SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA, 27 February 2020 – The Denmark SailGP Team, presented by ROCKWOOL, begins its debut SailGP campaign on Friday, as the dramatic, adrenaline-filled racing series takes to the iconic Sydney Harbour for the first action of Season 2.
The racing – which takes place on 28-29 February – will see the Danish team, led by Nicolai Sehested, join six other nations to do battle in one of the sport’s most hotly-contested competitions.
And despite going into the Sydney race with less than 20 hours of training on board the supercharged F50 boat following the Team's launch in December, Sehested believes that his crew has what it takes to hold its own in the first duels of the season.
“Of course, preparing to race in this series in just eight weeks has been a huge challenge – but we’re ready for it,” said Sehested.
“Most of the other teams much more experience on the boats, and we’re the new kids on the block. When you’re doing 45 knots in the F50, every mistake you make is amplified – but to beat the other teams, we know we have to race right at the limit, at 100 percent.”
At just 30 years old, Sehested is the youngest helmsman on the SailGP start line, amongst some of the world’s best on-water athletes – including the most successful Olympic sailor of all-time, Ben Ainslie (GBR) and last year’s winning helm, Tom Slingsby (AUS).
And the Dane, who has already raced around the planet in two editions of The Ocean Race, admitted that he is enjoying his team’s underdog status ahead of the first races.
“To be honest, it’s a nice place to be,” explained Sehested. “We’re the new guys and the top teams probably aren’t looking back over their shoulders at us right now, so I think we can come in and surprise a few people in Sydney.
“We’re going to push right from the first race and of course we want to do well quickly. But we know we have to make the right decisions from day one – you can’t rush these things, or you will end up paying in the long run. We’re building a strong fundament for the future.”
The Denmark SailGP Team, presented by ROCKWOOL, is the first ever Danish entry into the series – and Sehested confirmed that the team is buoyed by the support from back home.
“This is huge for us, but also the whole of Denmark,” he said. “We’re proud to be flying the flag for our country, and we have a fantastic sponsor in ROCKWOOL bringing some Danish DNA into the heart of our campaign. We’re very happy to be here in Sydney.”
The 2019 SailGP Championship – and the $1 million prize pot – was won by Australia SailGP Team, and the reigning champions are tipped to take the first blood of Season 2 on home waters.
However, the Australian helmsman Tom Slingsby played down his crew’s dominant pre-season status at the Press Conference in Sydney.
“I don’t think we’re as much of a favourite as people think – the level is a lot higher this year,” he said. “Everyone out there is talking down their chances and saying we’re the hot favourites, but if you watch the racing, you’ll see that it’s anyone’s game.”
Fans around the world will be able to watch coverage of Sydney SailGP through the most immersive broadcast experience the sport has ever seen. The global championship has also revamped the award-winning SailGP APP to provide a more comprehensive look into each race, implementing additional data and viewing options so users can watch the world’s fastest sail racing when and how they want. The SailGP APP is available in the App Store and Google Play.