EFG Sailing Arabia – The Tour’s second inport race took place earlier today at Water Bridge in the UAE Capital, the coastal area, which connects Abu Dhabi Corniche with the sea.
A total of seven teams, including Team Abu Dhabi from the UAE who joined the Tour specifically for today’s inport race, enjoyed engaging racing in extremely light winds, and spectators were treated to a fantastic display of top-level tactical sailing in evenly matched Farr 30 keelboats.
Having been disqualified from their line honours position on Leg 2 following a port/starboard incident with EFG Bank (Monaco), Team Delft Challenge – TU Delft, were back with a vengeance today, winning both races from EFG Bank (Monaco).
Team Delft Challenge – TU Delft - EFG Sailing Arabia - The Tour 2014 - © Lloyd Images
The team of Dutch university students are sailing smart and, today demonstrated just how versatile they are the two disciplines (offshore and inport) required to be successful in EFG Sailing Arabia – The Tour 2014.
Speaking after today’s sailing in the heart of Abu Dhabi Issa Al Ismaili, Director of Events at the race’s organiser Oman Sail said: 'It’s always a pleasure to come to Abu Dhabi and showcase the spectacle and skills of top class sailing in the capital of the UAE. Especially when the racing is close to shore and the public are given a unique chance to feel part of the race.
'When this event was first envisaged it was to create occasions just like this, bringing the best in the region and world-class international sailors together for a showpiece event. It was a special to see Team Abu Dhabi out there competing. Only sailing can benefit from a day like today. The future looks bright.' added Ismaili.
Explaining what gave the students an edge in today’s racing, Koen de Smedt, today’s skipper of Team Delft Challenge – TU Delft said: 'We were a bit disappointed about the disqualification but it made us more motivated to win today and it was very important for us to make a good stand.
Inport race day - EFG Sailing Arabia - The Tour 2014 - © Lloyd Images
'We had some good starts and had a couple of good shifts, plus EFG Bank (Monaco) overstood the windward mark in the second race which gave us an opportunity to sneak in the inside. That gave us the edge and we had a good downwind leg too.'
EFG Bank (Monaco) skippered by Sidney Gavignet, had a mixed day with one poor start in particular, which saw the team having to round the end of the line after they hit the pin end mark. However, they soon re-engaged with the fleet and managed to score two second places.
Gavignet commenting on today’s race he said: 'We had a couple of poor starts including hitting the mark at the pin end, so had to go round the end. Plus the Dutch team is very good and sailing well. We managed to regain some speed with good crew work and Damien Iehl in particular made a good call on one of the shift.'
Abu Dhabi In-Port race day - EFG Sailing Arabia - The Tour 2014 - © Lloyd Images
Messe Frankfurt Sailing Team lacked a bit of form today, but they still managed to finish third in both races. Marcel Herrera, skipper said: 'It was very fluky with different pressures across the course and the fog came in so it was very hard to know what was going to happen next. The top two read it a bit better and managed to capitalize on that.
'We have the leg tomorrow to look forward to so that is going to count four times more than the inport race, so we are going to put all our focus onto that right now.'
The fleet - EFG Sailing Arabia - The Tour 2014 - © Lloyd Images
The prize-giving ceremony for the Leg 2 and the second inport races took place in glorious sunshine at Abu Dhabi Sailing and Yacht Club. Competitors and guests were graced with the presence of His Highness Sheikh Khaled Bin Zayed Al Nehayan, President of UAE Sailing and Rowing Federation.
Abu Dhabi In-Port race day, podium - EFG Sailing Arabia - The Tour 2014 - © Lloyd Images
The teams are now preparing for Leg 3 of the EFG Sailing Arabia – The Tour 2014, which start tomorrow 0700.
This leg from Abu Dhabi to Dubai is 60 nautical miles, 10 miles shorter than originally planned. Depending on the strength of the wind, and if the scheduled start time goes to plan, the estimated time of arrival in Dubai is between 1800-1900.
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 760 nautical mile course of the Tour spans over four countries from Bahrain to Oman, with eight of the region’s premier marinas playing host as stopover venues during the seven legs of the course. In Dubai, teams will be based at the marina at Dubai Offshore Sailing Club. EFG Sailing Arabia - The Tour 2014 Results Event Website