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14:17 Wednesday 8 Aug 2018 Sue Pelling/LCWVOR sailor helps inspire young sailors on Youth Day

Nicolai Sehested (28) AkzoNobel VOR sailor photo Tom Gruitt/LCW

More and more young sailors are recognizing the importance of taking to the helm and building a team to compete in Lendy Cowes Week with the aim to succeed in the highly competitive youth section.

With individual trophies including the Land Rover Under 25 Trophy and the Musto Young Skipper’s Trophy up for grabs, and free Land Rover Under 25 crew shirts for eligible competitors, entries continue to rise. One of the biggest incentives was the 50 per cent entry fee discount to the first 25 U25 crews.

Although at 28, he is slightly too old to sign up for the Young Skipper’s Trophy and he is only racing one day, double Volvo Ocean Race (VOR) competitor, Nicolai Sehested from Copenhagen, Denmark, was keen to pass on some useful advice to other young sailors competing here at Lendy Cowes Week.

Sehested, who competed in the 2014/15 VOR, and who was Watch Leader on AkzoNobel during the recently completed VOR will helm AkzoNobel in the Island Challenge this week. He says pulling together a team on a keelboat at Lendy Cowes Week is a great first step on the way to competing in the hi-profile arena.

“Lendy Cowes Week is a great stepping stone; an opportunity to get a group of friends together as a team in order to race on a more professional level where you do more events, like the match racing tour or the J/80 worlds for example. Aim for some top results to get your name out there, and that is a really good start.

“Lendy Cowes Week offers a great opportunity for young sailors because there are a lot of keelboats here, and I think keelboats are important if you aspire to compete in the VOR one day. It is a great platform because you learn how to race as a team and how to set up the rig, which is vital for anyone aspiring to move onto bigger things.”

Commenting on how he made the transition from dinghy sailing to the VOR, Sehested said: “The steps I took between dinghy sailing and yacht racing was match racing, which was the best thing I could have done. There is no way I could have gained enough experience for the VOR without learning a bit more about big boat sailing. I did match racing for five or six years and that was really important because I learnt about winches, and sails, so I would definitely recommend that.

“Also match racing is a good introduction to the professional circuit and helps you build a good network of people. Then if things go well, there is a good chance you’ll get an opportunity prove yourself one day.”

For Sehested the VOR was always something he had in mind although his parents were not so keen. As a young Optimist sailor, he once made a pact with his parents to never take part in the VOR in exchange for a brand-new boat that season. “My parents have finally forgiven me for twice breaking my word!”

On the reasons he was drawn to the VOR Sehested added: “It is hard to find any other racing that pushes you both physically and mentally. It is an endurance race you don’t see anywhere else. That really inspired me.”

For team AkzoNobel Lendy Cowes Week offers a good ‘wind down’ after the finish of the VOR: “It is a good chance to race the boat and gives us a chance to keep the project going rather than just a ‘full stop’ after the [VOR] race finished. We are delighted to be here and really looking forward to the around the island race. A smaller circumnavigation race but nevertheless, great fun.”

Earlier News Stories

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