Sailing Arabia-The Tour: EFG Bank bags second leg and overall lead
Defending champion EFG Bank Monaco bounced back from its opening-leg defeat to clinch the EFG Sailing Arabia-The Tour’s (SATT) second leg from Sohar to Khasab on Friday.
Led by French sailing star Thierry Douillard, EFG Bank edged past Al Mouj, Muscat in the final stretch to claim the honours in the 140 nautical-mile leg.
The three-time champion was stunned by Team Renaissance in the first leg race between Al Mouj, Muscat and Sohar, but came back strongly to prove it was still the favourite.
Douillard's men crossed the line victorious on Friday, 24 hours and 37 minutes after setting sail from Sohar and just three minutes ahead of Team Al Mouj Muscat, led by fellow countryman Christian Ponthieu.
The win helped EFG Bank to move on top of the overall standings after two legs with three offshore stages and two in-port race series still remaining.
“It is a good feeling to win - it was not an easy leg at all,” said Douillard, a familiar face in the America’s Cup, Extreme Sailing Series and World Match Racing Tour.
“We had a wonderful fight with Team Al Mouj Muscat for the lead, and thankfully, it was a fight that we won. Each mistake you make costs a lot, so it was a massive effort from my boys. They did a great job and we plan to keep doing that.”
Team Renaissance, led by talented Omani skipper Fahad al Hasni, finished third after overtaking Team Zain on the final sprint to the line.
The all-women team DB Schenker beat Adelasia di Torres for a fifth-place finish, its best result so far. On Saturday, the sailors attended a ceremony at Khasab Castle that was presided by H E Sayyid Khalifa bin al Busaidi, Governor of Musandam.
The fleet will begin the third leg, a 153 nautical-mile stage from Khasab to Abu Dhabi, on Sunday morning.
Results (Leg 2): 1 EFG Bank Monaco (1.5 pts), 2 Team Al Mouj Muscat (3), 3 Team Renaissance (4.5), 4 Team Zain (6), 5 DB Schenker (7.5), 6 Adelasia di Torres (9), 7 Team Averda (10.5), 8 Bienne Voile (12).
Overall results: 1 EFG Bank Monaco (3.5), 2 Team Renaissance (5.5), 3 Team Al Mouj Muscat (6), 4 Team Zain (10), 5 Adelasia di Torres (14), 6 DB Schenker (15.5), 7 Team Averda (16.5), 8 Bienne Voile (19).