Finnish Sailing Skipper to Pick Singaporean Top Crew

Ludde Ingvall, big sailing boat legend from Finland, has anchored up his 30-metre-long carbon fibre boat “Audi Ultra” at the Marina Bay for the past week, while searching for crew members to join a team of sailors willing to fight to put Singapore on the map in international sailing competitions.
 Yesterday, Tuesday 5 September, Singaporean sailor Tan Wearn Haw, who is also the CEO of Singapore Sailing, was announced as the co-skipper of the boat.
 Over the next few weeks, Ludde Ingvall and Tan Wearn Haw will be conducting trials to select a 24 to 28-men crew, half of whom will be Singaporeans, and it seems there is plenty of talent to fill that quota.
 Some 70 Singaporeans have already sent in their applications and the SSF will be recommending 12 sailors and six reserves for the team.
 The crew will be selected by Sept 23 and are scheduled to compete in the China Coast Regatta from Oct 14 to 16, the Hong Kong to Vietnam race (Oct 19) and the 25th Phuket Kings Cup Regatta from Dec 3 to 10.
 Singapore Sailing Federation (SSF) general manager Jason Lim was delighted with the initiative.
 “This is an opportunity for young sailors to have a shot and jump start into big boat sailing, which we could not afford”, he said.
 “They will get a chance to leap frog into a new level of sailing and we don’t want to miss it,” he said.
 The Audi Ultra boat is one of the most advanced and light-weight ocean racing yachts worldwide. Observers said that basing in in Singapore would help to boost the sport of sailing in Singapore as it competes in regional races. The team of Singapore sailors mixed with half 50 percent international crew members could soon be challenging the likes of 2010 champion Oracle Racing and Team New Zealand in the prestigious America’s Cup if the plan by the owners of the Audi ultra Super Maxi racing yacht takes off.
 Ludde Ingvall, who has twice raced around the world first thought about the idea 10 years ago, but at the time it was too early for Singapore, he says.
 “With the talent pool available today, we feel we can help advance them into big boat and professional sailing,” he now says.
 “If this runs well here, in 2013, we could have a Singapore-built boat racing in the United States, Europe, and win. The objective is to have the Number 1 Super Maxi in the world.”
 “The talent is here and they just need to be given a chance. We are quite happy to have people sail with us and move on. If we become the stepping stone, in 2013 we could have five big boats competing for Singapore as individual groups and have a big skill set and crew pool to think about the America’s Cup.”
 Singaporean co-skipper Tan agrees:
 “Sailing is a very interesting and dynamic industry, so in terms of a sailor, as a sportsmen, you do need platforms like this to cross over into the real world, the ‘big boat world’ and that’s where the professional sailors are,” said Mr Tan.

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