Bertrand Pacé wins 1st Sailing Arabia-The Tour
Team New Caledonia Wins Final Leg to Seal Overall Victory
Sunday 13 February 2011 –
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The fleet was met with challenging conditions as they embarked on the final leg early Sunday morning, setting off from Musannah Sports Village down to the finish at The Wave, Muscat. Winds were forecast to be strong and the teams were not disappointed, as 20 knots of wind carried them down the coast. A change in wind direction after passing the Sawadi Islands created some nerve-wracking conditions, demanding 100% concentration from all onboard- even the smallest mistake could mean losing a place.
At 13:42 a jubilant Team New Caledonia crossed the finish line to a chorus of cheers, and with it won the inaugural Sailing Arabia – The Tour. Saleh Al Jabri brought his team on board Renaissance across the line five minutes later to seal their second place overall, an incredible achievement for the almost 100% Omani crew. Only a minute later it was the turn of Team Commercialbank Group to cross the line and round off the podium.
A welcome sight was the return of the team from Bahrain, GAC Team Pindar to the fleet for the final leg, with Bahrain national Layla Mohsin back onboard, the only woman to take part in the race. The team missed the races between Qatar and Mussanah after facing technical difficulties, but worked hard to get back for the final leg, finishing in an impressive fourth place in the final leg and 6th overall.
Team Ras Al Khaimah didn’t manage to recover from an error soon after the start and were consigned to fifth in the finishing order of the last leg, but took fourth overall. The Royal navy of Oman battled until the end, finishing soon after Ras Al Khaimah, but crossed the line in the good humour that has endeared them to everybody throughout the tour.
Saleh Al Jabri, skipper of Oman Sail’s Renaissance, was in an understandably ecstatic mood on setting foot back onshore at The Wave, Muscat, ‘When we went into this event we knew it was going to be hard, that it would test us to our limits, mentally and physically, but we what surprised us was how close the racing was. There was never a point when we felt we were out of touch with the rest of the fleet and although we always felt we were doing well, we often surprised ourselves with how well. I can only put it down to great teamwork and respect for each other and our skills. I look forward to sailing with any and all of them again in the near future. I must also thank Renaissance Services for their continuing support and helping us achieve results like this.’
At a closing ceremony in front of the new Oman Sail headquarters, His Excellency Ali Al Sunaidi, Minister of Sports and Oman Sail CEO David Graham handed out prizes. Many students, sailors, friends and families came along to show their support for the event with a traditional Omani band. David Graham commented on the success of the inaugural Sailing Arabia-The Tour. “I would like to thank all of our commercial partners, the stopover venues and the teams for making the inaugural Sailing Arabia – The Tour such a success. Bringing events like this to our region is a source of inspiration that will bring more Omanis to discover sailing and write the next page of the maritime history of Oman. We are looking forward to working with the teams again next year and to welcoming even more to the 2012 Sailing Arabia-The Tour”.
Info presse www.omansail.com
- 1- Nouvelle Calédonie 15 pts (Places : 3 – 1 – 1 - 4 -1)
- 2 – Oman Sail Renaissance 25 pts (Places : 1 – 2 – 3 - 3 - 2)
- 3 – TEAM Commercialbank Group 29 pts (Places : 2 – 3 – 2 – 2 - 3)
- 4 - Ras Al Khaimah 40 pts (Places : 5 – 4 – 4 – 1 -5)
- 5 - Royal Navy of Oman 61 pts (Places : 6 – 5 – 5 – 5 - 6)
- 6 - GAC Team Pindar 75 pts (Places : 4 – DNS – DNS – DNS – DNS – 4)
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