Nicolai was born in Oslo, Norway, and started sailing at the age of 7. With his father having sailed the Olympics in 1992, Nicolai soon decided that he wanted to follow in his footsteps. Like many other youth sailors, he started out in the Optimist, representing the Royal Norwegian Yacht Club.
After Nicolai grew out of the Optimist, he decided that he wanted to pursue a career within hydrofoil sailing. Having watched the development in the America’s Cup and the International Moth class, it was clear to him that foiling was about to become a major part of professional sailing. He chose to sail the Waszp, which had just been launched internationally at the time. Two years later, Nicolai won the European Championship at the age of 16. Since then, he has established himself as one of the top sailors in the class, repeatedly placing in the very top internationally. In 2018, Nicolai moved with his family to Hong Kong. He then proceeded to join the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club, continuing his Waszp sailing and also volunteering as an Optimist coach.
Nicolai sees the Youth America’s Cup as a unique opportunity and a stepping stone towards the America’s Cup, which has been a goal for him since he first started sailing. As a young sailor, he believes that this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for him to be part of a highly professional sailing team, teaching him how to work alongside coaches and sailors to develop a race-winning team.