Denmark SailGP Team presented by ROCKWOOL driver Nicolai Sehested is hoping that his crew can put their learnings into practice as SailGP hits Italian waters for the first time this weekend.
The global racing league will make history on 5-6 June with a first ever Italy Sail Grand Prix in Taranto – and the event marks a first return to Europe for the F50 fleet since the Marseille finale of the inaugural season which saw Australia SailGP Team crowned champions in September 2019.
Sehested, who led his team to sixth place in the opening Grand Prix of Season 2 in Bermuda at the end of April, explains that he is keen to ‘maintain the intensity’ and build on the momentum from the first racing of 2021.
“It’s been a very busy, but rewarding few weeks for us since we returned from Bermuda,” he says.
“As one of the newer teams in the competition, we’re well aware of the learning curve we face – and we’re keen to take the learnings we have made in Bermuda and back home and show what we can do.”
The Danish team has combined training sessions on and off the water – including teaming up with former America’s Cup skipper Iain Percy for some coaching ahead of Taranto. Meanwhile, top Danish sailor Christian Kamp has joined the team for training sessions in Italy.
Sehested continues: “We have been racing on the state-of-the-art F50 simulator in Belfast, UK, where we’ve been able to deep-dive into our performance data and test out different scenarios, and then we followed up with some real-life sailing on the GC32 – a smaller, foiling catamaran – in Denmark, to put our learnings into practice.
“We feel like we’re making big strides in terms of our boat-handling and performance in general. The added experience of the likes of Iain and Christian – who have spent years racing these boats – is really valuable and is accelerating that learning process.”
The Bermuda Sail Grand Prix was won in a nail-biting final match race by Ben Ainslie and the Great Britain SailGP Team. Denmark SailGP Team’s sixth-placed finish saw them ahead of Japan SailGP Team, driven by Olympic champion Nathan Outteridge, and United States SailGP Team, led by America’s Cup legend, Jimmy Spithill.
“We were disappointed at the end of Bermuda, as we didn’t feel we raced at our best – but performance-aside, it’s not a bad result for our first competition in over 14 months,” adds Nicolai.
“It gives us a good platform to continue learning and building our team dynamics as we focus on Taranto. We’re not putting ourselves under pressure as we are still far behind some of the other teams in terms of experience, but every hour we sail together, we are getting better, faster and our handling of the boat in different conditions is really improving.”
Lighter winds are currently forecast for the Italy Sail Grand Prix in Taranto, which will pose different challenges to the fleet, who faced strong breeze of up to 20 knots during the two days of racing in Bermuda.
Danish fans can watch the action as it happens on TV2 Sport, TV2 Sport X and TV2 Play this weekend.
To view the full broadcast schedule in your market, click here.