EFG Bank win yet again in Sailing Arabia

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EFG Bank win yet again in Sailing Arabia

Gavinet-led team clinch Leg 4 of Sailing Arabia between Dubai to RAK

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Published: Wed 19 Feb 2014, 10:49 AM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 9:10 PM

Yachts line up in front of the iconic Dubai skyline during Leg 4 of EFG Sailing Arabia - The Tour 2014. — Supplied photo

Overall series leaders, EFG Bank (Monaco), skippered by Sidney Gavignet won Leg 4 of the EFG Sailing Arabia — The Tour 2014, from Dubai to Ras Al Khaimah yesterday, despite being one of two teams over the line at the start.

However, it didn’t take too long for the seasoned professional team to re-compose itself and begin its assault on the leading position in this, the region’s the only long distance offshore sailing endurance race, which spans 760-nautical miles between Bahrain and Muscat.

Speaking after the leg from Dubai to RAK, Issa Al Ismaili, Director of Events for Oman Sail said: “Leg 4 of EFG Sailing Arabia — The Tour proved to be as competitive as ever with teams challenging each other for a podium finish.

“This was a great pre cursor to an in-port sailing where close teams are eager to put points between them in the standings. Every sailor has continued to grow over the course of the race and we’ve seen that as the finishes have been closer and closer,” Al Ismaili continued.

The team managed to wriggle its way through into the lead in the shifty conditions, leaving Messe Frankfurt Sailing Team skippered by Marcel Herrera, and initial race leader, Team Delft Challenge — TU Delft, skippered by Kay Heemskerk, in second and third places respectively.

Gavignet EFG Bank (Monaco) commented: “We were over the line at the start, and the Navy over too, right next to us, to leeward. It was quite detrimental to us but we took some good shifts and pulled through.

“A key to our win was tweaking the rig. We have been working on the rig from the start of the series and we are now close to very good trim for this mainsail, which is a very positive point.

“It was also very important to be first at the first mark because from there on it was difficult to overtake. We had to play with a few fishing nets too in the latter stages of the race but managed them well. The fishermen came to us with a torch. In fact there seemed to be one fisherman per net which helped the fleet a lot.”

Heemskerk and Team Delft Challenge — TU Delft who won both In-port races in Abu Dhabi, sailed well off the startline and had good pace up the beat, however, 10 miles into the 46-mile race, fellow students on Messe Frankfurt Sailing Team, took the favoured left-hand side of the course and took the advantage. However, as they rounded the windward mark EFG Bank (Monaco) moved into the lead, a position she was never to relinquish.

Marcel Herrera commented: “We were pleased with our speed. It was all about sail trim and adjusting in the rig because the wind was up and down and all over the place. We suffered with gear failure just after the start when the bottom of our mainsheet system jammed but once sorted we pulled through into the lead. Once EFG Bank (Monaco) had got through however, the leg to the finish became a procession so there was no chance to overtake.”

Heemskerk skipper of Team Delft Challenge – TU Delft, said: “We led the first upwind beat but it was tough and difficult conditions because the wind picked up to 15-18kts. We picked up a good right shift and chose right but EFG and Messe Frankfurt Sailing Team went left, and it paid.”

The team is now preparing for the third round of in-port races in Ras Al Khaimah at Al Hamra Marina & Yacht Club today. With two wins apiece in the Inport racing so far Messe Frankfurt Sailing Team, and Team Delft Challenge – TU Delft, are keen to repeat their performances, which means there’ll be no shortage of top level racing once again.

The short windward/leeward course will be set close to the shore, to allow spectators who have turned up at Al Hamra Marina & Yacht Club for the event to see just how close and exciting EFG Sailing Arabia – The Tour 2014 really is.

The mix of offshore racing around the Gulf Peninsula and Inport Racing gives not only gives crews the opportunity to showcase their versatility on the racecourse, but also allows the region’s spectators and supporter to embrace EFG Sailing Arabia – The Tour and everything it stands for, which is to encourage sailing across the GCC by showcasing local role models in a hope to motivate other youngsters into sailing in the future.

This event, which runs from February 9-24, is now in its fourth year and offers 15 days of intense sailing with a mix of inport and offshore races to test the skills of not only the region’s best sailing talent, but also a selection of elite world class sailors.

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