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Denmark SailGP Team presented by ROCKWOOL crowned Impact League champions

by SailGP 5 May 2023 15:57 PDT
Hans-Christian Rosendahl, grinder of Denmark SailGP Team, and Katja Salskov-Iversen, strategist of Denmark SailGP Team, lift the Impact League trophy as Denmark SailGP Team presented by ROCKWOOL celebrate winning the Season 3 Impact League © Bob Martin for SailGP

Danes topple defending champions New Zealand to win sport's podium for the planet

Denmark SailGP Team presented by ROCKWOOL has completed a spectacular transformation to be crowned Impact League champions at the Mubadala SailGP Season 3 Grand Final in San Francisco.

In the most hotly contested Impact League to date, Nicolai Sehested's Denmark overcame fierce competition from defending champions, Peter Burling's New Zealand, who finished just five points behind in second. Sir Ben Ainslie's Emirates Great Britain SailGP Team meanwhile placed third.

Introduced in Season 2, the Impact League is a second leaderboard which runs alongside the Season Championship and tracks the positive actions teams take to reduce their overall footprint and accelerate inclusivity in sailing.

The victory sees Denmark win funds for its Race For the Future partner One Ocean Foundation, with New Zealand and Great Britain also securing funding for Live Ocean Foundation and Protect our Future.

Denmark SailGP Team driver Sehested said: "We are delighted and proud to win the Impact League this season. It is impossible to win a competition as tough and unique as the Impact League without full commitment and dedication from everyone on the team, and the support and guidance of our partners ROCKWOOL and One Ocean Foundation.

"The level of competition from the other teams has been higher than ever before. There is no magic trick to winning the Impact League, but I think our victory shows what is possible with hard work, innovation and creativity, and we have done the small things really well and consistently. Since day one this season, we have approached the Impact League with the same belief, intensity and vigour that we approach racing in SailGP."

After finishing last in Season 2, Denmark reinvented itself this season, onboarding a new Race For The Future partner in One Ocean Foundation, whose mission is to accelerate solutions to ocean issues, and pioneering a number of ground-breaking initiatives.

Denmark launched More Speed Less Plastic in January to reward athletes for doing what they do best - racing fast - by connecting the cutting-edge performance in SailGP with diverting ocean-bound waste. The initiative sees the Danish team commit to removing 10 kilograms of plastic litter from the ocean for every 1 km/h of speed the team clocks at each event.

Denmark has already cleared more than five tonnes of ocean-bound waste, making it the first sports team to clean the ocean whilst racing at speeds close to 100 km/h.

ROCKWOOL's Beneath The Surface sustainability content series has attracted more than 25 million views on YouTube to date, which sees the team connect to inspiring organizations and innovative projects in every city that SailGP visits - including FIFA Women's World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, Expo City Dubai and Singapore's Ocean Purpose Project.

In several SailGP events this season, Denmark SailGP Team athletes have also teamed up with One Ocean Foundation to conduct ocean science experiments on the SailGP race track to gather important information about our seas, with a view to building the first-ever ocean health map of SailGP venues by the end of 2023.

SailGP chief purpose officer Fiona Morgan said: "I'm so proud of Denmark's collaborative approach to purpose that has been the driving force behind its Impact League victory this season. From bringing on board One Ocean Foundation and working closely with them, inspiring their individual athletes to take action and engaging their title sponsor ROCKWOOL, to reaching out to other sports and organizations to bring everyone together, it really has been an incredibly collective strategy."

Other team highlights across the Impact League in Season 3 include Canada SailGP Team athlete Isabella Bertold riding over 1,000km from the Range Rover France Sail Grand Prix to the Spain Sail Grand Prix in Andalucía-Cádiz to raise awareness of the plight of the ocean and funds for the team's partner, Ocean Wise.

New Zealand teamed up with Live Ocean Foundation to champion the 'Voices for a Healthy Ocean' declaration, a commitment of sportspeople and ocean communities to use their voices to raise awareness of ocean health. This was taken to the UN Ocean Conference in Lisbon.

Emirates Great Britain SailGP Team signed a partnership with Low Carbon, a global renewable energy company, to join forces with its Race for the Future partner Protect Our Future. The climate change education platform will help support over three million young people to take action to protect nature, people and the planet using the inspiration of athletes.

Switzerland also collaborated with VI Foundation to take para athletes onboard its F50 to champion equal opportunities and show that everything is possible.

While the Impact League has delivered fantastic results in just its second season, there are plans to make the Impact League bigger and bolder than ever in Season 4.

Morgan said: "The Impact League is proving sustainability can be done differently and that it can be engaging while still inspiring change. It's all about continual improvement so in Season 4 it's going to be the biggest evolution we've ever done. We feel our teams are now operating really sustainably, we've embedded the Impact League into the business and now it's time to focus on bigger areas of impact and spend more time collaborating with other sports on how to get it adopted by others."

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