Fourteen of Singapore's young sailors got the ride of their life this morning as they stepped onboard two Extreme 40s with some of the world's best sailors at the Marina Reservoir. The local sailors spent the morning onboard Masirah and China Team picking up tips from Olympians Leigh McMillan, Mark Bulkeley and Hugh Styles as well as Thierry Barot and Singapore's very own Tan Wearn Haw
BT, Masirah and Red Bull Extreme Sailing Team racing in Marina Reservoir on day 4 of the Extreme Sailing Series Asia Singapore. Image copyright Th. Martinez/Sea&Co/OC Events.
by Lou Newlands
This was the first experience of its kind for the local sailors, sailing alongside their more experienced peers. Griselda Khng, 2006 Optimist Female World Champion and 2009 ISAF Youth Worlds Championship bronze medallist, said, "This is a totally different boat to what I'm used to and it was so amazing and inspiring to sail with the sailors. The boat is so much faster and more exciting than I ever thought. There is an adrenaline rush especially when the crew is counting on you to steer the boat. I hope I'll get an opportunity to race onboard the Extreme 40s if and when they return to Singapore."
Fourteen children from Singapore Sailing enjoy a morning onboard Oman Sail's Masirah at the Extreme Sailing Series Asia. Image copyright Th. Martinez/Sea&Co/OC Events.
Low Teo Ping, President of the Singapore Sailing Federation and Vice-President of the International Sailing Federation gave the event the thumbs up. "It is a big treat for the young sailors to sail on the Extreme 40s. The sailors are used to dinghies which are relatively slower though just as precise. I'm sure the sailors will remember today's experience for a long time."
It wasn't just fun for the youth sailors, the opportunity to take the stars of the future out sailing was also a treat for the professional crews. Leigh McMillan, Helm of Oman Sail's Masirah explained, "It is always a really nice experience. They are my favourite guests to take out because they are always so excited. It is a huge experience for them, particularly where they are in their sailing careers. And these kids are so talented, we had an Optimist World Champion, it was awesome!
Singapore Youth Sailors Enjoy the X40s
"When they step onboard, they don't think they will be able to sail the boats, they thought it would be totally beyond them. But we had them all steering the boat and pulling the spinnakers up, doing everything and they loved it. You can see it in their faces. It's an awesome experience for all of us and that's what's so great about these boats - you get the opportunity to share something with your guests first hand."
Racing began at 2pm and The Wave, Muscat put on the performance of the day, rising from fifth overall to lie second behind their stablemates Oman Sail Masirah after six races.
Race five of the day was a short, sharp speed trial with all six Extreme 40s selecting when they could cross the start line in a six minute window, picking their moment for the best wind to get them around the 1.1km course in the quickest time. It was Red Bull Extreme Sailing Team, the fourth team over the start line, that completed the course in the quickest time of 3.01, with Oman Sail's Masirah hot on their heels just two seconds behind.
Double-Olympic Gold Medalist, Hans-Peter Steinacher, the Tactician onboard Red Bull Extreme Sailing Team was buzzing at the end of the race, "It's really fun! The chance to do something completely different is great. You have to sometimes do something different, turn it over. We have to learn for the future. We've never raced like this before, it's the first time, but we are doing it pretty well. That's two we have won! You need a bit of luck, but you also need your eyes. You need to fight for the speed, fight to the end. There's all to play for tomorrow, totally. That's how it should be."
At the end of the day at the top of the leaderboard it was a Sultanate of Oman one-two with Masirah continuing their dominance, but with The Wave, Muscat jumping from fifth to second place. Paul Campbell-James, skipper of The Wave, Muscat, was punching the air as they crossed the finish line in the last race. "We have had an awesome day. We ended up with three firsts, a second, a third and a fourth. We really needed a good day after not such a great run yesterday and we are back in contention.
Extreme 40s racing just metres off the shoreline in Singapore for the inaugural Extreme Sailing Series Asia. Image copyright Th. Martinez/Sea&Co/OC Events.
"We were fifth going into today and now we are second overall and 13 points off the lead so all to play for tomorrow with the big double points last race."
The pressure will remain on The Wave, Muscat tomorrow as Red Bull Extreme Sailing Team is hot on their tail, trailing by just 1 point and China Team by a further two.
Racing continues at 2pm in Marina Reservoir for the final day of the Extreme Sailing Series Asia, Singapore.
Results after Day 4 of the Extreme Sailing Series Asia, Singapore: Oman Sail Masirah: 96
The Wave, Muscat: 83
Red Bull Extreme Sailing Team: 82
China Team: 80
BT: 68 Rumbo Almeria: 54
Extreme Sailing Series Asia