Singapore set for Extreme Sailing Series bow

Team Aberdeen Singapore sailors Scott Sydney and Justin Wong are eager to go up against the world’s best when the 2013 Extreme Sailing Series comes to town.

Other Sports: Extreme Sailing Series
Alison Chin

By Alison Chin

The South East Asian nation is no stranger to the Extreme-40 catamaran event, having earned its place as an official stop on the eight-Act global tour by hosting test and exhibition races in recent years.

With the newly-introduced "invitational team" concept coinciding with Singapore's debut in the competition, the Singapore Sailing Federation have selected aspiring Olympic Laser sailor Sydney and Asian Games keelboat match racing gold medallist Wong to pit their skills in an Aberdeen Asset Management-backed team.

Speaking to FOX SPORTS, Wong was confident that Singapore waters would provide a unique challenge to the eight other international crews set to descend on the island come April.

"Singapore can complement the rest of the other sailing venues very well," he stated.

"I guess Phil [Race Director Phil Lawrence] wants us to have a variety of conditions and Singapore provides the light-wind experience compared to the other events, like for example in Nice, it's going to be windy. So in that sense, Singapore provides that extra edge for the Extreme [Sailing] Series."

With the catamarans navigating challenging and tactical courses close to shore, the Extreme Sailing Series is often a more engaging competition for audiences compared to other sailing events. 

Lawrence believes Act 2, held in Singapore, should prove to be one of the most intimate yet exhilarating legs of the series.

"Races are very, very short. They are very, very close to the shore, very close to the public. Admission is free to the public, so they can stand around the shoreline and look at the event. The boats will be sailing within metres of the shore, so it really will be very close," he explained.

"We're expecting very, very close racing here. It's one of our smallest pieces of water that we will be racing on, so the boats will be extremely close together, hopefully not too many collisions. I think that will mix up the results quite a bit, so hopefully Team Aberdeen Singapore can get in amongst the more established crews."

"Over four days of the event, we'll probably run up to 30 races, which is many more than would be at a normal sailing event. The races typically only last 10 to maybe 15 minutes each, and then we go straight into the next race. So it really is fast action. I think that the public, even if they're not sailing enthusiasts, really enjoy the show."

The Singapore Sailing Federation is set to appoint three other established names from the international sailing community to complete the Team Aberdeen Singapore line-up.

Both Sydney and Wong are eager to meet their new team-mates and expect the Extreme Sailing Series experience to be an invaluable step toward achieving their goals in the sport.

"I'm very excited at the prospect of competing in the Extreme Sailing Series. I think it's a great opportunity for sailing in Singapore as well as myself. I hope to use this experience to do better in my Olympic campaign in the future," Sydney shared.

"I actually look forward to sailing with these international sailors; they'll bring a wealth of experience to the table. I guess that I can speak on behalf of Scott as well, that we want to improve as sailors, and Aberdeen Asset Management and Extreme Sailing Series has given us the chance to that. So, I would like to thank them on behalf of myself and Scott and Singapore sailing, for giving us this opportunity," enthused Wong.

Act 2 of the Extreme Sailing Series 2013 takes place from the 11th to the 14thof April in Singapore, before the competition moves to Qingdao, China.

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