EFG Sailing Arabia The Tour 2014 - Teams arrive in Abu Dhabi
by Oman Sail on 14 Feb 2014
In EFG Sailing Arabia -The Tour 2014 -Team Delft Challenge, TU Delft, with Kay Heemskerk at the helm, crossed the finish line of Leg 2 in an exciting finish into Abu Dhabi, beating Frenchman Sidney Gavignet and team on EFG Bank (Monaco) across the line by just two minutes.
EFG BANK - Sailing Arabia The Tour 2014. Leg2 from Qatar - Abu Dhabi. Team Delft Challenge – TU Delft (NED). Winners of leg 2 skippered by Kay Heemskerk (NED) - EFG Sailing Arabia - The Tour 2014 © Lloyd Images
However, there is currently a protest pending between EFG Bank (Monaco) and Team Delft Challenge – TU Delft, the result of which could have an effect on the overall result of this race. The hearing will be on Friday 14 February.
Today’s impressive speed by Team Delft Challenge – TU Delf is a reflection of just how much training this team of university students put in after their fourth place last year. They took the lead early on in the race from Doha to Abu Dhabi and maintained 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 ahead and crossed the finish line just two minutes ahead to secure line honours.
A tired but delighted Heemskerk commenting on the race, said: '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 even-matched the fleet of Farr 30s are with the difference between winning and losing depending completely on the skill of the crew.
The course at 159 nautical miles from Doha to Abu Dhabi, is the longest leg of the EFG Sailing Arabia – The Tour 2014, and it is also the most challenging particularly 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 experienced it before.
Sidney Gavignet who crossed the line 0837 this morning, didn’t have a particularly straightforward race. He and his team on EFG Bank (Monaco), took control of the first beat and led at the mark just off Doha but encountered problems with weed.
Gavignet commenting on the race, said: 'This leg was very much about boat speed and avoiding seaweed. 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 into Abu Dhabi this morning at 08.43.20 was Messe Frankfurt Sailing Team, just six minutes behind Team Delft Challenge – TU Delft.
Messe Frankfurt Sailing Team, who won both inport races in Doha on Tuesday, didn’t have it all their own way during Leg 2. They 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.
Marcel Herrera commenting as he stepped ashore, 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.'
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.
The second inport race of the EFG Sailing Arabia – The Tour 2014, is taking place on Saturday at Water Bridge, the area of water, which connect Abu Dhabi Cornish – in front of Abu Dhabi Sailing and 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.
EFG Sailing Arabia - The Tour Results (Provisional)
Event website: click here