Gavignet first into Dubai
Sidney Gavignet's EFG Bank (Monaco) sailed an impressive, tactical 60 mile sprint down the UAE coast from Abu Dhabi to Dubai, to win leg 3 and take the overall lead of the EFG Sailing Arabia–The Tour 2014 by 3 points.
Frenchman Gavignet and his pro crew used their huge bank of experience, positioning themselves perfectly for a 40° windshift on the right-hand side of the course. This put them over two minutes ahead at the first mark in the light 3-5 knot wind. They then went on to extend their lead and, in a freshening sea breeze, finished the race 10 minutes ahead of the next boat, Messe Frankfurt Sailing Team.
Sidney Gavignet commented: “Reading the windshift just before the first mark was crucial for us. We were expecting this right shift and it worked out to plan, and I think we had good boat speed too.”
The closest battle in the fleet however, was between American Katie Pettibone, skippering the all-girl team on Al-Thuraya Bank Muscat, and Messe Frankfurt Sailing Team. Although Messe Frankfurt Sailing Team managed overtake and finish one minute ahead in second place, they certainly didn’t have it their own way. Marcel Herrera, 21-year-old skipper of the British student team on Messe Frankfurt Sailing Team commented: “We were particularly pleased because our instruments broke so we had to rely on good sailing technique, and it was the driver and mainsheet combination that really worked well.
“The girls were sailing really fast and we had a bit of trouble trying to get ahead of them. We managed split from them by going below a container ship while they went above. That resulted in enough separation for us to come back onto the breeze and get ahead."
Katie Pettibone's Al-Thuraya Bank Muscat had a good start and read the shifts well. Although they were disappointed not to have retained second position, were thrilled to have finally gained a podium result. Pettibone, a former America³/America True AC and EF/Amer Sports Too round the world race crew, commented: “Every day the team work is getting better. The girls are really good at weight trim in the light, shifty conditions but we were just unable to match Messe Frankfurt Sailing Team for speed by going too high when passing a ship. That gave them the edge and they were able to pull away.”
Having recharged from leg 3 and enjoyed Dubai Offshore Sailing Club’s warm hospitality at Jumeirah Beach, teams are this morning preparing for the start of Leg 4 to Ras Al Khaimah. At 43 miles, this is the shortest leg of the course and one of the most straightforward. On the way to the start the fleet will leave Dubai’s famous landmarks, including The World to starboard, before making their way to Al Hamra Marina and Yacht Club, Ras Al Khaimah.