Act 2 of the 2013 Extreme Sailing Series has begun in Singapore under the gaze of the towering downtown city skyline where the Extreme Sailing Series Race Village is nestled in the heart this bustling city.
Marina Bay Reservoir will provide a temporary residence for the eight Extreme 40s for the next three days of Stadium Sailing, and if today's racing is anything to go by, Act 2, with the support of Local Event main partner Aberdeen Asset Management, could be anyone's game.
Four races were staged as the local conditions tested the skills of the fleet with some big wind shifts making the game a little bit harder, and some teams ultimately suffered more than others as they tried to find the formula on the tight Singaporean race course. Morgan Larson, (who replaces Ernesto Bertarelli as skipper in Singapore), and his Swiss America's Cup compatriots on Alinghi won the first and last races of the day, but it didn't quite compare to Leigh McMillan's consistent performance whose Omani team The Wave, Muscat took honours after day one.
Talking tactics, McMillan, who won Act 1 on home waters in Muscat Oman, explained, "In light winds you've got a lot more time to actually talk about the situations and to react. You need to maintain your composure and be very, very patient with the conditions, and make sure you do things at the right time. It's great to be in Singapore and to be here racing within these buildings. With these conditions it's quite tough but as the wind picks up I'm sure it will be full on and we won't have much time to react and think about what's happening, we will just have to sail as it comes."
The Swiss on Realteam headed by the 2012 D35 Champion Jérome Clerc led going into the final race, using their light wind Swiss lake sailing experience to the best of their ability on the tight Singapore stadium. But mistakes are punished hard on such short courses, and a poor start in the final race ultimately cost them not only the race, but the pole position at the end of day one. Clerc, whose team still managed to finish the day in an impressive fourth place, said, "This is more challenging than lake sailing, the buildings make it hard to predict so it's tough. Things change quickly on this race course - you have to sail well every time, sometimes you make one mistake and you can't follow the fleet and you finish at the end of the race. You have to be all over everything."
At the pre-event skippers press conference today, when asked about the influx of new talent for 2013, Roman Hagara, one of the most experienced Extreme 40 skippers from Red Bull Sailing Team, told the national and international press "the young guns are going to push us all the way" and today he was spot on. Kiwi Will Tiller, skipper of GAC Pindar in his debut year on the Extreme Sailing Series, who is currently ranked number five in the ISAF World Match Racing rankings, showed he as talented a fleet racer as a match racer, putting in consistent performances including a win in race three to wrap up the day in third place, tied on points with Alinghi. Speaking after racing, an enthused Tiller said, "It's awesome to just be racing in such a cool spot in the middle of the city here, it's pretty spectacular. We're really enjoying it and we feel more comfortable in these light wind conditions at the moment and we hope it stays this way, but it's about getting consistent results which is how you do well in this fleet, so learning how to do that is what we're trying to do."
The debutant home nation invitational entry Team Aberdeen Singapore have the youngest skipper onboard, Scott Glen Sydney, and the first ever Singaporean skipper of an Extreme 40 is hoping to get to grips with the Extreme 40 quickly. After a challenging first day, which sees the team finish in eighth, Scott was certain the team could improve on today's performance. "Boat handling and team work wise, we definitely improved from our training days, and the base is really set well for the next few days. It still very early in the Act and anyone can still win this. Hopefully luck will shift our way tomorrow. We will get in to the right mindset and just be open to anything that might happen, you never know with Singapore and the forecast!"
The fleet will race in two sessions tomorrow, the first at 0830 local time to make the most of the morning breeze, before an afternoon session which will be streamed online from 1800 local time (1200 CEST) on the official event website.
Extreme Sailing Series 2013 Act 2, Singapore standings after Day 1, 4 races (11.04.13)
Position / Team / Points
1. The Wave, Muscat (OMA) Leigh McMillan 32 points.
2. Alinghi (SUI) Morgan Larson 29 points.
3. GAC Pindar (NZL) Will Tiller 29 points.
4. Realteam (SUI) Jérome Clerc 27 points.
5. Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) Roman Hagara 26 points.
6. SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN) Jes Gram-Hansen 25 points.
7. Team Korea (KOR) Peter Burling 23 points.
8. Team Aberdeen Singapore (SIN) Scott Glen Sydney 17 points.