by Oman Sail
In EFG Sailing Arabia – The Tour 2014, after another win today in the first part of Leg 6 (race 13a) from Dibba to Musannah, Oman, Sidney Gavignet and his team on EFG Bank (Monaco) have strengthened their overall lead.
Leg 6 Dibba-Musannah EFG Bank (Monaco) Skipper: Sidney Gavignet (FRA) 22-02-14 - EFG Sailing Arabia – The Tour 2014
Due to light winds forecast overnight, the race committee decided to split the 139-nautical mile Leg 6 (race 13) in two – race 13a and 13b – with each race using the 0.5 Factor scoring system. This meant the total scores for both races was equal to Factor 1 – the usual scoring for the Tour's offshore legs.
With just one coastal race (13b), and Leg 6 to complete, EFG Bank (Monaco) are seven points clear ahead of Marcel Herrera and Messe Frankfurt Sailing Team, which is currently lying in second.
The first part of Leg 6 from Dibba was over a 30 nautical mile course, and after a short half a mile beat, the fleet endured a close reach to the next waypoint, through the busy shipping channel.
From there on the fleet enjoyed tight racing in a seven knots east-north-easterly breeze. So close was the racing in the Farr 30s, that at the finish there were just 49 second separating the top three boats – EFG Bank (Monaco) in first, Messe Frankfurt Sailing Team second, and Katie Pettibone and her all girl crew on Al-Thuraya Bank Muscat third.
As he stepped ashore this morning, Mohmmed Al Mujaini, pitman on the winning boat EFG Bank (Monaco) said he was delighted to have finally arrived home in Oman: 'It was a difficult race, not just because of the lack of wind, but also because of the huge amounts of cargo ships on our route which we had to weave our way through. It was difficult to stay ahead of Messe Frankfurt Sailing Team, but we did, just, and we are pleased to have finally arrived in Oman. I am extra excited because my house is just three minutes from the marina, so I am looking forward to taking my friends there to relax.'
Marcel Herrera skipper of Messe Frankfurt Sailing Team said it was a difficult leg and frustrating at times particularly at the finish. 'We tried everything we could to pass EFG Bank (Monaco), but once again they had that tiny bit of a lead just at the right moment and crossed the line just ahead of us, this time by just 23 seconds.
'I think the highlight had to be weaving our way through the anchored ships scattered along a big section of the coast. Here we had to choose to go above or below on a really tight reach, so that was quite exciting.'
Khalood Al Uraimi in charge of mast on Al-Thuraya Bank Muscat, said: 'It is so great to have done so well on this leg of the course in particular, because Oman is my home. It is really, really special to have sailed such a long distance and arrive here. I feel very proud.
Having arrived at Musannah Marina at 0830 this morning after a long journey by motor overnight, teams are now enjoying a few hours of rest and relaxation before they head out on the water again for the second part of Leg 6 – race 13b – a 20 nautical mile coastal race.
Tomorrow (February 24) is the start of Leg seven, the final sprint to Muscat. At 41 nautical miles, this is the shortest leg of the Tour. Depending on the wind conditions, the fleet should arrive at The Wave, Muscat by 1500, in time for the final prizegiving.
This event, which started on February 9 and finishes in Muscat tomorrow (February 24), is now in its fourth year. It 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.
The 760-nautical mile course spans over four countries from Bahrain to Muscat, Oman, with eight of the region’s premier marinas playing host as stopover venues during the seven legs of the course.