Early lead to The Wave
Marina Bay Reservoir will provide a temporary residence for the eight Extreme 40s for the next three days of stadium sailing, and if today’s racing is anything to go by, this event, supported by Aberdeen Asset Management, could be anyone’s game.
Four races today were staged as the local conditions tested the skills of the fleet with some big wind shifts making the game a little bit harder, and some teams ultimately suffered more than others as they tried to find the formula on the tight Singaporean race course.
Morgan Larson, (who replaces Ernesto Bertarelli as skipper in Singapore), and his Swiss compatriots on Alinghi won the first and last races of the day, but it didn’t quite compare to Leigh McMillan’s consistent performance whose The Wave, Muscat took leads after day one.
Talking tactics, McMillan, who won the Extreme Sailing Series 2013 season opener on home waters in Muscat, Oman, explained: “In light winds you’ve got a lot more time to actually talk about the situations and to react. You need to maintain your composure and be very, very patient with the conditions, and make sure you do things at the right time. It’s great to be in Singapore and to be here racing within these buildings. With these conditions it’s quite tough but as the wind picks up I’m sure it will be full on and we won’t have much time to react and think about what’s happening, we will just have to sail as it comes.”
The Swiss crew on Realteam, skippered by the 2012 D35 champion Jérome Clerc, led going into the final race, using their light wind Swiss lake sailing experience to the best of their ability on the tight Singapore stadium. But mistakes are punished hard on such short courses, and a poor start in the final race ultimately cost them not only the race, but the pole position at the end of day one.
Clerc, whose team managed finished the day in fourth place, said: “This is more challenging than lake sailing, the buildings make it hard to predict so it’s tough. Things change quickly on this race course – you have to sail well every time, sometimes you make one mistake and you can’t follow the fleet and you finish at the end of the race. You have to be all over everything.”
Early today, when asked about the influx of new talent for 2013, Roman Hagara, skipper of Red Bull Sailing Team, told the assembled press “the young guns are going to push us all the way” and today he was spot on.
Kiwi Will Tiller, skipper of GAC Pindar in his debut year on the Extreme Sailing Series, showed he as talented a fleet racer as well as a match racer, putting in consistent performances including a win in race three to wrap up the day in third place, tied on points with Alinghi.
Speaking after racing, an enthused Tiller said: “It’s awesome to just be racing in such a cool spot in the middle of the city here, it’s pretty spectacular. We’re really enjoying it and we feel more comfortable in these light wind conditions at the moment and we hope it stays this way, but it’s about getting consistent results which is how you do well in this fleet, so learning how to do that is what we’re trying to do.”
The debutant home nation invitational entry Team Aberdeen Singapore have the youngest skipper in Scott Glen Sydney and the first ever Singaporean skipper of an Extreme 40 is hoping to get to grips with the Extreme 40 quickly. After a challenging first day, which sees the team hold eighth place, Scott was certain the team could improve on today’s performance. ”Boat handling and team work wise, we definitely improved from our training days, and the base is really set well for the next few days. It still very early in the Act and anyone can still win this. Hopefully luck will shift our way tomorrow. We will get in to the right mindset and just be open to anything that might happen, you never know with Singapore and the forecast!”
It wasn’t just the Extreme 40s who got to test the waters of Marina Bay today, and Red Bull wakeboard team rider Sasha Christian kept the onlookers from the surrounding skyscrapers entertained as she took her board for a tow behind the Red Bull Sailing Team Extreme 40 before racing kicked in!
Tomorrow the event opens to the public, and with a city wide-advertising campaign in place, thousands of locals are expected to descend over the next three days to watch the Extreme 40s race in the heart of their city and support their local sailors and team.
The fleet will race in two sessions tomorrow, the first at 0830 local time to make the most of the morning breeze, before an afternoon session which will be streamed online from 1800 local time (1200 CEST).
1st The Wave, Muscat (OMA) Leigh McMillan, Ed Smyth, Pete Greenhalgh, Musab Al Hadi, Hashim Al Rashdi 32 points.
2nd Alinghi (SUI) Morgan Larson, Stuart Pollard, Pierre-Yves Jorand, Nils Frei, Yves Detrey 29 points.
3rd GAC Pindar (NZL) Will Tiller, Brad Farrand, Stewart Dodson, Harry Thurston, Matt Steven 29 points.
4th Realteam (SUI) Jérome Clerc, Bruno Barbarin, Arnaud Psarofaghis, Cédric Schmidt, Bryan Mettraux 27 points.
5th Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) Roman Hagara, Hans Peter Steinacher, Matthew Adams, Pierre Le Clainche, Graeme Spence 26 points.
6th SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN) Jes Gram-Hansen, Rasmus Kostner, Pete Cumming, Mikkel Røssberg, Nicolai Sehested 25 points.
7th Team Korea (KOR) Peter Burling, Blair Tuke, Mark Bulkeley, Sungwok Kim, Sung Ahn Jung 23 points.
8th Team Aberdeen Singapore (SIN) Scott Glen Sydney, Robert Greenhalgh, Andrew Walsh, Justin Wong, Rick Peacock 17 points.