The final day of racing in Singapore started with a light two knot wind and the six teams tactically fighting their way around the racecourse, searching for the best possible winds. The skippers and crews were tested by the Race Committee as they began two races with the more challenging downwind starts as the wind picked up to a more consistent 10 knots. But just before the start of the fifth and final race of the day, there was plenty of drama as a thunderstorm struck the reservoir soaking the sailors and the VIP guests onboard to the skin.
The heavy downpour was relentless, forcing the Race Committee to abandon the race and the day's sailing for safety reasons as lightening powered down over Marina Reservoir. With the abandonment called, the calculators were out as the valuable last race double points were added to the previous race, but Masirah remained firm at the top of the leaderboard, continuing their domination of the Extreme 40 fleet. This win capitalises on their European crown in November and their win two weeks ago in the first leg of this Asian circuit in Hong Kong at the end of November.
Pete Cumming, skipper of Masirah, commented, “It's been a really good week for the team and we are thrilled with the win. We would like to thank the Singapore Authorities for giving us the opportunity to sail here and to everyone who helped to make this event possible.”
Masirah was presented with a Merlion statue and orchids by Singapore Olympic swimmer and Nominated Member of Parliament Joscelin Yeo, who was the Guest-of-Honour for the day. Said Joscelin, who had earlier experienced sailing on the Extreme 40s, “I didn't know what to expect as extreme sailing is not a common sport here in Singapore. It was very exciting and the adrenaline rush I felt was amazing. People are probably surprised that we can do something like this in Singapore and it shows that we as a country are open and exposed to new sporting events and ideas. It is definitely something I would like to experience again!”
With racing every afternoon, the past five days have been busy for the international fleet of Extreme 40 sailors. Every morning they have taken VIP and media guests out sailing on the reservoir, to experience first hand what it is like to race onboard an Extreme 40. Guests have included government officials, TV crews, journalists, key opinion formers from the business and sailing worlds here in Singapore, as well as youth sailors in the Singapore Olympic sailing squad.
Masirah's win brings their score in the overall Extreme Sailing Series Asia scoreboard to a perfect 12, but the real battle is for second place with four teams in contention. BT and China Team and tied in second place with 7 points apiece and Red Bull Extreme Sailing Team and The Wave, Muscat just behind with 6.
“The response in Singapore has been phenomenal. The facilities here at Marina Bay are world class and I think it is tailormade for an event like the Extreme Sailing Series. I think we have really helped people understand what we are trying to do with the staging of this event and we hope to come back next year with a full-scale event,” concluded John McKenna, Commercial Director of OC Events.
Paul Campbell-James, The Wave, Muscat:
“This is the first time we have ever done downwind starts and we struggled to get a grip of them. We are learning, the main reason why we are here. We were unlucky not to get third in Hong Kong, to get third here is an improvement and hopefully we'll win in Oman.
“Third is a good result overall because in the whole series there is us, BT, Red Bull and China Team all vying hard. So a great incentive going into Oman.”
Hugh Styles, Helm, China Team:
“It's been a rollercoaster here, pouring rain and lightening to soaring heat, no wind to lots of wind. There are one incident when we nearly capsized because there was so much breeze.
“Six boats means that it is really intense on the racecourse, lots of entertaining guests who step on with wide eyes, but leave with enormous smiles on their faces.
“For us with our racing we have had probably more race wins than we have ever had as a team, so really exciting for us and we've sailed consistently. A few bits of bad luck, but we are a new team and building ourselves into a better unit, so really exciting. We have come fourth overall, so really looking forward to the next one, looking to step it up and always get in the top two, fighting for the lead and looking forward to the next opportunity.”
Thierry Barot, Skipper, China Team:
“Today, was not a perfect day. It was a little bit difficult for us. Problem for the right positioning and a real gamble with the wind which was turning everywhere, but it is part of the sport!
“We've had big improvements since Hong Kong, missing some luck today, but looking forward to Oman.
“Singapore was fantastic, the scenery was quite amazing with buildings all around with the amazing architecture so close to us. The chance to have the public around us next time will be great, a 360 degree amphitheatre; a fantastic venue. I really hope that we will be back next year.”
Pete Cumming, Skipper, Masirah:
“A really special event for us. Our latest recruit Nasser, who has been with us for eight months in the Oman Sail Team, so for him to be up against the best sailors in the World and do the business here in Singapore, he is a real credit for our team and the standard of sailors that are being produced in Oman Sail.
“Two regattas down, one to go and probably the most exciting one for the team as we are going to sail in our home waters in Muscat. We are really looking forward to the final event in Oman. A chance to sail in our home waters, it is going to be great to sail in front of our home crowds, we are hoping a lot of peole to come down and support us and the Omn Sail project and a chance for the team to see where they can get with their sailing. We are trying to inspire the young Omanis and for them to see these great boats come back to Muscat will be great.”
Nasser Salim Almasari, Bowman, Oman Sail Masirah:
“Today was the last day here in Singapore and we are extremely happy. It is important to raise our flag to the top of the sky! We are looking forward to sail in Oman and Insha'allah we will win there too.”
Roman Hagara, Skipper, Red Bull Extreme Sailing Team:
“The weather fits our style, we are light winds specialists and we had some good starts. It was a good day for us. It has been really nice here, with a great backdrop with the big wheel and close to the F1 racetrack. It is really, really outstanding and I hope we come back here next year.
Tan Wearn Haw, Trimmer, China Team:
“This sailing in Singapore is very convenient. I don't have to fly half way round the World so I can just roll out of bed each morning! Most of the sailing is normally off the East coast or on the open sea so it is amazing that we managed to race right in the middle of the city, something so different!”
The Extreme Sailing Series Asia now moves on to Muscat, Oman, for the third and final leg from 1st-5th February 2010.
Final Leaderboard for Round 2 at Singapore:
1. Oman Sail's Masirah 121 points
2. Red Bull Extreme Sailing Team 111
3. The Wave, Muscat 100
4. China Team 92
5. BT 87
6. Rumbo Almeira 77
Overall Leaderboard after Round 1 & 2:
1. Oman Sail's Masirah 12 points
2. BT 7
2. China Team 7
4. The Wave, Muscat 6
4. Red Bull Extreme Sailing Team 6
6. Rumbo Almeira 4