Denmark chasing breakthrough SailGP event win on home waters in Copenhagen
Denmark chasing breakthrough SailGP event win on home waters
Having made its first ever event final last time out at the Great Britain Sail Grand Prix in Plymouth, the Denmark SailGP Team presented by ROCKWOOL is looking to go one better and make a serious statement to the rest of the competition by claiming its first event win this weekend at the ROCKWOOL Denmark Sail Grand Prix | Copenhagen.
The significant hurdle for Danish ambitions is likely to be a resurgent New Zealand team, with Peter Burling finally living up to the high expectations held of his team with a victory at the Great Britain event. It was a win that broke a run of five event victories in a row for Tom Slingsby's Australia SailGP Team, and the defending champions are sure to feature heavily again over the next two days.
At the opening press conference in Copenhagen, Sehested said he felt he should already have been celebrating a first event win. The Danish team took some harsh lessons from looking back at the final race in Plymouth, where tactical mistakes cost the team the early lead it had established and gave New Zealand the chance to claim victory.
Sehested said: "It was pretty painful to watch the replay because it was quite obvious afterwards, we should have gone out to New Zealand and just covered them and shut the race down instead of leaving it up to chance and that was a mistake. I think as a team we are still just getting started in SailGP, still working hard, we've got to continue working hard because the fleet is getting better and better."
Burling said he was thrilled to have a first Sail Grand Prix win under his belt after never before being able to even make an event final. New Zealand was also the first team to win both the Sail Grand Prix and the Impact League – the league's second podium for the planet – standings at the same event.
Burling said: "It's just been a process of trying to make small gains in every area, we did a good job of bringing it together in Plymouth, making sure you don't do anything out of the ordinary but doing everything well. It was exciting for us too to be the first team to win the double. That's a huge milestone for the group and it's been a goal of ours for a long time. "
Australia driver Slingsby said the New Zealand result had very much caught his attention and life might be more difficult going forward for the two-time defending champions.
Slingsby said: "We knew that we were going to lose soon, we had a nice little run of winning five events in a row but when it came to New Zealand we knew they were lurking and improving every event. It looks like they did change their set up a little, their level jumped up a long way, it was just a matter of time of then getting that off their back that they'd never won. They're going to be a real contender this season."
There was a new, but simultaneously familiar face at the press conference podium, as Nathan Outteridge made his race week debut as co-driver of Switzerland, having raced in the first two seasons of SailGP for Japan. Sébastien Schneiter, at 26 years of age the youngest driver in SaiGP, will act as Nathan's co-driver for the remainder of the season after driving the boat in the first three events.
Outteridge said: "It was a bit of a surprise to me, initially they just wanted my coaching help in Plymouth but then they asked if I was interested in doing some driving this season so of course I jumped at that situation. I think it's a really smart call and it's a tough call for Seb to make, but he said they wanted to improve the performance of the team in the short term so could they have me driving and help build the crew up but also build the strongest team possible for Season 4."
The Great Britain SailGP Team is meanwhile in a race against time to compete on Friday, after sustaining damage to its F50 during practice racing in Copenhagen. The team was completing pre-race training drills when they hit an uncharted rock just outside the racecourse boundary. With the support of SailGP's Tech Services, the team will be working through the night to effect repairs.
Off the water, the ROCKWOOL Denmark Sail Grand Prix will be 100 per cent powered by clean energy for the second successive season, with wind turbines surrounding the racecourse providing a fitting backdrop for a league championing a world powered by nature.
Copenhagen will utilize electric boats across a sustainable on-water operational fleet with technology from Vita and ePropulsion in use across the race week as SailGP looks to power its entire on-water fleet by clean energy by 2025, while electric boat charging will be managed using Aqua superPower charging units onsite.
The ROCKWOOL Denmark Sail Grand Prix will also feature the largest Inspire Program ever delivered with more than 1,300 participants expected to engage across the week of activity.
Copenhagen is the fourth of 11 venues that will form the Season 3 calendar. Saint-Tropez in France is the next stop for SailGP, before the fleet visits Cádiz, Dubai, Singapore, Sydney, Christchurch and finally finishing in San Francisco, May 2023.
Racing starts at 3.30pm local time and is live on TV2 in Denmark. For all the details on how to watch around the globe, visit SailGP.com/watch. For fans in Copenhagen, a few final tickets are still available for the weekend but are selling fast, head to SailGP.com for more information.
SAILGP SEASON 3 CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS (after three events) //
1 // Australia // 29 points
2 // Great Britain // 24 points
3 // New Zealand // 22 points
4 // Canada // 22 points
5 // Denmark // 20 points
6 // France // 15 points
7 // United States // 13 points
8 // Spain // 8 points
9 // Switzerland // 7 points
SAILGP SEASON 3 IMPACT LEAGUE STANDINGS //
1 // New Zealand // 509 points
2 // Denmark // 505 points
3 // Canada // 498 points
4 // Great Britain // 490 points
5 // Australia // 489 points
6 // Spain // 474 points
7 // United States // 473 points
8 // France // 466 points
9 // Switzerland // 425 points