Averda captures first leg

Averda captures first leg
Team Averda takes the first offshore leg of the nine-team EFG Sailing Arabia.

Dubai - Herrera's young British-Irish crew handle conditions well


Moni Mathews

Published: Thu 18 Feb 2016, 12:02 AM

Marcel Herrera's young Team Averda hit a grand double, when they captured the first offshore leg of the nine-team EFG Sailing Arabia - The Tour from Dubai to Abu Dhabi, on Tuesday night, to add to their victory in the Dubai in-port series, a day earlier.
Coming home in second spot in Leg 1 were Sidney Gavignet and his EFG Bank Monaco crew after an incredibly tight and well fought out 61 nautical miles (nm) leg. One nautical mile is equivalent to 1.85km.
The win puts Team Averda firmly at the top of the overall standings in the sixth chapter of the GCC's longest sailing drag racing championship which touches five ports before finishing in Muscat on February 29.
As the race progressed into the final home stretch of less than 3nm, there was a fantastic battle for third place. Renaissance Services who held third spot for most of the race, yielded under severe pressure before letting Team Zain to take the position, 4nm away. Zain maintained the good work till the finish line.
Team Averda and EFG Bank Monaco were engaged in tactical moves within the last five miles as both crews worked overtime at almost an increased speed of 7.4 knots (conversion - 1.852 kilometres per hour), off Emirates Palace Marina, the destination, the race's official position provider Will Carson stated.
Marcel Herrera, the team Averda skipper said before the race that if the in-port races were any indications of the sea conditions, they stood a good chance when the event got going on Tuesday morning.
"The choppy conditions come in only in part and bits and keeping a close vigil every minute will be key factor when we take up the first major assignment tomorrow (Tuesday). The boat feels good and a minor repair job on the second thinner sail material should do the job," the 23-year old who did his under graduation course in marine sciences and navigation in Plymouth, told the Khaleej Times on Monday.
At around 7.30pm on Tuesday, it got tight at the top as EFG Bank Monaco tried to rein in Team Averda when the fleet entered the last 12nm of the leg, just two minutes separating the two top teams on the water, with Renaissance Services only five minutes adrift.
Just 16 minutes separated the entire nine-boat fleet at the passing mark of leg 1 from Dubai to Abu Dhabi. The winners rounded the mark first followed closely by Sidney Gavignet's EFG Bank Monaco. Then it was Renaissance Services, TU Delft Challenge, Team Zain, Bienne Voile, Al Mouj, Muscat, Oman Airports-Al Thuraya Womens Team and Team Mangold with around 30 miles still to sail to the finish line.

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