EFG Sailing Arabia – The Tour
Sidney Gavignet’s team win from Bahreïn to Mascate
"Every leg we were fighting and we only ever won by a close margin"
Tuesday 25 February 2014 –
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The winner of Leg 7, after a really exciting close race to The Wave, Muscat, the Tour’s final destination, was Kay Heemskerk and his young team of students on Team Delft Challenge – TU Delft. This final impressive result confirms third place overall. Overall winner Sidney Gavignet and his professional team on EFG Bank (Monaco) finished the 760-nautical mile Tour with an impressive scoreline of eight wins in a mix of both offshore and inport races.
Forty-one-year-old Gavignet – Olympian and winning Volvo Ocean Race Volvo Ocean Race #VolvoOceanRace skipper – who put together a strong team for this event including leading French sailors Cedric Pouligny and Damien Iehl, plus two of Oman’s best sailors – Ali Al Balushi and Mohammed Al Mujaini – sailed impressively throughout the series using their vast amount of experience to help extend their early lead. They finished with a six point clear margin over Messe Frankfurt Sailing Team skippered by Marcel Herrera. Chatting as he stepped ashore this afternoon, Gavignet commented:
“It is a good job done. I am very happy for the crew and EFG, and for Monaco also because we were flying the Monaco Yacht Club colours. It is a great, great race with fantastic competition. Every leg we were fighting and we only ever won by a close margin."
EFG Bank (Monaco) was under constant threat from the exceptionally strong youth contingent – the European Messe Frankfurt Sailing Team, and today’s final race winner, Team Delft Challenge – TU Delft.
The young crew on Messe Frankfurt Sailing Team, whose average age is just 26, gave the EFG Bank (Monaco) team plenty to think about throughout the series. Although they only won one leg of the Tour and two Inport races, their consistency, with a string of second places, was what kept them in contention.
Twenty-one-year-old Marcel Herrera – Messe Frankfurt Sailing Team’s skipper – was thrilled to have finished second overall:
“"It is fantastic and a really great result for the team. We were always at the top with anything from a first to a third and had consistent results so I am really proud of the guys because second is fantastic for us.
We will be back for sure and we’ll do everything we can to promote this Tour because it is a seriously great event."
Kay Heemskerk and team on Team Delft Challenge – TU Delft made a promising debut at last year’s event finishing fourth but proved that, by focusing on intense training in the lead up to this event, they were able to deliver the result they were looking for – a podium position.
Going into today’s race they had to beat American Katie Pettibone, skipper of Al-Thuraya Bank Muscat’s all women’s team to ensure their place on the podium. A final race win for the Dutch boys was more than enough.
Heemskerk said: "Winning today was one of the highlights of the event. We focused on the girls on the first beat and, once ahead, we were able to sail our own race and manage to keep ahead of EFG Bank.
“I feel amazingly happy to have won today, and to have achieved our goal of a position on the podium. I will be back next year because it is such a beautiful area to sail. I hope that more Europeans take time to consider racing this event because it is unique and highly competitive.”
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