After revealing that Denmark SailGP Team would join the second season of SailGP, helmsman Nicolai Sehested determined the six-man team following a two-week training and selection camp in New Zealand’s Northland region, where the group got its first taste of the world’s fastest sail race boat on Bream Bay.
The Danish team consists of Sehested, 30, of Copenhagen (helm); Tom Johnson, 28, of Mandurah, Western Australia (wing trimmer); Rasmus Køstner, 41, of Middelfart (flight controller); Martin Kirketerp, 37, of Aarhus (grinder); Hans-Christian Rosendahl, 23, of Copenhagen (grinder); and Lars-Peter Rosendahl, 23, of Copenhagen (grinder).
The Danes will have additional support from Olympic silver medalist Jonas Høgh-Christensen – who is serving as team manager – as they compete against six other national teams, including reigning champion Australia, for the sport’s largest monetary prize of US$1 million starting February 28-29 in Sydney, Australia.
The new team hit its stride early in New Zealand, achieving 48.7 knots of speed (90 kph) within the first hour of sailing.
“We’re bringing a great deal of experience to the competition and look forward to the challenge of going up against the best sailors in the world,” said Sehested. “The team is eager to write the next chapter in the rich sailing history of Denmark and we hope to inspire future generations to get involved in the sport.”
Sehested is a two-time around-the-world ocean race participant and was part of the team that holds the 24-hour distance record. Johnson and Køstner are also around-the-world sailors, and both have America’s Cup experience – Johnson with ORACLE TEAM USA for the 2017 campaign and Køstner with Mascalzone Latino Capitalia for 2007.
Johnson is a SailGP veteran, having served as a wing trimmer for the U.S. team in 2019. SailGP’s rules – governed by World Sailing – include an 80 percent nationality requirement, allowing for a maximum of one international athlete onboard each boat.
Johnson was also Sehested’s teammate for the 2014-15 Volvo Ocean Race with Team Vestas Wind and was part of Vestas 11th Hour Racing for the 2017-18 edition of one of the sport’s most competitive and grueling events.
Initially focused on match racing, Køstner shifted to the America’s Cup in 2005, then joined the Ericsson Racing Team as tactician for in-port races during the 2008-09 Volvo Ocean Race. More recently, he co-founded the SAP Extreme Sailing Team that finished second in the 2015 Extreme Sailing Series before taking the title in 2017.
Meanwhile, the Danish team also brings talent to the grinder position. Kirketerp added his name to the long list of Danish sailors who have achieved Olympic success when he took the gold medal in the 49er class at the 2008 Beijing Games.
He is joined by two of SailGP’s youngest athletes – twin brothers Hans-Christian and Lars-Peter Rosendahl – who are youth match racing world champions and become the first siblings to compete together in the new global championship.
In addition to the New Zealand training camp, the Danes have gained valuable experience by training on a simulator in London that replicates the experience on the supercharged catamarans, while providing data analysis in real-time.
Season 1 – 2019 Schedule
Sydney, Australia (February 15-16)
San Francisco, USA (May 4-5)
New York, USA (June 21-22)
Cowes, UK (August 10-11)
Marseille, France (September 20-22)
SailGP Season 1 Overall Leaderboard
1. Australia, Tom Slingsby, 229
2. Japan, Nathan Outteridge, 223
3. China, Phil Robertson, 171
4. Great Britain, Dylan Fletcher, 169
5. France, Billy Besson, 164
6. United States, Rome Kirby, 163
Note: Total points based on SailGP scoring.
Established in 2018, SailGP seeks to be an annual, global sports league featuring fan-centric inshore racing in some of the iconic harbors around the globe. Rival national teams compete in identical F50 catamarans with the season culminating with a $1 million winner-takes-all match race.
Sydney, Australia (February 28-29)
San Francisco, USA (May 2-3)
New York, USA (June 12-13)
Cowes, UK (August 14-15)
* Additional dates by February 2020
Published on January 16th, 2020