Oman Sail: EFG Bank Monaco bounce back to win round two of SATT

Sports Saturday 18/February/2017 16:07 PM
By: Times News Service
Oman Sail: EFG Bank Monaco bounce back to win round two of SATT

Muscat: Reigning EFG Sailing Arabia – The Tour (SATT) champions EFG Bank Monaco won the second leg of the round-Arabia yacht race, making amends for their last-minute defeat in event opener. After being pipped to victory by Oman’s Team Renaissance right on the line in the first leg from Oman’s capital Muscat to Sohar, EFG Bank Monaco started the second stage to Khasab determined to make up for their mistake. And they did just that.
In what was another thrilling leg finish they overtook arch-rivals Team Almouj Muscat less than ten miles from Khasab after more than 130 miles of intense racing.
EFG Bank Monaco, led by French skipper Thierry Douillard, crossed the line victorious after setting sail from Sohar. In a clear indication of how tight the racing was, Team Almouj Muscat, led by Christian Ponthieu of France, finished just three minutes later in second place.
The fleet, made up of professional and amateur sailing teams from all over the world, departed Sohar at midday yesterday on the second of five offshore legs that will see the teams race 763nm around the Arabian Gulf.
The crews were practically neck and neck as they match-raced along the stunning Omani and UAE coastlines when EFG Bank Monaco, winners of the last three editions of EFG Sailing Arabia – The Tour, snuck ahead. By the time the leading group of four boats, which also included Team Zain (KUW) and Team Renaissance, rounded the stunning Musandam Peninsula on Oman’s northern tip Team Almouj Muscat, with Omani sailors Sultan Al Balushi and Nawaf Al Ghadani onboard, had taken the top spot back.
With around 25 miles to sail and winds of up to 30 knots blasting them along, Team Almouj Muscat looked like favourites to win the leg. But an inside line saw EFG Bank Monaco regain the lead once more, an advantage they were able to hang on to until the finish line just in front of Khasab’s port. Team Renaissance, skippered by Fahad Al Hasni, completed the podium eight minutes behind the leg winners having overtaken Team Zain on the final stretch.
The victory gives EFG Bank Monaco the overall lead in EFG Sailing Arabia – The Tour after two legs, with three more offshore stages and two in-port race series to go.
“It is a good feeling to win – it was not an easy leg at all,” Douillard said. “We led into the night but then ended up in a tricky position. The wind shift we had been waiting for came right at the end of the leg and we had a wonderful fight with Team Al Mouj Muscat for the lead. Thankfully it was a fight we won.”
The second group of boats came in around an hour later, with all-woman team DB Schenker (GER) claiming fifth place, Adelasia di Torres (ITA) in sixth, Team Averda (GBR) in seventh and Bienne Voile (SUI) rounding off the leaderboard in eighth.
Results of Leg 2:
1. EFG Bank Monaco (MON/Thierry Douillard) 1.5 points,
2. Team Al Mouj Muscat (OMA/Christian Ponthieu) 3 points,
3. Team Renaissance (OMA/Fahad Al Hasni) – 4.5 points,
4. Team Zain (KUW/Cedric Pouligny) – 6 points,
5. DB Schenker (GER/Annemeike Bes) – 7.5 points,
6. Adelasia di Torres (ITA/Renato Azara) – 9 points,
7. Team Averda (GBR/Andrew Baker) – 10.5 points,
8. Bienne Voile (SUI/Lorenz Mueller) – 12 points.
Overall results:
1. EFG Bank Monaco (MON/Thierry Douillard) – 3.5 points,
2. Team Renaissance (OMA/Fahad Al Hasni) – 5.5 points,
3. Team Al Mouj Muscat (OMA/Christian Ponthieu) – 6 points,
4. Team Zain (KUW/Cedric Pouligny) – 10 points,
5. Adelasia di Torres (ITA/Renato Azara) – 14 points,
6. DB Schenker (GER/Annemeike Bes) – 15.5 points,
7. Team Averda (GBR/Andrew Baker) – 16.5 points,
8. Bienne Voile (SUI/Lorenz Mueller) – 19 points.