by Rami Ayoob
At the 2012 Kingdom Match Race, Estonia had a commanding start yesterday when the event got underway at the Bahrain Sailing Club near Al Jazayer Beach in Zallaq.
2012 Kingdom Match Race
Mati Sepp, who is ranked 24th in the ISAF world ranking, the highest in the championship, skippered the four-member crew of Estonia to four successive wins in Group 'A' to lead the competition on its first day.
Russia 'A' and 'B' teams, skippered by former Bahrain event champions Andrea Arbozov and Musikhin Sergey, also managed four wins each yesterday in the other Group 'B'.
Bahrain's Ebrahim Abdulla and Abdulla Janahi, skippers of their 'A' and 'B' teams, had two wins each from their first three races to share second place with Poland and their skipper Kuba Pawluc.
They were followed by Amro Yosri-skippered Qatar with one win in three races, while teams from Tunisia, Oman, the UAE and Kuwait were unable to capture any win on the first day.
Tournament action continues today with the second round of races from 9am onwards.
Earlier yesterday, the championship was declared open at a meaningful ceremony at the club.
Bahrain Maritime Sports Association president and event patron Shaikh Khalifa bin Abdulla Al Khalifa welcomed the teams taking part and congratulated Bahrain on the National Day and His Majesty King Hamad's accession to the throne. He also expressed pride for having this event held in Bahrain for the 10th consecutive year, and for the first time as a Grade Two event, which underlines the excellent organization of the championship and the development of match racing in Bahrain.
Shaikh Khalifa noted that the association has prepared some of the Middle East's best and highly-advanced J24 boats especially for this event.