EFG Sailing Arabia in UAE

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EFG Sailing Arabia in UAE

As the ‘EFG Sailing Arabia – The Tour’ stops off in the UAE, four competing sailors tell us all about the race.

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Published: Sun 16 Feb 2014, 11:00 AM

Last updated: Fri 3 Apr 2015, 6:08 PM

FIFTEEN DAYS ON the sea, 15 days away from loved ones, 15 days to complete one race.

This year’s ‘EFG Sailing Arabia – The Tour’ will see six teams battling it out for a trophy from the Gulf region’s only annual long-distance offshore sailing event.

Teams from Europe and the GCC set off from Bahrain on Sunday, February 9, sailing 760 nautical miles until they reach their final destination in Muscat, Oman.

The race stopped in Abu Dhabi yesterday and lands in Dubai today and tomorrow, followed by in port racing in Ras Al Khaimah on February 18.

The youngest skipper to race in UAE waters, 21-year-old Marcel Herrera of Messe Frankfurt Sailing Team, said, “I prepare for this race like any other person would prepare for an upcoming challenge. I’m spending a lot more time on the water, so family and friends have been great at understanding that the race is the priority right now. It’s an exciting time but it’s also a time for dedication to make sure I’m mentally and physically ready for the start of the race. There is a lot of pressure as this is the third time I’ve participated in ‘EFG Sailing Arabia – The Tour’. This year I want to make sure our team is standing on the podium at the end,” Herrera continued.

But how does Herrera find balance between the race and a normal life on dry land?

“I just try to stay as focused as I can on the task at hand. There’s a time for everything and right now my time is for sailing.”

Team Renaissance’s Omani Skipper and the first Arab to sail around the world, Mohsin Al Busaidi, spoke to us on how he prepares for a big race.

“As part of this race takes place in my home country, I’m fortunate that I get to spend time training in these waters. I always want to do my best but I really put in the extra effort for this race to bring home the trophy.

“What makes ‘EFG Sailing Arabia – The Tour’ so special for me is that it’s one of the few times that I really get to see my family and friends welcome me into a race port. I try to focus on that feeling while I’m preparing for the race, a feeling of success all around.”

The other Omani entrant competing is Al-Thuraya Bank Muscat, an all-female team skippered by Katie Pettibone.

Of her team’s preparation, Katie says, “Some of us have little ones at home, so while we’re excited and train hard, we also try to spend a lot of quality time with loved ones leading up to the race. I think it’s hard for anyone that has to leave for 15 days, but we love what we do and we’re fortunate to get a chance to do it in the region. It’s always great to know that you’re going to come home to welcoming faces.”

Other competing sailors such as racing great Sidney Gavignet said of his time leading up to the race, “It’s a fantastic and exciting time. After experiencing a European winter in the last couple of months, it’s good to start the competitive season in warm weather conditions against some great competitors.” Sidney is helm of the sponsor’s campaign entry EFG Bank (Monaco).

For more information on the race schedule and stops, visit www.sailingarabiathetour.com.

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