of the fleet to finish eighth and sixth place in the final two races.

“It’s a low point, but I’m proud of the team for staying focused and pushing hard after such a tough start to the day,” explains Sehested.

Never give up

On the incident, Sehested explains: “It’s frustrating and unfortunate – thankfully, no-one was injured. There was an issue with the telemetry, so we didn’t know Canada was there until it was too late – they didn’t show up on our wing screen.”

Season 4 // ROCKWOOL DEN underway in practice racing in Christchurch

Sehested continues: “As soon as we had been assessed and were given the green light to race, we went for it – we knew we were going to be late for the Race 2 start and it would be an uphill battle, but we were thinking about San Francisco. You just never know which point might make the difference.”

As the windward boat, ROCKWOOL Denmark was awarded eight event penalty points, and four season penalty points, for its role in the incident - a precedent set by the penalty awarded for Emirates Great Britain SailGP Team’s collision with Spain SailGP Team in practice racing.

Season 4 // New Zealand, Australia and ROCKWOOL DEN in the Sydney Final

The dramatic incident was not the only action of the day – as pre-racing Season Championship leaders Australia SailGP Team were also eliminated from the competition in the opening race, after a collision with a mark as they tried to avoid Canada SailGP Team saw them sustain serious damage to the boat.

Still in the game

With a sixth and two eighth placed finishes, ROCKWOOL Denmark took ninth spot overall in Christchurch – dropping from third to fifth place in the overall Season 4 ranking. Five points separate them from the all-important podium spots with four events remaining.

New Zealand SailGP Team took the plaudits in front of a record-breaking crowds – and now sit top of the Season Championship following Australia’s points deduction.

“It’s been an event to forget for us – we’ve come a long way to go racing and we felt really strong going into this one,” admits Sehested. “But, we still have events remaining to put this right – and that’s our full focus right now. We will take the learnings and will be back in Bermuda, focused on taking back some points on the rest of the fleet.”

Starts November

Season 4 Grand Final