By REDintern Benedict Teo
National Sailing Centre, Thursday-Sunday, June 5-8, 2014 — 420 pair Loh Jia Yi and Jonathan Yeo won the Singapore National 420 championship with a total of 16 points after nine races and a medal race. They narrowly edged out Kimberly Lim and Savannah Siew, who finished two points behind with 18. Yukie Yokoyama and Samantha Neubronner finished third with 27 points.
This was the first time that the pair of Jia Yi and Jonathan had beaten Kimberly and Savannah who were the recent winners of the Team of the Year award at the Singapore Sports Awards 2014. When inquired about their formula for success, Jonathan said, “We did not expect it (to finish first) but were aiming to win, knowing it was possible. From previous regattas and training sessions, we have been improving quite rapidly as a team, and raced this regatta with hope of doing well.”
On the first day of the event, sailors were greeted with strong breezes of around 10-15 knots. However, on the following days, the winds dropped and started to shift from place to place. Day to day, there were several storms which delayed the racing.
Besides rewarding the top-performing sailors with medals of recognition, this regatta also gave the sailors to experience and experiment with shifty, light-wind conditions.
Michelle Kirke, mother of 420 helm Australian, Sarah Kirke, said, “One of the reasons why I’ve sent my daughter to participate in this regatta is to give her the opportunity to experience sailing in Singapore’s light-wind conditions.” Australia has predominantly strong winds, and Australian sailors rarely get exposure to light-wind sailing unless they travel overseas to areas like Singapore.
“Another reason to invest in this regatta is to let my daughter experience sailing in an unaccustomed boat, in a different country. They learn to be better prepared and organised for unforeseen circumstances, like gear failure, which is less likely to occur when using one’s own boat.”
Michelle also commented, “The Singaporean sailors and coaches were very helpful to Sarah and Zane (Sarah’s crew), and also provided great hospitality. When my daughter and her crew faced an equipment fault out at sea, they were swiftly assisted by their Singaporean friends, which is a commendable act of sportsmanship.”