Nicolai Sehested, the first ever Driver of the Denmark SailGP Team, has gained a reputation among his peers and in the sailing community as a hard-hitting, never back down skipper who will go to great lengths to get his boat across the finish line first. On land, however, his nickname is ‘smurf’ and he is known to always carry a smile and have a positive outlook.
Sehested began sailing at the age of nine and first started competitive racing when he was 11-years-old and has been a self-described speed freak on the water ever since.
As a young Optimist sailor, he once made a pact with his parents to never take part in the around-the-world race in exchange for a new boat that season. Two Volvo Ocean Races later, Sehested said his parents have since forgiven him for twice breaking his word.
Although he’s younger than the other helmsmen in the global championship, Sehested brings a wealth of experience competing in some of the world’s biggest sailing events, including two The Ocean Race campaigns.
Sehested has skippered the entry for Ewii Racing – of which he is a founder – in the World Match Racing Tour since 2010, accumulating more than 30 podium finishes. Additionally, he won the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup in 2018 and 2019 with Team LYRA, while taking the title at the Rolex Fastnet in 2019 as a member of the Ocean Challenge Club.
He currently holds the 24-hour distance record, covering 604 nautical miles, and has an eye on the SailGP speed record, to add to his accolades.
When he’s not racing, Sehested enojys driving tractors on his farm in Denmark.