Meet the two trailblazing Danish female sailors dominating the professional sailing scene

By Linnéa Pesonen

Ahead of the Olympics and SailGP finals, Vogue Scandinavia caught up with Danes Katja Salskov-Iversen and Anne-Marie Rindom, who are paving the way for women in professional sailing

Professional sailing has long been a male-dominated sport, but lately, there’s been a shift on the horizon. Led by pioneering female sailors like Denmark’s Katja Salskov-Iversen and Anne-Marie Rindom, whose burgeoning successes serve as inspiring examples for other women aspiring to enter the sport, a wind of change is in the air.


“For me, I didn’t know that [becoming a professional sailor] was a thing,” says Salskov-Iversen, 29. “Growing up, I was sure that I was going to the Olympics, and then I would do my degree and go professional in the civil world. You have to show that there’s a way and that it’s possible as a woman to live off sailing.” Today, both Salskov-Iversen and Rindom have forged fruitful careers spanning over two decades, with both women having nabbed Olympic medals and World Championships. “We are in a place where we are changing things, and it’s important to keep remembering that, being true to ourselves, and bringing in the feminine values,” Salskov-Iversen continues.

Among the duo’s most recent triumphs is joining the Rockwool Denmark team for SailGP, one of the most esteemed international sailing competitions featuring high-performance F50 catamarans, some of the world’s fastest (going up to 100km/h) and most technologically advanced sailing boats. Competing in a group of six – comprising five men with Rindom and Salskov-Iversen taking turns as the strategist – SailGP, dubbed as ‘F1 on the sea,’ is the first-ever mixed-gender contest within the sport.

Katja Salskov-Iversen in her Rockwool Denmark SailGP gear. Photo: Rockwool Denmark SailGP Team

Anne-Marie Rindom. Photo: Rockwool Denmark SailGP Team

“I think it’s really cool that such a small country like Denmark has a team in the league,” says Rindom, 32. “That also shows how if everyone stands together, we can actually do it ... I feel like we make each other better; our team has a really good dynamic.” Boasting 13 events, every season of SailGP sees the teams trek to far-flung locales like Bermuda, Abu Dhabi, Sydney, and San Francisco, each stop entailing three 15-minute races. As we speak, Salskov-Iversen is in Halifax, Canada, prepping for the 11th event in the roster (Rindom had to sit it out due to an injury).

“The pressure is definitely on – we have to perform,” says Salskov-Iversen, noting that only the top three teams proceed to the grand final, taking place in San Francisco in mid-July. “But I love feeling the pressure, it’s only a good thing,” she adds. As strategists, the women occupy one of the most vital positions within the crew, a role both Salskov-Iversen and Rindom are exceptionally suited for given their extensive sailing careers and background in STEM derived from their university degrees.

Salskov-Iversen sailing with the Rockwool Denmark SailGP team. Photo: Rockwool Denmark SailGP Team

Photo: Rockwool Denmark SailGP Team

“Our job is to see how we can get the fastest around the race course,” explains Rindom, who’s about to finish her Master’s degree in Sports Science. Meanwhile, Salskov-Iversen studied civil engineering, focusing on data analysis and business. “SailGP is a data-driven sport, like many are these days, so it’s a cool skill to have,” she says. “I can dive into the data and analyse different parts of our sailing to increase performance.”

A surprisingly tactical sport, sailing at this level requires the women to utilise data in myriad ways to succeed. “It’s everything,” Rindom says. “When we were rookies [at SailGP] two years ago, we were not one of the best boats,” Salskov-Iversen adds. “So we would look at the data from, for example, Australia, which is one of the best boats, and kind of copy-paste. We would examine their boat handling and how they sailed compared to us. Then it’s just about plotting all the data and seeing what they did differently.”

Anne-Marie Rindom sailing for the Rockwool Denmark SailGP team. Photo: Rockwool Denmark SailGP Team

Add tactical excellence to intense physical training and meticulous mental preparations (visualisation is key, according to the women), and you have the recipe for success. Currently, the Danish SailGP team stands among the best, fiercely battling for their spot in the finals. “What SailGP has done for us is that they have given us the opportunity to race these boats and get better and as fast as possible,” Rindom says.

You have to show that there’s a way and that it’s possible as a woman to live off sailing.

Katja Salskov-Iversen

Both Salskov-Iversen and Rindom began sailing at a young age, with Rindom’s first boating experience at just 14 weeks old. While the women were introduced to the sport via their sailor parents, it was the social aspect that kept them going back to the sailing club. “My friends there and all the social activities were much more important for many years than the actual sport. But of course, then the sport grew on me, and I loved it. I think I will continue loving it for the rest of my life,” Rindom says while Salskov-Iversen nods in agreement.

Rindom and Salskov-Iversen. Photo: Rockwool Denmark SailGP Team

Right now, the women are firmly focused on winning the SailGP, while Rindom is also gearing up to represent Denmark at the upcoming Paris 2024 Olympics, where she will sail solo. Then, there’s the invaluable mission the two have embarked on: to increase female representation in professional sailing. “That feels like a fight that is even more important than a medal,” Salskov-Iversen says. “Because there are so few of us and the opportunities for women are scarce, you can sometimes think there’s only room for one. But remember that that’s a lie. We have to bring in all the girls because that will only make us stronger.”