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EFG Bank Sailing Arabia-The Tour reaches Abu Dhabi

Thursday February 13th 2014, Author: James Boyd, Location: United Arab Emirates

Team Delft Challenge – TU Delft, skippered by Kay Heemskerk, crossed the Abu Dhabi finish line to claim honours on leg 2 of the EFG Sailing Arabia–The Tour 2014. The Dutch team Sidney Gavignet's team on EFG Bank (Monaco) across the line by just two minutes. However, there is currently a protest pending between the two boats, the result of which could effect the overall result of this race. This will be heard tomorrow.

Team Delft Challenge – TU Delft's impressive speed is a reflection of just how much training this team of Dutch university students put in after their fourth place last year. They took the lead early on in the leg from Doha, Qatar to Abu Dhabi and maintained their pace throughout the 159 mile leg. They played a game of cat and mouse with EFG Bank (Monaco) all the way down the long run, but managed to nose into the lead which they maintained to the finish line.

A tired but delighted Heemskerk commented: “It was tough but enjoyable. The key was staying focused on speed and the crew did a fantastic job. We swapped the lead throughout and both passed the last mark into Abu Dhabi at the same time. That’s how tight it was.”

The closeness of the racing is an indication of how the fleet of Farr 30 one designs are with the difference between winning and losing depending completely on the skill of the crew.

EFG Bank (Monaco) crossed the line 0837 this morning, didn’t have a particularly straightforward race. Sidney Gavignet and his team took control of the first beat and led at the mark just off Doha, but subsequently encountered problems with weed.

“This leg was very much about boat speed and avoiding seaweed," Gavignet recounted. "We had one at the beginning, which delayed us a bit. Then we overtook Team Delft Challenge – TU Delft five miles from the finish and we stalled again, which didn’t help with our speed coming up to the finish line.”

Third across the line this morning at 08.43.20 was Messe Frankfurt Sailing Team, just six minutes behind Team Delft Challenge – TU Delft.

Messe Frankfurt Sailing Team, which won both inport races in Doha on Tuesday, had a reasonable start and were in contention, but couldn’t quite match the speed of the leading two boats that managed to pull away from the pack.

Skipper Marcel Herrera said: “It was a good fun leg and we were happy with our result. It was close and, in the great scheme of things, a few minutes behind EFG Bank (Monaco) after 159 miles is not bad going. To be honest it was really hard to overtake on that leg, so once the leaders got ahead, it was a case of keeping the focus on speed.”

At 159 nautical miles, this leg was the longest leg of the EFG Sailing Arabia – The Tour 2014, and also the most challenging with the oil fields scattered along route. Huge flames from the rigs produced a natural light for the crews last night, and an interesting sight for those who’d not seen it before.

The second inport race will take place on Saturday at Water Bridge, the area of water, which connects Abu Dhabi Corniche – in front of Abu Dhabi Sailing & Yacht Club – with the sea. This stretch of water is an ideal location not only for the competing teams but also for spectators who are expected to turn out in force to watch the action on Saturday. Up to three races are scheduled with the first start at 1100.

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