Leg 1 and a podium position for Team Messe Frankfurt

Leg 1 and a podium position for Team Messe Frankfurt

Thursday February 14 2013 Author: Sam Holliday Location: United Kingdom

Day 3 brought with it tireless hours motoring until finally starting Leg.1 of ‘Sailing Arabia the Tour’ at 05h30m local time (02h30m GMT). What started with a 100 km tactically challenging race turned out to be a 40 km drag race to the finish in winds of 5-7 knots.

As we set out from the dock at noon for a 13h00m start we soon realized our fate, as the race committee announced over the VHF that the start would be moved to the next mark, which turned out to be two marks and 60 kms down the race track. Although it was a mundane night it allowed the boys to get a good night’s sleep as they took shifts looking out for Qatari coast guards and Oil tankers! Joking aside we encountered both! With a search light pinned to our stern the questions started (in Arabic) so many thanks go to the crew of Abu Dhabi for getting us out of what could have been an interesting situation! Although a seemingly boring night Team Messe Frankfurt were joined by all forms of marine life ranging from: turtles, stingrays, flying fish and a barracuda (evidence can be found on our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/PlymouthSailingTeam).

As the evening went on race time came closer.With the race committee announcing the imminent start and the laying of the mark -
the team started running lines and checking for current around the mark. PK our navigator shouted tactics and helped us nail the start line on starboard tack quickly changing to the remaining 39.5km of port tack. As the race went on BAE systems extended its lead to around 500m closely followed by EFG bank skippered by French Multihull legend and MOD70 
skipper Sydney Gavignet and ourselves. For half an hour the positions remained unchanged until we rolled EFG on the windward side, allowing us second place up until 30 minutes from the end. BAE systems lead for the entirety finishing a mere 3 minutes in front of us. However what was more irritating was being rolled by EFG. Finishing 3rd was bittersweet, but finishing less than a boat length behind such a successful crew was a fantastic achievement in itself. We have proved we are out here to compete not just soak up the sun although saying this there was not a single sunburnt face at dinner tonight!

As you may remember I mentioned in Saturday’s newsletter we were over the stipulated 525kgs weight limit for the aggregated
weight of the crew. After being permitted by the race
committee and fellow competitors to carry over this, today we decided to remove the 7th crew member from the boat, in order to keep the integrity of our entry and the race whilst retaining a truly level playing field. The team would also like to take this opportunity to thank the Race Committee and our fellow competitors for your understanding and allowing us to take our 7th man during Leg.1, solving the issue of transit through Saudi Arabia.

Tomorrow marks the first of the inshore races, with dock off at 11h00m local time (08h00m GMT). The boys are looking forward to returning to more familiar racing - one of our targets for this regatta was to do well in the inshore series so hopefully tomorrow my evening newsletter will be a successful one!

Heres hoping, Sam 

To follow the race as it unfolds and watch our progress you can get involved through any of the following links:

Race Tracker: http://www.sailingarabiathetour.com/page/Track-the-Race

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PlymouthSailingTeam

Twitter: https://twitter.com/plym_sail_team



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