Almouj claims first offshore win in SATT 2016

Sports Friday 26/February/2016 16:35 PM
By: Times News Service
Almouj claims first offshore win in SATT 2016

Sohar: Almouj finished on top fourth off-shore leg of Sailing Arabia - The Tour 2016 between Khasab and Sohar in the Sultanate.
Coming back home waters proved a motivating factor for the Oman based sailors as they completed the Khasab-Sohar leg strongly to claim the top position, stealing it from Team Averda as well as defending champions EFG Bank, who were both aiming for a top finish settled for second and third respectively.
All nine teams started strong at the beginning of the leg with winds reaching up to 16 knots where the boats took off at almost full speed. But as they turned the corner from Khasab to continue a little off the coast heading to Sohar they were faced with unpredictable winds; from no wind at all to 16 knots.
This was the most difficult and challenging legs the sailor experienced thus far. The distance was short but the competition was fierce as neither teams held the first position all throughout the leg.
"It is seriously one of the hardest races I had in my life. I did many races like Tour de France and this is my fourth Sailing Arabia; honestly this is the hardest," said Abdul Aziz Al Obeidani, one of the sailor on Almouj.
"The weather was crazy during this leg; sometimes there was high wind and sometimes no wind," he added.
When Times of Oman asked him about whether they see Renaissance as a threat considering there was just 0.25 point gap between the two teams, Al Obeidani replied, "It's not a competition between two boats in this race, it's between nine. I don't mind Renaissance being in front of us, it's an Omani team and I wish them all the best luck."
EFG Bank suffered a blow in the fourth leg as they have failed to clinch the top spot, but for skipper Sidney Gavignet it was expected.
"As I expected, it was a great race. Great racing, lots of fighting, lots of position changes. It was really tiring," said Gavignet.
Explaining why his team lost, he said, "We did a few small mistakes, and we all do mistakes. So we not unhappy with third place; there was a lot of fighting."
The teams will get a well deserved day off to re-energize before they head out for the final leg of the tour on Sunday to Muscat.
Overall standings at the end of the 4th leg: 1) EFG Bank - 12.75; 2) Team Averda - 20.75; Almouj Muscat - 21.50; 4) Renaissance - 25.75; 5) Zain Sailing Team - 31.50; 6) Tu Delft - 36.75; 7. Bienne Voile - 42.50; 8) Al Thuraya Oman Airports - 48.00; 9) Team Helmut Mangold - 59.50