On day two of the Sail the Gulf Regatta hosted at the Doha Sailing Center, all the sailors were down at the venue early, ready for another full day of sun, breeze and racing.
The weather forecast was a repeat of yesterday, so the breeze was set to be 15-20 knots around the race track, and this morning the sailors were focused on preparing their boats and tuning up for another windy day.
As the breeze filled in early, the race committee stayed to the planned schedule of another three races with the first warning signal at 1100 hours. The breeze was a bit shiftier than day one, so those who could make the transition and sail the shifts would hold the advantage on the race course today. A clear blue sky and bright sun reflected off the shimmering skyscraper backdrop of Doha city.
On race course A, the optimist fleet enjoyed another challenging day as they aimed to maintain steady and consistent results and hold their position on the leaderboard. There were some inspiring moments around the race course, as these young sailors maneuvered their boats with apparent ease and total control with close boat on boat battles, tactics and speed performance the order of the day. Yesterday’s leader Tomas Barreto of Portugal put in another strong performance and continues to lead, chased by Malaysia’s sailors in second and third.
On the same course close to the shore, the Laser 4.7 sailors had another intensely physical day, with full on hiking to keep their boats flat and optimize speed. The 16 strong fleet represents seven different nations, but so far it is the sole northern European entry, Eygeny Vasilyev of Russia, who continues to set the pace. Unbelievably he secured three more race wins today, to add to his perfect scoreline from yesterday and looks set to be unbeatable. The racing conditions rewarded those who could combine consistent boat handling, strategic tactical decisions and just keep on hiking. Bahrain’s Issa Aldoseri holds firm in second place, just one point ahead of Qatar’s Saleh Telfat in third overall.
Over on the further offshore course area, the conditions were even more challenging, with larger waves and more breeze. Gusts of up to 20 knots with a short choppy sea produced excellent racing conditions – and the sailors clearly relished the challenges. Speed was key today as teams who were ahead and could keep their boat on pace, easily had the advantage.
Three races for each of the 420, 470, Laser Radial, Laser Standard and Hobie multihull were completed, with the discard kicking in after race 5 to shake the leaderboard up a bit. But no major changes as most of the teams have managed to deliver consistent results. Essam Elwy of Egypt added two more first places to his two race wins from yesterday, and holds the lead in the Laser Radial, whilst the Laser Standard is still dominated by Malaysia’s Khairulnizam Mohd Afendy who claimed three more race wins. A similar repeat performance from Malaysia’s Ahmad Syukri Bin Abdul Aziz an Mohammed Faizal Norizan who again won every race to hold tight to the top of the leaderboard in the 420 fleet. Whilst in the Olympic 470 Class, Malaysia’s Moh Akiyuddin Bin Mat Zaki and Mohammad Harisuddin Bin Mazelan couldn’t quite match their team mates, and won two of their three races, but remain in first overall.
All change in the Hobie 16 fleet, with Kazakhstan’s Anuar Kaldykozhaev and Magomet Dalakov moving up from third to first overall from their two race wins and second place today. With the early start and solid wind, teams were back ashore early, with more than enough time to recuperate ahead of race day three on Friday, when racing is scheduled to get underway at 1300 hours.
The forecast for day three is for lighter winds, so expect a different game plan from teams for tomorrow’s racing. The lighter sailors and light wind experts will have the opportunity to excel and showcase their performance around the track, which may lead to some upsets in the fleet leaderboards.