left corner left corner
China Daily Website

Watch out for salty language

Updated: 2013-04-15 08:02
By Dusty Lane in Singapore ( China Daily)

The phrase "curse like a sailor" exists for a reason.

But if you really want to hear a sailor curse, throw him in the middle of a race with a crew he's barely met, much less practiced with.

The Extreme Sailing Series has long experimented with bringing in "invitational" local boats to participate in each of its eight acts. The idea is to give the local crowd a crew to cheer for, promote the sport in the host city and give local sailors a chance to compete alongside more experienced international sailors and work with local media.

In Singapore's case, that meant bringing in Brit Robert Greenhalgh - who's been on hiatus from the circuit after winning the overall title in his first season, and finishing second in his second - to help out with Team Aberdeen. Greenhalgh also hitched on with the local crew in Oman for the series' first act, and said the teams' experience can vary wildly.

"This is a new team, and it's a very different experience," he said. "Everyone (in Oman) was very experienced. But, the guys here are all great, we're all getting along and working well together.

"I'd much rather have my own team."

Greenhalgh said he had "basically zero time" to practice with his new crew - he signed on for the event only two weeks in advance - so it's no surprise the invitational teams aren't usually among the more competitive boats. Team Aberdeen finished the event last in the standings.

Aboard Team Aberdeen on Saturday, the stress level appeared to be even higher than it normally is on the E40 boats as it finished a disappointing seventh in the fourth race.

Greenhalgh said a lack of practice time also means the newly-formed teams don't enjoy the same unspoken communication the regular crews do.

"That gives you the opportunity to talk about more tactical stuff, rather than having to discuss basic boat-handling things," he said on Sunday. "A lot of things that other teams are doing automatically during the races (we have to talk about)."

Nick Moloney, who helped develop the Extreme Sailing concept before spending four years on the circuit, now works as an ambassador and commentator.

He said his own stints as a sailor for invitational teams were so disheartening, they drove him into a break from the sport.

"(Greenhalgh) is suffering so hard right now, he's coming in last right now," Moloney said. "He's a guy that was a dominant force in the series before.

"To go from that sort of domination to being on the bottom rung, that can be pretty hard to swallow."

With the cost of fielding and staffing an invitational boat approaching $70,000 at times, it can be difficult to find enough sponsorship dollars, which means not all events field a local boat.

The next stop will though. That comes in Qingdao from May 2-5, and will feature a yet-to-be-named crew manning Team China.


(China Daily 04/15/2013 page24)

  • Group a building block for Africa

    An unusually heavy downpour hit Durban for two days before the BRICS summit's debut on African soil, but interest for a better platform for emerging markets were still sparked at the summit.