Muscat: An epic tussle for the top spot in the fifth and final leg of EFG Sailing Arabia – The Tour (SATT) is playing out as the fleet closes in on the Dubai finish line. Reigning EFG Sailing Arabia – The Tour champions EFG Bank Monaco and title challengers Team Almouj Muscat were separated by just a few metres on Monday morning as the 205-nautical mile sprint from Doha to Dubai entered a second day.
The rival crews have been practically neck and neck since the fleet of eight international teams set sail from Qatari capital Doha on Sunday morning.
At midday the fleet, spread over just three nautical miles, had around 60nm still to sail to the finish line off Dubai’s iconic The Palm Jumeirah, the culmination of 763nm of intense offshore action around the Arabian Gulf.
EFG Bank Monaco, who have lifted the EFG Sailing Arabia – The Tour trophy the past three years, started the final leg with a narrow four-point advantage over Team Almouj Muscat, runners-up in last year’s event.
But with double points up for grabs on Leg 5 the overall podium positions are far from decided.
Oman’s Team Renaissance began the leg occupying the third podium spot on the tour leaderboard 4.25 points ahead of Kuwait’s Team Zain, however at the latest position report the chasers were two places ahead of their rivals in third and fifth consecutively.
Italian team Adelasia di Torres, newcomers to Arabia’s premier offshore regatta, were occupying the fourth spot in the Leg 5 rankings, with all-woman crew DB Schenker (GER) in sixth and Team Averda (GBR) in seventh.
Bienne Voile (SUI) were some 25 miles behind the rest of the fleet after they ran aground overnight 70nm west of Abu Dhabi.
No-one was injured and their yacht sustained only minor damage before being towed to deeper water by the EFG Sailing Arabia – The Tour committee boat, allowing the team to restart the leg.
The EFG Sailing Arabia – The Tour crown will be decided on Wednesday by a series of in-port races around a short course held at The Palm Jumeirah Marina West, supported by Nakheel.
1. EFG Bank Monaco (MON/Thierry Douillard) – 8 points
2. Team Al Mouj Muscat (OMA/Christian Ponthieu) – 12 points
3. Team Renaissance (OMA/Fahad Al Hasni) – 19.75 points
4. Team Zain (KUW/Cedric Pouligny) – 24 points
5. Team Averda (GBR/Andrew Baker) – 36.75 points
6. Adelasia di Torres (ITA/Renato Azara) – 36.75 points
7. Bienne Voile (SUI/Lorenz Mueller) – 37.50 points
8. DB Schenker (GER/Annemeike Bes) – 42.25 points