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EFG Sailing Arabia - The tour returns to the action after early relocation goes without a hitch

by Oman Sail 9 Feb 01:17 PST 2-16 February 2019
EFG Sailing Arabia The Tour 2019 © Cristof Echard

EFG Sailing Arabia The Tour returned to racing on Friday after a flawless logistical operation saw the entire fleet and support organisation relocated 284 kilometres from Sur to Masirah Island in time for late afternoon racing.

With the fleet's Diam 24 trimarans transported overnight to the ferry port at Shannah, an early start for the international teams and event managers saw the high-speed yachts reassembled and out on the water in sparkling conditions as the sun set over Masirah.

The impressive display of event organiser Oman Sail's management skills allowed EFG Sailing Arabia The Tour to get back on track after two days of racing were lost to strong winds and rough seas at Sur.

Race Director Gilles Chiorri said: "It required a chain of events to come together to work. It was necessary to leave early this morning, and it was necessary that the planets are aligned, that the whole logistics is put in place well.

"We managed to run two races at sunset, and it was good that we caught up with one of the two lost days at Sur. The key word about an event like this is flexibility."

The two stadium races sailed each saw new winners on the 2019 Tour, with both the CER Geneva and Seaflotech teams recording their first race victories of the event which started last Saturday in Muscat.

Both crews also scored a third place, with the Golfe du Morbihan and Beijaflore teams each taking a second place to complete the podium on the first of what is now three scheduled days of racing at Masirah Island.

Seaflotech's skipper Sofian Bouvet said their win in the final race of the day as darkness fell required particularly close attention to the competition: "It was a first for us to sail in these conditions.

"What was interesting is that in the dark it is a little more complicated to see the wind pressures. So you had to look at the other boats to see if you were fast or not we managed to pretty much do it," he added.

The CER Geneva crew were able to put their experience on Lake Geneva to good effect. Lauranne Mettraux, who is racing with her twin brother Nelson as part of the Swiss team, said: "We only had a short time on the water but we did the job.

"We had two great good starts. It puts us in front of the fleet and we can stay ahead every time. It happens to us from time to time on the lake when we race in the moonlight, but it is quite rare. It's different to what we are used to!

Overall, thanks to two fourth places in Masirah, the Cheminée Poujoulat team continues to lead EFG Sailing Arabia The Tour, while Golfe du Morbihan has jumped ahead of the Oman Shipping Company and Mood teams to occupy second place.

Seaflotech have moved up to fifth place displacing Beijaflore, while CER's good day has seen them take seventh place ahead of EFG Bank the team yet to show the form that won them the 2018 World Diam Tour title and Oman's Renaissance team and the all-female DB Schenker crew.

Following the three days of racing in Masirah, EFG Sailing Arabia The Tour moves on to Duqm and then the final event in Salalah at the end of next week.

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