2019 EFG Sailing Arabia – The Tour: Thrilling finish in coastal raid opener
The second day of the 2019 EFG Sailing Arabia-The Tour (SATT) provided a thrilling climax as the opening coastal raid of the series took place off Muscat on Monday.
In fact, just seconds separated the top three finishers among the ten participating boats.
After nearly two hours and 36 minutes of tight racing, the French team of Cheminée Poujoulat claimed the win just 15 seconds ahead of the Oman Shipping Company, with EFG Bank finishing third.
Cheminée Poujoulat, which had earlier been on podium on opening day in the stadium races, jumped to the overall lead as the teams head for the second stopover in Sur.
Oman Shipping is placed overall second followed by debutant entry MOOD.
Robin Follin, the elated skipper of Cheminée Poujoulat, said, “On the raid we did not play any bad shots and at the finish we were in a one-on-one with Stevie Morrison on Oman Shipping.
“It was intense and we did not let go. We were focused right until the end to finish first."
In contrast to the strong winds and high-speed racing of Sunday, the 23- nautical mile coastal course started in a light and unstable breeze, with teams working hard to get every bit of speed out of their lightweight Diam 24 trimarans.
Oman Shipping Company’s international crew of British skipper and helm Morrison, experienced Oman Sail instructor Raad al Hadi and French tactician Quentin Ponroy held a narrow lead until almost the last mark of the course before being passed by Poujoulat.
Morrison said, “The motto on our boat is that it’s never over until the finish, and that counts whether you are leading in front or behind. With these boats things can change so quickly, they are so fast and there are too many things that can go wrong.”
“We are a new team and we are still evolving the way we work on the boat. But we are very happy to have finished second, which is better than we could have hoped for in this fleet. We have got some lessons to learn and we will get better, but I am sure all the other teams will as well.
EFG Bank, skippered by French star Franck Cammas with Oman Sail regular Thierry Douillard and Omani dinghy ace Hussein al Jabri, was satisfied to be on podium on Monday but remained seventh overall.
Opening day leader Golfe du Morbihan finished the coastal raid down in eighth place, a result that drops the team to fourth overall. Racing is to resume in Sur with a second coastal raid on Wednesday, followed by stadium racing the following day, before the fleet travels to Masirah Island.
Overall standings [after day two]: 1 Cheminée Poujoulat, 2 Oman Shipping Company, 3 MOOD, 4 Golfe du Morbihan, 5 Beijaflore, 6 Seaflotech, 7 EFG Bank, 8 CER Geneva, 9 Renaissance, 10 DB Schenker.