Sidney Gavignet of Oman Sail project wins first leg of EFG Sailing Arabia

Marcel Herrera and the crew of Messe Frankfurt finished just behind

It took round-the-world veteran Sidney Gavignet all his strength and guile to shake off a determined crew built around Plymouth University students to win the first leg of the EFG Sailing Arabia – The Tour from Bahrain to Doha, Qatar.

The Frenchman, who is the leading skipper of the Oman Sail project, had to fight every yard of the 100 miles to overcome his 21-year old opponent, Marcel Herrera and the crew of Messe Frankfurt and by just three lengths of their identical Mumm 30 yachts.

Such was the intensity of the competition that both yachts ran aground seeking inshore advantage and Herrera led for much of the first half of the race.

Another student team from Delft in The Netherlands claimed the remaining top three place on a course where northerly, but cold, winds made for fast running south.

Before the start, the American Katie Pettibone, had warned “the boys had better watch out” and, sure enough, her all-woman crew beat both of their two rival Omani entries, the Omani Navy crew coming dead last. Pettibone is part of a much wider Omani programme designed to encourage Omani women to take up sport and is back for her second tour. Her fledglings delivered.

The start had been postponed for nearly 24 hours to take delivery of distress flares, essential safety equipment but banned in Bahrain as illegal weapons. On a crisp dawn and in a northerly wind, the yachts made fast time, never out of sight of each other, and shepherded by officials on the race organiser’s boat.

There are seven offshore legs and up to 12 inshore races, the first group of those in Doha on Tuesday. On Wednesday the fleet races to Abu Dhabi, on to Dubai and Ras al Khaimah in the UAE, and then to Dibba, Mussanah and Muscat in Oman.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
tvStrictly presenter returns to screens after Halloween accident
News
peopleFormer civil rights activist who was jailed for smoking crack cocaine has died aged 78
News
i100
News
Boxing promoter Kellie Maloney, formerly known as Frank Maloney, entered the 2014 Celebrity Big Brother house
people
Sport
Dwight Gayle (left) celebrates making it 1-1 with Crystal Palace captain Mile Jedinak
premier leagueReds falter to humbling defeat
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

The last Christians in Iraq

After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Britain braced for Black Friday
Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

From America's dad to date-rape drugs

Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'
Oh come, all ye multi-faithful: The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?

Oh come, all ye multi-faithful

The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Dr Charles Heatley: The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

Dr Charles Heatley on joining the NHS volunteers' team bound for Sierra Leone
Flogging vlogging: First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books

Flogging vlogging

First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show: US channels wage comedy star wars

Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show

US channels wage comedy star wars
When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine? When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible

When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine?

When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible
Look what's mushrooming now! Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector

Look what's mushrooming now!

Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector
Neil Findlay is more a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

More a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

The vilification of the potential Scottish Labour leader Neil Findlay shows how one-note politics is today, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Tenderstem broccoli omelette; Fried eggs with Mexican-style tomato and chilli sauce; Pan-fried cavolo nero with soft-boiled egg

Oeuf quake

Bill Granger's cracking egg recipes
Terry Venables: Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back

Terry Venables column

Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back
Michael Calvin: Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

Those at the top are allowing the same issues to go unchallenged, says Michael Calvin