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EFG Bank (Monaco) claims first in-ports

Tight racing for the EFG Bank Sailing Arabia-The Tour boats in RAK

Tuesday February 18th 2014, Author: James Boyd, Location: United Arab Emirates

Two firsts and a second place in yesterday’s  Inport races at Al Hamra Marina & Yacht Club in Ras Al Khaimah saw Sidney Gavignet and team on EFG Bank (Monaco) take the overall win comfortably.

The team, on EFG Bank (Monaco) was, once again, spot on identifying the shifts in race one, giving them an early advantage up the first beat of the tight course within the harbour. In doing so, Sidney Gavignet and his crew managed to keep Kay Heemskerk and the Dutch student crew on Team Delft Challenge–TU Delft as well as Katie Pettibone and her all female team on Al-Thuraya Bank Muscat, in second and third places respectively.

EFG Bank (Monaco) repeated her performance in race two with both Team Delft Challenge–TU Delft and Al-Thuraya Bank Muscat challenging off the line, but Gavignet's crew popped out in front again to lead Team Delft Challenge–TU Delft by just five seconds at the finish.

All fired up for the final race of the day, Al-Thuraya Bank Muscat was neck and neck with Team Delft Challenge–TU Delft off the line, while EFG Bank (Monaco) was OCS, but Gavignet's pro crew was soon back in contention and managed to out-manoeuvre the girls to gain second place, leaving Team Delft Challenge–TU Delft to take the bullet.

Having won all four offshore legs since the start of The Tour in Baharin 10 days ago, Gavignet, was delighted to finally win a day of Inport races, something that has eluded his team so far this year: “It was good fun sailing in a stadium like this and to win, but it really highlights the fact it is far from finished. We need to remain focused, continue to make progress, and keep enjoying it."

Kay Heemskerk, skipper of Team Delft Challenge–TU Delft in second place added: “The most important thing on these small courses is boathandling and keeping it as simple as possible. We all worked well."

Al-Thuraya Bank Muscat’s skipper, Katie Pettibone, commented: “We had great day and good racing against EFG Bank (Monaco). Our teamwork is coming on, but this sort of short/sharp racing really highlights any weaknesses so we have a lot to work on, but it’s definitely going the right way."

The teams are now preparing for leg 5 of the EFG Sailing Arabia–The Tour, which starts at 1030 tomorrow (Wednesday). This 104 mile leg to Dibba sees the fleet exiting the Gulf, passing through the Strait of Hormuz and out into the Oman Sea to the finish Dibba. The leg involves passing the dramatic Musandam Peninsula where the flat coastline suddenly gives way to dramatic mountains on the south side of the Strait. The leg is due to take approximately 24 hours to complete, depending on the wind strength.

Sidney Gavignet looked forward to it: “Tomorrow’s offshore leg to Dibba will be tough. The challenge is not to be too tired because the race really starts once we are over the peninsula. With the wind coming over the mountains it will be very shifty and good tactics will come into play.”

Kay Heemskerk added: This is the most beautiful leg of the tour and, unlike last year, we are hoping for a daylight rounding of the peninsular this time. It will be tough however, with loads of sail changes because we are sailing a lot of different angles.”

Katie Pettibone:  “The next offshore leg is going to be downwind initially and obviously very complicated navigationally with a lot of land effects, it is a long leg, it is going to be a long overnight so we need to prepare mentally.”


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