Sailing: Peru cheers Singapore win

By Shane Hurndell of Hawke's Bay Today

Singapore's Optiworlds sailing team coach Fernando Alegre raced to the Napier Sailing Club bar last night.

"I get the first beer and Orestes gets the rest for the remainder of the night... that's how it works in this country?" Alegre asked after his team won the two-day teams segment of the world championships which ended yesterday.

Alegre or "Happy" as he is nicknamed because that's what his surname means in Spanish, was referring to fellow Peruvian Orestes Reyes.

The pair have been mates for the past 24 years and raced each other in the Optimist class when they were in under-15s.

Surprisingly the pair were as jubilant as each other last night.

"Peru wins no matter which we way you look at it... there will be no animosity towards Happy next time he returns home. People will be thrilled for him," Reyes said.

Singapore won the best-of-three-race final 2-1. They won the first race by 10 points.

Non-sailors among the spectators thought Singapore had also won the second race which was drawn 18-all. Singapore had the first boat across the line. However they were told Singapore lost because they crossed the finish line first.

The deciding race again saw Singapore win by 10 points but it was tougher than the margin suggests as there were stages when Alegre's troops were doing their best to lose it. Instead of taking the pace approach, which they had adopted successfully throughout the day, they were hanging around their opponents in search of confrontation.

"Win or lose in the final we would have still been happy. To us it's all about maintaining consistency and we did that," Alegre said referring to the fact Singapore have been on the podium in this event for the past six years.

Peru have been on the podium for the past three years. Reyes pointed out he and Alegre shared the same coach boat during the first three days of the individuals' segment of the regatta which involves 210 sailors from 48 countries.

"We mentioned to each other it would be nice if we both made the final of the teams event... we did and it was strange being in separate coach boats."

Singapore, who had three females and one male, were unbeaten the previous day and qualified for the final after four races which saw them beat Denmark, Peru, Netherlands and defending champions Thailand. Peru had to sail six races to the final and before losing to Singapore they beat Denmark. Peru's other wins were against Argentina, Malaysia, Netherlands and Thailand.

Three wind changes added to the challenge in what was a perfect day's sailing yesterday in 12-14 knot breezes.

One of Alegre's team, Ryan Lo, leads the individual segment of the regatta by nine points from Bart Lambriex of the Netherlands. This segment resumes on Saturday (today is a lay day) with the first race being the seventh of 15 officials hope to complete before Monday afternoon.

Alegre said it was too early to suggest yesterday's success could be a good omen for Lo.

His mate Reyes was still in earshot.

One of Reyes' team, Javier Arribas, is in third place, 11 points behind Lo. It would comes as no surprise if Alegre and Reyes are celebrating again on Monday night ... to them a Singapore victory will be equally as good as a Peru one.

- APNZ

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