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MENAFN - Muscat Daily - 19/02/2013

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(MENAFN - Muscat Daily) A delayed start to the fourth leg, from Dubai to Ras al Khaimah (RAK), in the 2013 EFG Bank Sailing Arabia-The Tour (SATT) has ensured a late night arrival at the fourth stopover for the eight-team fleet on Monday. The race director, Giles Chiorri, gave the start signal for the nearly 100km leg at 2.50pm on Monday afternoon after the boats moved out of the Dubai Offshore Sailing Club.

But with a weather forecast of stable but light wind conditions, the expected arrival at Ras al Khaimah was around 11pm. Earlier on Sunday night, Team AISM skipper Bertrand Pace, after winning the fourth leg and securing the overall lead, said, ''I am quite happy with our speed downwind. We were probably quicker than anyone else. We prepared well.'' Team AISM led the fleet for most of the fourth leg and is ahead of Oman's Team BAE Systems by a mere 0.75 points on the overall leaderboard.

Team BAE Systems' skipper Cedric Pouligny said, ''The Abu Dhabi to Dubai leg was much about strategy and boat-positioning along the coast. We did well to finish second.'' Sidney Gavignet, the skipper of Team EFG Bank (Monaco), was pleased with another podium finish. ''I think the fight is clearly going to be between three boats now - Team AISM, BAE Systems and EFG Bank. That is why a third place is not bad,'' he said.

Gavignet praised his Omani crew - Fahad al Hasni and Yasser al Rahbi - for their commitment and work onboard. Dee Caffari's all-women team, Al Thuraya bank muscat, held fourth place for most of the race, but got pipped at the post by the Dutch varsity team on Team Delft Challenge-Tu Delft. ''It was a brilliant race,'' Dee said. ''It was really close racing all the way with Team Delft Challenge-Tu Delft. We were just ahead of them at the final gate, but we had to let them through on the inside. We had good boat speed and good manoeuvres.''

Meanwhile, the ninth team- Team Abu Dhabi - which suffered severe rudder damage on the second leg between Doha and Abu Dhabi, is expected to resume the race from RAK. The teams will contest the third round of inshore (in-port) races at RAK on Tuesday and will depart for Oman's town of Dibba on Wedne


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