Marina Reservoir will play host to the second round of the inaugural Extreme Sailing Series Asia starting this Friday 11th December. Six state of the art 40-foot catamarans, each crewed by a team of four top professional sailors, and racing at up to 40 miles per hour, will be battling it out for supremacy on the tight race courses just metres off the shoreline by the Singapore Flyer. Twenty-four sailors from eight nations and between them, three double Olympic Gold medallists, 24 World Championship titles, nine America's Cup events, eight Round the World navigations and 114 National Championship titles!
Guy Nowell/OC EventsMark Turner, CEO of OC Group, the parent company to organisers OC Events, commented, “In the first event in Hong Kong of this 'demo' series, we really met our objectives and took over 60 potential sponsors, key opinion formers and the media out on the water to watch the sailing and race onboard in the fifth man spots. There aren't many other sports where corporate guests can actually take part in the scoring action – it's a unique experience.
“We are keen to return in 2010/2011 with a full scale series with public entertainment package, similar to Europe with shoreside activities, entertainment, concerts and a bespoke VIP set-up, and will be looking to come with the support of, and to work closely with, the host venues.”
David Voth, Senior Director, Sports Marketing Group, the Singapore Sports Council (SSC) said: “The SSC is excited about showcasing such a key sailing race for the first time in the Marina Bay area. We hope that this will set the stage for future watersports events to be potentially held in the area, which will bring exciting life, colour and activities into Singapore's exciting annual events calendar.”
Local Singaporean sailor Tan Wearn Haw, helming CHINA TEAM is hoping his knowledge of the sometimes fickle Singapore winds will put the team to good stead. CHINA TEAM finished third in the first round of the Asian series in Hong Kong, surprising both themselves and their competitors. Helmsman Tan Wearn Haw, who challenged for the last America's Cup for China, started his sailing career in Singapore. “The next five days of racing will bring a real mixed bag of conditions and really close racing. The winds will be tricky and testing, but definitely hoping for great winds, even if it is from rain squalls so the Extreme 40s can show off some exhilarating racing and capture the imagination of Singapore!”
CHINA TEAM has a specific goal to build on its 2007 America's Cup experience, as Tan explains: “We have a long-term vision of not just excelling in the World's biggest sailing events like the Extreme Sailing Series, but using our experience along the way to establish a pipeline programme to develop the next generation of world class professional sailors in Asia. The upcoming years will be really important as we look to put our plans in action and chalk up some impressive results. The podium finish in Hong Kong was a fantastic start, but we really want to consolidate that here in Singapore.”
CHINA TEAM will be on the start line under the Singapore Flyer in Marina Reservoir on Friday up against some of the world's very best sailors. Another newcomer to the circuit is Red Bull Extreme Sailing Team, skippered by double Olympic Gold Medallist Roman Hagara and his Olympic crew, Hans-Peter Steinacher as tactician. The team experienced equipment failure in Hong Kong and are hunting down a podium position in Singapore. Asked what it is about the circuit that attracts top international sailors like themselves, Hagara commented, “The excitement of the boat. I think it's one of the fastest boats that can race around the track. No other class that has done this before so that's what we are looking for. We have 25 years in Olympic Sailing; this is the way to go for the future of the sport.”
Two teams are entered from the Sultanate of Oman, Masirah and The Wave, Muscat. Masirah were crowned Champions of the European Series, in the final race of the final day, after 118 races across Europe, as well as winning the first Asian Series event in Hong Kong. Skipper Pete Cumming was building his Extreme 40 today in the pit lane of the Singapore F1 track.
“The racetrack here is like every race area in Europe you took us to: small! We have been really surprised by the amount of wind as we were expecting to come here with it being hot, little wind and very humid, but it's been great. The race area isn't as surrounded by buildings as we thought so it looks like one of the more open venues we've had. Certainly a lot more open than Hong Kong so I think if the wind stays up, there should be some fast, exciting racing.”
Racing onboard both the Sultanate of Oman boats are two Omani nationals, drawn from the Oman Sail project. British Double World Champion, Paul Campbell-James will be joined by Khamis Al Bourrai onboard The Wave, Muscat: “Hong Kong was my first event as a professional sailor sailing with a professional team and this is only my second event. I hope to achieve and get more improvement on my sailing skills and my professional skills. This time I will be sailing on The Wave, Muscat so I'll be sailing with different sailors so, hopefully, I will learn new skills from them and build my sailing career.” His Oman Sail colleague Nasser Almasari will race with Pete Cumming onboard Masirah.
Double Olympic Gold Medallist Shirley Robertson will skipper Rumbo Almería with a strong European team including Nick Hutton, one of the most experienced Extreme sailors on the circuit. Australian Nick Moloney, who came second in Hong Kong, will skipper BT.
Six to eight races are planned from Friday 11-Tuesday 15 December. Although this year it is not planned as a public event, for Extreme sailing fans, the best place to watch will be from the F1 Pit Lane at the foot of the Singapore Flyer.