Denmark SailGP Team presented by ROCKWOOL finished the opening event of SailGP Season 2 in sixth place following an action-packed race weekend at Bermuda Sail Grand Prix.
The team – led by Nicolai Sehested – ends the first clash of the new season with 21 points after five races which saw tight battles across the fleet, dramatic nosedive incidents and a two-boat collision that saw the Japanese and American teams retire from Race Day 2, before Ben Ainslie’s Great Britain SailGP Team took home the honours on the Great Sound in a nail-biting final race with Australia and France.
Reflecting on his team’s time on the island, Sehested explained that, in general, he is positive with the level of progress shown since the last SailGP event in Sydney, back in February 2020.
“Bermuda, for us, was always about getting back out on the water, and we have been doing that – we are improving, but we are keen to get results more quickly,” he said.
“We know we need to be patient, but it’s still frustrating at times. I think we’re aware of where we’re lacking in terms of performance, and we’re trying to improve as quickly as possible, but it’s not just about identifying issues and fixing them – it takes time, because that’s done out on the water. It’s about skills, experience and fine-tuning the movements on the boat.”
Despite going into Race Day 1 with less than 40 hours sailing onboard its foiling F50 catamaran, Denmark SailGP Team did show some signs of progress during their five races – bouncing back from the disappointment of a race-ending nosedive incident in the Race 1 to finish fifth in Race 2.
Before the event, Sehested spoke about ‘staying out of trouble’ in strong winds and a packed racecourse, with boats flying at speeds up to 100 kilometres per hour – and with two teams dropping out of the weekend’s action due to a collision, perhaps his cautious approach paid off.
“Well, I think we need to back ourselves and push a bit harder, because we can also be a little bit too careful,” he said. “We use the word ‘smart’ a lot, but it’s a fine line between that and being too careful. We need to start taking a few more risks because, if you don’t you will never catch up with these teams.
“We had some good races, were in front of a lot of teams at times, but we didn't get the points, and it's frustrating. To be honest, I walked away from yesterday knowing that we could beat them.”
The Bermuda Sail Grand Prix result leaves the Danish boat in sixth place on the overall leader board, ahead of United States SailGP Team – helmed by America’s Cup winner Jimmy Spithill – in seventh, and Japan SailGP Team – led by Olympic champion Nathan Outteridge – in eighth.
“I wasn't too focused on the overall leader board for this event. Of course, we always have one eye on it – it’s how you verify that you’re on the right track – but for me, it's more about improving and being competitive,” continued Sehested.
The next event of SailGP Season 2 will see the league return to Europe, where it will visit Italy for a first ever Sail Grand Prix in Taranto on 5-6 June 2021, and Plymouth, UK on 17-18 July, before a landmark home event for Denmark SailGP Team – the ROCKWOOL Denmark Sail Grand Prix in Aarhus on 20-21 August 2021.
“Bermuda has been a fantastic venue for us, with good weather and fantastic racing – you don't get a much better race course than this,” added Sehested. “So it was a perfect first Grand Prix for all the teams and I think everyone enjoyed it a lot. But of course, we are especially looking forward to the home ROCKWOOL Grand Prix in Denmark, where all of our supporters can come along, and watch it up close, and be a part of it with us.”