Denmark SailGP Team grabbed fourth place at the Mubadala United States Sail Grand Prix on Sunday, despite ‘racing blind’ for the final two races – as Australia took the SailGP crown for the second consecutive season.
The team, led by driver Nicolai Sehested, experienced a total failure of their communications technology onboard the state-of-the-art F50 catamaran, meaning that they couldn’t communicate with each other as they ripped around the race course in San Francisco Bay.
“It was really frustrating,” said Sehested. “We had zero communications onboard, and it was impossible to talk to each other during the racing.”
“It’s so loud onboard the F50 at speed that it’s only possible to communicate using microphones and headsets, and so we were essentially ‘racing blind’ for the last two races.”
He adds: “It’s probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done, trying to race this boat in 25 knots with no idea what the team is thinking. We ended up tapping each other on the shoulder to signal when we would tack or gybe.”
The incident occurred around 10 seconds before the start of Race 4, and meant that the team was more than one minute late to the start line of Race 5 as they were trying to fix the issue.
Despite the challenging circumstances, the Danish team fought back through the fleet to grab two fifth placed finishes on Sunday to secure fourth spot overall in San Francisco.
“We got a pretty good result overall, but it’s still super frustrating because we were on fire in the warm up and really confident that we could go and get a strong podium finish in the final racing of Season 2,” continues Sehested.
“But, it wasn’t to be, and that’s racing. We’re looking forward to Season 3 where we hope to be challenging for more podium spots.”
Australia SailGP Team, led by Tom Slingsby, took the SailGP championship trophy for a second consecutive season in a dramatic final, winner-takes-all race that was delayed due to a whale on the course.
Denmark is one of the newer teams in SailGP, but finished in sixth spot overall in Season 2 – it’s first full season since joining the global racing league in late 2019.
“We feel like we’re in a good place as a team, and the second half of this season has been much improved,” adds Sehested.
“We know that in the right conditions we can beat any team in SailGP, and it gives us confidence when we can go out on a day like today and still race despite being significantly affected by lack of technology. We’re ready to give everything we’ve got in Season 3.”
SailGP Season 3 begins on 14-15 May in Bermuda, and will see the circuit take in seven global cities in 2022 – including a homecoming event, the ROCKWOOL Sail Grand Prix in Copenhagen on August 19-20.
Mubadala United States Sail Grand Prix – final rankings
1) Australia SailGP Team – 10 points
2) Great Britain SailGP Team – 9 points
3) Japan SailGP Team – 8 points
4) Denmark SailGP Team presented by ROCKWOOL – 7 points
5) New Zealand SailGP Team – 6 points
6) United States SailGP Team – 5 points
7) France SailGP Team – 4 points
8) Spain SailGP Team – 3 points
SailGP Season 2 – overall rankings
9) Australia SailGP Team – 65 points
10) Japan SailGP Team – 59 points
11) United States SailGP Team – 58 points
12) Great Britain SailGP Team – 50 points
13) New Zealand SailGP Team – 47 points
14) Denmark SailGP Team presented by ROCKWOOL – 45 points
15) Spain SailGP Team – 42 points
16) France SailGP Team – 39 points