The ROCKWOOL team – led by Danish round-the-world racer Nicolai Sehested and featuring a star-studded, mixed crew that includes three Olympic medallists, a World Sailor of the Year and multiple world championship wins – has been on the island of Bermuda since the beginning of this month in preparation for the opening race of the new campaign.
It has been almost 14 months since the fleet of high-tech, foiling F50 catamarans last battled it out in Sydney, Australia in February 2020 – and the Danish ROCKWOOL team is one of eight entries set to compete in SailGP’s second season.
Denmark is joined by Australia, France, Great Britain, Japan, New Zealand, Spain and United States in the global league, which sees athletes compete in identical, foiling boats capable of hitting speeds in excess of 100 kilometres per hour.
And with the likes of Ben Ainslie (GBR), one of the sport’s most decorated athletes, America’s Cup winners Peter Burling (NZL) and Jimmy Spithill (USA) in the ranks, SailGP has fast become one of sailing’s pinnacle competitions.
“In my opinion, winning SailGP is one of the biggest challenges in sport right now,” admitted Sehested, who, at 31, is one of the youngest helms on the start line.
“The level is higher than ever. There is no doubt that we are competing against the best sailing athletes on the planet, in some of the fastest and most competitive boats in the sport. It promises to be a thrilling and action-packed season”.
Mirella Vitale, Senior Vice President, Marketing, Communication and Public Affairs at ROCKWOOL Group, said: “SailGP brings together everything that ROCKWOOL is about: innovation, technology, sustainability, and human endeavour in the face of challenges”.
She added: “SailGP is one of sport’s leading purpose-led platforms and provides ROCKWOOL a unique opportunity to showcase our products and tell our stories in an optimistic and exciting way, to a global audience. We’re very proud to be the partner of the Denmark SailGP Team as we go beneath the surface to explore some of these important themes”.
With less than 40 hours spent sailing onboard the F50, Sehested and his crew face a significant experience gap in comparison to their rivals – some of whom have accumulated years of experience racing in these boats.
“These boats are supercharged racing machines and are extremely complex and challenging to sail”, he said.
“We have made huge progress since first stepping onboard the boat at the beginning of last year, and although we’re still relatively new to the class, we know that we can challenge many of the other teams in key areas. We can’t wait to show what we can do and represent ROCKWOOL on the global stage”.
During Season 2, SailGP will visit eight iconic cities as part of an action-packed calendar that includes the ROCKWOOL Denmark Sail Grand Prix in Aarhus on 20-21 August 2021.
Following the opening round of action in Bermuda this weekend, SailGP will visit Taranto, Italy; Plymouth, Great Britain; Aarhus, Denmark; Saint-Tropez, France; Cadíz, Spain; Christchurch, New Zealand; and San Francisco, USA.
The Aarhus event will mark the first time that the F50 fleet has ever raced in Scandinavia – and will mark a memorable homecoming Grand Prix for the Danish ROCKWOOL crew.
“The ROCKWOOL Denmark Sail Grand Prix in Aarhus will be an unforgettable event and a very proud moment to fly the Danish flag in front of a home crowd”, explained Sehested.
The Bermuda Sail Grand Prix presented by Hamilton Princess will take place on 24-25 April 2021 and live coverage will be available to watch in 175 territories around the world. For more information on how to follow the racing in your market, click here.
FULL SAILGP SEASON 2 CALENDAR:
Bermuda Sail Grand Prix presented by Hamilton Princess // 24-25 April 2021
Italy Sail Grand Prix | Taranto // 5-6 June 2021
Great Britain Sail Grand Prix | Plymouth // 17-18 July 2021
ROCKWOOL Denmark Sail Grand Prix | Aarhus // 20-21 August 2021
France Sail Grand Prix | Saint-Tropez // 11-12 September 2021
Spain Sail Grand Prix | Andalucía-Cadíz // 9-10 October 2021
New Zealand Sail Grand Prix | Christchurch // 29-30 January 2022
United States Sail Grand Prix | San Francisco // 26-27 March 2022