Day 1 and BT, CHINA TEAM, Masirah and Red Bull Extreme Sailing Team are all tied at the top of the Singapore leaderboard with 23 points apiece in this inaugural series in Asia. The six Extreme 40s were racing within metres of the shoreline under the World's tallest observation wheel, the Singapore Flyer.
Day 1 was dedicated as a Media and VIP day, a chance for the national and international media and key opinion formers from the city to come and experience Extreme 40 racing and see the potential of bringing a full scale series, with shoreside entertainment, to the city in 2010/11.
Local sailor, Tan Wearn Haw, helm of CHINA TEAM was pleased with his team's performance: “It was great to open the series with a win, it's starting to come together. I was surprised at the conditions – really good, nice sunshine, great wind, it couldn't have started better. So hopefully we'll get more race days like that over the next four days and it will be an awesome event.
“We've had a busy day today with VIP guests and the media onboard, but they all have had a great day. It's such a unique, positive experience with everyone onboard, they had their jaws wide open when flying a hull and I think it makes for great pictures and a great experience for the 5th man guests. Flying a hull in front of The Flyer was great!”
One of the VIPs sailing today was Nils Razmilovich, a derivatives trader who lives in Singapore; “This was my first experience of sailing Extreme 40s and I have to say it was absolutely fantastic. It was truly enjoyable, for sheer speed and excitement, it is unrivalled and I've been sailing for quite a number of years.
“I think it is a wonderful thing that the Extreme 40s have come here to Singapore. The city has a lot to offer and bringing the series here will hopefully bring more people in to sailing and show off the beautiful city of Singapore.”
Gilles Chiorri, the Extreme Sailing Series Race Manager pushed the teams hard today with four different courses over the six races, “Today we have experienced a new approach, trying to make a different course as often as possible to not only make sure we explore the potential of the race course, but also to bring some fresh experience for the sailors and making sure they are not using always the same tactics and strategy patterns because the wind can be very specific here.”
After four courses today including classic windward/leewards and a triangle course the final race of the day was a time trial over a 1.5km course. The teams had a six minute start window, and then had to complete the course as quickly as possible, with The Wave, Muscat taking the line honours. For Khamis Al Bourrai, an Omani national who sails onboard The Wave, Muscat, it was a good end to his 34th birthday today. Khamis, was sailing for the first time on The Wave, Muscat; his normal team being Masirah: “It was really good today and thrilling to win the time trial. Sailing with this team, it was my first time, learning from them and picking up things. It isn't that different, the tactics, the thinking and knowing what is going on. I can't wait to bring these boats and these teams to my home country of Oman, my country's waters. I'll be so pleased and so happy. At least the Omanis will then see these boats in Oman and they will see first hand what we have been doing all over Europe and in Asia.”
“It was a really hard day today,” said joint leader Pete Cumming, the skipper of Oman Sail's Masirah. “The conditions were shiftier than we had expected, really tricky. We had some really different race courses today. Gilles, the Race Manager, said that he would have some fun with us and they are definitely throwing in some different courses, six races, four different race courses, and I think every inch of the Reservoir here in Singapore was reached. It has been good, interesting. It is definitely going to be one of those events when consistency counts, we had a race when we turned a second into a fifth so it will be hard and pretty unpredictable. We have five days to get used to it and as the fleet learns the location they will start learning all the ladders. We definitely found a few snakes today!”
Racing will continue tomorrow, Saturday 12 December from 2pm.