Ras Al Khaimah: Shaikh Mohammad Bin Saud Al Qasimi, Crown Prince of Ras Al Khaimah, was on the dock to survey the fleet as they set off on Tuesday during the last in-port series of EFG Bank Sailing Arabia – The Tour, the Gulf region’s only long-distance offshore sailing race. On the water meanwhile, EFG Bank (Monaco) and BAE Systems, the teams fighting for second place in EFG Bank Sailing Arabia – The Tour came out best from the two-race series, with America’s Cup veteran Bertrand Pacé close behind.
The course was inside the narrow confines of the harbour, allowing the prince and other dignitaries to view the racing easily from the shore. Issa Al Ismaili, events director of race organiser Oman Sail commented: “It was a privilege for us to be able to welcome Shaikh Mohammad to view the racing today – his involvement will undoubtedly aid us in our mission to bring sailing to the attention of the people of the Gulf and get them involved in the sport – and we look forward to seeing more Emirati sailors take part in the race in the future alongside sailors like Adil Khaled.”
In the first race, held in 5-6 knots, EFG Bank (Monaco) led around the course, only to be pipped at the post by BAE Systems, Cedric Pouligny’s team rolling past them just metres from the line.
“We couldn’t do what we wanted to do,” admitted Sidney Gavignet later. “The mistake is that we should have gybed earlier and when we gybed we did so poorly.”
However, in the second race, held in fractionally more wind, the EFG Bank (Monaco) team was in the same situation, leading around the course, and on this occasion hung on, to claim their second in-port race win.
“We got lucky a bit,” admitted Gavignet of the second race. “We had planned to gybe at the mark, but we couldn’t because our spinnaker had some turns, so the two boats behind gybed and I think because they were together, we gained, sailing a better angle.”
The day was not so good for AISM. Bertrand Pace’s team has been dominant in the inshores previously, but did not excel.