by Oman Sail
EFG Sailing Arabia – The Tour 2014 – is the region’s only offshore endurance race that spans 760 nautical mile over four countries from Bahrain to Oman. Frenchman Sidney Gavignet and team on EFG Bank (Monaco) sailed an impressive, tactical 60-nautical mile sprint from Abu Dhabi to Dubai, to win leg three.
EFG Bank - Sailing Arabia The Tour 2014. Leg three from The Abu Dhabi - Dubia. EFG Bank Monaco skippered by Sidney Gavignet (FRA) - EFG Sailing Arabia – The Tour 2014
Gavignet and his professional team on EFG Bank (Monaco), who now lead the series by overall by three points, used their huge bank of experience to their advantage by positioning themselves perfectly for a 40-degree windshift on the right-hand side of the course. This put them over two minutes ahead at the first mark in the light three to five knots breeze.
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 Katie Pettibone and her 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.
Twenty-one-year-old Marcel Herrera, skipper of 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.'
Commenting on today’s Leg four, Herrera said: 'We did well in this leg last year, so we are hoping for the same again. We learned a lesson from yesterday to keep it simple, so that is what we will take with us on Leg four.'
Katie Pettibone and her all girl team on 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 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 three and enjoyed Dubai Offshore Sailing Club’s warm hospitality at Jumeirah Beach, teams are this morning preparing for the start of Leg four to Ras Al Khaimah.
Commenting on the results of Leg three, Issa Al Ismaili, Director of Events and the race’s organiser at Oman Sail said: 'We are almost half way to the final of the EFG Sailing Arabia – The Tour 2014 and in this year’s edition we have seen the competition levels go higher and we also the fitness levels of the sailors. We anticipate the second half to be just as enthralling with every leg producing a different story.'
At 43 nautical 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.
This event, which runs from February 9-24, is now in its fourth year and 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.
EFG Sailing Arabia - The Tour results
EFG BANK - Sailing Arabia The Tour 2014. Leg 3 from The Abu Dhabi - Dubia. Al Thuraya Bank Muscat skippered by Katherine Pettibone (USA) - EFG Sailing Arabia – The Tour 2014
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