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Singapore readies for Extreme Sailing

Updated: 2013-04-11 07:21
By China Daily ( China Daily)

The wind might be mild, but the competition will be fierce.

Eight crews representing 11 nationalities will compete in Singapore this week as the Extreme Sailing circuit makes its second stop of the year, following the opening act in Muscat, Oman, in early March.

Light winds are predicted and that will require a change in tactics for the normally speedy races, said Red Bull's Roman Hagara, a two-time Olympic gold medalist who is yet to win on the circuit.

"It's our third time racing in Singapore, and we expect tough weather conditions," Hagara said. "It will be a light-wind event, which just means you have to sail the boats differently, use different tactics, and that should be an advantage for the more experienced teams."

The series features 40-foot multi-hull Extreme 40 sailboats, racing in a unique stadium-style format designed to be spectator friendly. The boats race in tight formation close to shore, and the Internet is rife with videos of the vessels dramatically capsizing.

The event runs from Thursday through to Sunday, with live webcasts at extremesailingseries.com beginning when the spectator portion of the act starts on Friday.

The eight teams feature crews who collectively boast 28 world championships, 20 Olympic campaigns and 25 America's Cups.

Robert Greenhalgh, who won the first Extreme Sailing Series, will helm Team Aberdeen Singapore, which was invited as a local crew.

Greenhalgh said the event has evolved over the years.

"There are many more competitive teams now than when I first sailed an Extreme 40," he said. "For sure The Wave, Muscat and Red Bull Sailing Team are the ones to beat, I think, but the final podium spot is up for grabs possibly. ... I am looking forward to racing with a new team and hopefully getting some good results, but to finish in the top half won't be easy."

Leigh McMillan piloted The Wave to victory in the opening act in Muscat.

The third of eight acts will be held in Qingdao from May 2-5.

(China Daily 04/11/2013 page23)

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