Battle resumes next week
The high-rise and cosmopolitan city of Singapore is getting into gear to host the second event of the 2013 Extreme Sailing Series in just a week's time.
Singapore is now a regular fixture on the global, eight-stop tour and for the next three years is being supported by local partner, Aberdeen Asset Management, the Singapore Sports Council and the Singapore Sailing Federation.
Eight international teams with crews sporting 28 World Championship titles, 20 Olympic campaigns and 25 America’s Cups between them will line up on 11 April for four days of intense stadium racing on Marina Bay Reservoir, including local heroes Scott Glen Sydney and Justin Wong competing aboard their home nation invitational entry, Team Aberdeen Singapore.
The eight international teams dispersed after Muscat while the Extreme 40 fleet made the 3,728 mile journey from the Middle East to the Far East, transported by Logistics Partner GAC Pindar. The shape at the top of the leaderboard is perhaps no surprise after Muscat with the three most experienced teams leading the charge.
Returning champion Leigh McMillan and The Wave, Muscat snatched victory from Roman Hagara’s Red Bull Sailing Team in the final seconds of the final race in Muscat, and light wind specialist Hagara is determined that Singapore will be the event where he finally puts his demons to rest to win his first ever Extreme Sailing Series event. The double Olympic Tornado gold medalllist commented: “Its our third time racing in Singapore, and we expect tough weather conditions – it will be a light wind event which just means you have to sail the boats differently, use different tactics and that should be an advantage for the more experienced teams on the circuit. So I expect Red Bull Sailing Team to finish on the podium, but our task is to win the event.”
The public is expected to be out in force during the public event days (12-14 April) supporting Singaporean sailors Scott Glen Sydney and Justin Wong onboard invitational entry Team Aberdeen Singapore.
Triple Volvo Ocean Race sailor Robert Greenhalgh, winner of the first ever Extreme Sailing Series, will take the helm. Speaking about the competition Greenhalgh said: “There are many more competitive teams now than when I first sailed an Extreme 40. For sure The Wave, Muscat and Red Bull Sailing Team are the ones to beat I think, but the final podium spot is up for grabs possibly. I think this event will be even closer at the top then in Muscat with more teams fighting for the podium. I am looking forward to racing with a new team and hopefully getting some good results and hope to finish in the top half but it won’t be easy.”
There will be new faces on the start line in Singapore as four of the teams announce crew changes. Regular Alinghi helm Ernesto Bertarelli will be absent, so America’s Cup sailor Morgan Larson steps into the driving seat, paving the way for Aussie Stuart Pollard to make his Extreme 40 debut as tactician. Comparing this years Extreme Sailing Series to 2012, Larson said: “This year’s fleet is quite a change from last year. The new blood of the young talent will improve at every race and I really see things getting competitive by mid season.” Focusing on the event in hand, Larson added: “In Singapore, the starts will become the focus and we will, for sure, keep the umpires working hard! This will be my first trip to Singapore and I am really looking forward to the event. We will have a young amateur from Australia, Stu Pollard, joining us as the fifth man. Stu is new to Extreme 40s but has a wealth of experience and I know he will add value to Alinghi.”
Team Korea, who have been tipped by thedailysail.com editor James Boyd as ‘one of the most powerful teams on the starting grid’ in his 2013 Series form guide, will sail with a second Korean sailor. Sung Ahn Jung, a multiple Olympian in the 470 class and a three times Asian Games gold medallist will join London 2012 Olympic silver medallist Peter Burling and his team for his Extreme 40 inauguration. “We are looking to build on our result from Oman. We learnt a lot from that event that we will be putting into action in Singapore. We think it is going to be pretty light wind so the boat handling shouldn’t be a problem,” commented Burling.
Realteam continue their squad programme for the year, as Bruno Barbarin (FRA), part of the 2012 Realstone Vulcain Trophy D35 winning team, steps up as tactician, while Matt Steven, three times World Champion and holder of five national titles, will make it an all Kiwi team for GAC Pindar. Skipper William Tiller, one of four new skippers competing this year said: “Our first Extreme Sailing Series event in Oman with GAC Pindar was awesome, to be part of a great team and Series is a fantastic achievement and we are really looking forward to making our mark on the circuit this year. Singapore is fast approaching and it will be interesting to see if we can successfully put into practice what we learned in Oman. The goal for Singapore is to continue our development in the class and finish in the top half of the fleet.”
SAP Extreme Sailing Team came away from Act 1 disappointed after being unable to turn their pre-season training into a result on the water finishing seventh. But the Danish co-skippers Jes Gram Hansen and Rasmus Kostner are out to prove their mettle in Singapore, and you can be sure there is much more to come from the Danish team this year. Jes commented: “We know that we are going to be experiencing similar light airs to that of Oman and that coupled with such a compact racing circuit will mean that every second counts and we will need to be extremely slick with manoeuvres and have good boat speed if we are to start moving up the leader board.”
The fleet will race in stadium mode for four days, including a knock out series planned for Friday evening, ‘The Aberdeen Challenge Trophy’.
Followers around the globe can watch the racing live online on the official event website at the following times:
Friday 12 April: 1200-1300 CEST / 1800-1900 SGT
Saturday 13 and Sunday 14 April: 1130-1300 CEST / 1730-1900 SGT
Extreme Sailing Series Singapore crew lists
Skipper/Helm: Morgan Larson (USA) / Tactician: Stuart Pollard (AUS) / Mainsail Trimmer: Pierre-Yves Jorand (SUI) / Headsail Trimmer: Nils Frei (SUI) / Bowman: Yves Detrey (SUI)
Current Series ranking: 3rd position
GAC Pindar (NZL)
Skipper/Helm: William Tiller (NZL) / Tactician: Brad Farrand (NZL) / Mainsail Trimmer: Stewart Dodson (NZL) / Headsail Trimmer: Harry Thurston (NZL) / Bowman: Matt Steven (NZL)
Current Series ranking: 6th position
Skipper/Helm: Jérôme Clerc (SUI) / Tactician: Bruno Barbarin (FRA) / Mainsail Trimmer: Arnaud Psarofaghis (SUI) / Headsail Trimmer: Cédric Schmidt (SUI) / Bowman: Bryan Mettraux (SUI)
Current Series ranking: 8th position
Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT)
Skipper/Helm: Roman Hagara (AUT) / Tactician: Hans Peter Steinacher (AUT) / Mainsail Trimmer: Matthew Adams (GBR) / Headsail Trimmer: Pierre Le Clainche (FRA) / Bowman: Graeme Spence (AUS)
Current Series ranking: 2nd position
SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN)
Co-Skipper/Helm: Jes Gram-Hansen (DEN) / Co-Skipper/Tactician: Rasmus Køstner (DEN) / Mainsail trimmer: Peter Cumming (GBR) / Headsail Trimmer: Mikkel Røssberg (DEN) / Bowman: Nicolai Sehested (DEN)
Current Series ranking: 8th position
Team Aberdeen Singapore (SIN)
Skipper/Tactician: Scott Glen Sydney (SIN) / Helm: Robert Greenhalgh (GBR) / Mainsail trimmer: Andrew Walsh (GBR) / Headsail trimmer: Justin Wong (SIN) / Bowman: Rick Peacock (GBR)
Current Series ranking: 4th position*
Team Korea (KOR)
Skipper/Helm: Peter Burling (NLZ) / Tactician: Blair Tuke (NZL) / Mainsail Trimmer: Mark Bulkeley (GBR) / Headsail Trimmer: Sungwok Kim (KOR) / Bowman: Sung Ahn Jung (KOR)
Current Series ranking: 5th position
The Wave, Muscat (OMA)
Skipper/Helm: Leigh McMillan (GBR) / Tactician: Ed Smyth (NZL) / Mainsail Trimmer: Pete Greenhalgh (GBR) / Headsail Trimmer: Musab Al Hadi (OMA) / Bowman: Hashim Al Rashdi (OMA)
Current Series ranking: 1st position