They could see the flags flying and hear the crowd cheering from shore.
Sailing on familiar waters, they seemed to have the homeground advantage over their opponents.
But Marina Bay turned out to be the pitfall of Singapore's sailors yesterday, as none of the teams who competed won their races.
In an ironic twist, the Republic's only gold medal came from the final race, which had been cancelled due to a timeout.
A lack of sailing wind had delayed yesterday's races by two-and-a-half hours and, as a result, the female keelboat race could not start before 5.30pm, as per competition rules.
The gold medal was automatically awarded to Singapore's Jovina Choo, Terena Lam, Dawn Liu and Daniella Ng, who had won all their previous round-robin races.
"It's a shame that we didn't get to sail today," Ng told The New Paper yesterday.
"We trained really hard for this and, even though we were already in a strong position, we still wanted to have a good race today.
"It's kind of an anti-climactic win."
Still, the Republic's 10-gold haul in sailing this year was their highest in the Games' history, surpassing their previous record of seven in 2005.
Ben Tan, president of the Singapore Sailing Federation, said: "Winning 10 golds is a strong showing from our sailors.
"They exceeded our pre-Games expectations and we're very proud of their achievements."
Having put up an impressive performance in the previous round-robin and qualifying races, Singapore were in strong contention for the four gold medals on offer.
But, in the first three races of the day, sailors struggled with the unpredictable winds and flat current.
Singapore's Colin Ng, Anthony Kiong and Stanley Chan had been leading comfortably in the first race of the male match-racing keelboat final.
But they got stuck in still water, as the wind direction suddenly changed.
The crowd had their hearts in their mouths, as the wind blew in the Philippines' team's favour instead, allowing them to accelerate and gain steadily on the Singaporeans.
The cheers grew louder in a bid to spur the Singapore boat on, but it was in vain, as the Philippines easily overtook them on the final stretch.
"It was really hard with the wind coming in through the buildings. We didn't have much luck in the first race," lamented Ng, who just a few days ago had repeated his 1993 SEA Games success with Kiong in the keelboat fleet racing event.
"In the second race, they managed to get to the left side first and it was difficult for us to recover from there."
Despite facing tough conditions, Ng maintained that Marina Bay was still a good venue for sailing competitions.
"Most of the time when we sail, no one can see us.
"So having the sport here is still a good way to promote it."
Victoria Chan, Jessica Goh and Elizabeth Yin were left rueing their luck, after they lost to Malaysia in the female team-racing Laser Radial event in a four-way tie breaker.
The race could not be completed due to the time-out and both teams were level with a 8-13 win each.
After a long deliberation by officials, the gold medal was awarded to Malaysia who had won the last round-robin series.
This article was first published on June 15, 2015.
Get The New Paper for more stories.