Tuesday, 24 November 2009

X40s: BT leads after Day 2 of Extreme Sailing Series Asia

China Team & The Wave, Muscat, Hong Kong. Image copyright Tong Kar Fai/OC Events.

by Lou Newlands

Day 2 of racing in Victoria Harbour for the inaugural Extreme Sailing Series Asia saw the six Extreme 40s challenged in a shifty 4 - 12 knot wind, as they raced just metres from the shoreline on both sides of the harbour. It was BT who controlled the fleet, taking a hatrick of wins to head up the top of the leaderboard with 50 points. Just two points off the pace was the European Series Champions, Oman Sail's Masirah with 48 points and newcomers to the Extreme 40 fleet, Red Bull Extreme Sailing Team, lying in third with 33 points.

Tan Wearn Haw, who is racing onboard the home nation's China Team, commented, "This is the first time the Extreme 40s have arrived in Hong Kong and I feel very excited about that. We are going to Singapore soon and I feel this is a very good opportunity to show this new type of sailing to a new generation in Asia."

Masirah racing in Victoria Harbour, Hong Kong, day 2, Extreme Sailing Series Asia. Image copyright Guy Nowell/OC Events.

The inaugural Extreme Sailing Series Asia is in Hong Kong to demonstrate the potential of bringing a full scale series, with public shoreside activities, to the region in 2010/2011. It builds on the success of the past three years of the European Series which this summer saw over 200,000 people turning out to watch the Extreme 40s as they raced in venues including Venice, Paris, Amsterdam and the home of British yachting Cowes on the Isle of Wight.

Tan Wearn Haw (middle) with Thierry Barot (right) onboard the home nation China Team at the inaugural Extreme Sailing Series Asia in Hong Kong november 2009. Image copyright Guy Nowell/OC Events.

In the afternoon, 20 local children were given the chance of a lifetime when they had the chance to sail onboard three of the Extreme 40s in the fleet. A group of six children stepped onboard Rumbo Almería, skippered by double Olympic Gold Medallist, Shirley Robertson. "That was brilliant fun," said Callum Gregor, aged 10. "The racing has been really exciting to watch and before today, I thought I wanted to be a 49er sailor but now after seeing these boats, I want to skipper an Extreme 40 just like Shirley!" The children spent an hour racing around the harbour and sailed the boats themselves, taking the helm and the winches. "It's great to give the young kids the chance to sail with us. "I think some of them will be challenging us in the near future!" said Shirley.

Fleet racing on day 2. Image copyright Guy Nowell/OC Events.

Sunday will see the six Extreme 40s take part in the prestigious Around the Island Race, when a fleet of over 200 sail boats will race around Hong Kong Island. The Extreme 40s are anticipated to complete a fast circumnavigation, possibly even taking line honours and will start at 0940. The current record in the "all multihulls" class is held by Atmosphere, when it completed the circuit in two hours, 44 minutes and 37 seconds in 2005.

Extreme Sailing Series Asia

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