Clever reading of the course instructions gave Marcel Herrera and the crew of Messe Frankfurt their first leg win on the split course from Dibba to Mussanah in the EFG Sailing Arabia – The Tour. It came also at the expense of all the other team, who were disqualified because they did not sail the course as stipulated by race director Gilles Chiorri.
It had been decided to split the leg into two as there was a forecast, which proved accurate, that there would be no wind overnight. So Chiorri set an initial distance of 30 miles, set up a finish line, and then asked to boats to motor to the Mussanah resort stopover.
Which they did, for over 12 hours, and prepared to use the afternoon breeze to race another 20 miles, the leg points being split 50/50 between the two courses.
But the instructions for the finish line were complicated and only Herrera’s crew read them correctly, noticed that the others hadn’t, and lodged a protest, which was upheld by the jury, chaired by Marina Psichogiou.
Overall it will make little difference as the top places will still be held by Herrera in second and the overall leader, Sidney Gavignet, the original winner of the disputed leg in EFG Bank. And the fight for third place between the Dutch Team Delft and the all-woman Bank of Muscat team skippered by the American Kte Pettibone will go to whichever is ahead of the other at the end of Monday’s final leg to Muscat. Instead of being one quarter of a point ahead of the Dutch, the women now go into that leg one quarter of a point behind.
1 EFG Bank (S Gavignet) 10pts
2 Messe Frankfurt (M Herrera) 15.5
3 Team Delft (K Heemskerk) 27
4 Ban of Muscat (K Pettibone) 27.25
5 Rennaissance (M al Busaidi) 34.25
6 Royal Navy of Oman (A al Haisani) 43.5
In Singapore, the opening event of the Extreme Sailing Series saw old rivalries renewed, new rivals struggling at times, and the French being lucky to escape with only minor injuries to crewman Tanguy Cariou when the locally entered Aberdeen Asset Management drove over Groupama, out of control, in a gust.
The 2013 championship could only be decided on a countback, giving British Olympian Leigh McMillan the title on The Wave Muscat with the same points as Morgan Larson, skippering Ernesto Bertarelli’s Alinghi. The duel was immediately rejoined in Marina Bay with Larson top of the pile and McMillan, with double Olympic gold medallist Sarah Ayton in his crew, second.
Four potential America’s Cup contenders have joined the fray, including Britain’s five-time, quadruple Olympic gold medallist Sir Ben Ainslie. French skipper Franck Cammas is also seeking funding for a campaign in 2017 and could count himself and crew lucky when Nick Maloney was left with nowhere to go and, dagger boards down, went over the top of the French crew.
America’s Cup challenger Dean Barker settled for fourth after being hit by a penalty in the final race, Groupama ended fifth and, after an up and down shakedown performance, Ainslie was seventh. Last was the GAC Pindar team drawn largely from the squad being assembled by the America’s Cup Challenger of Record, the Hamilton Island Yacht Club. HIYC is also planning to tune up with the cup holder, the San Francisco-based Oracle Racing USA, in Sydney in AC45 catamarans turbocharged by the addition of foils.
1 - Alinghi - 217 pts
2 - The Wave, Muscat - 193
3 - Realstone - 178
4 - ETNZ - 168
5 - Groupama sailing team - 160
6 - Red Bull - 156
7 - J.P. Morgan BAR - 152
8 - Team Russia - 128
9 - Oman Air - 128
10 - SAP - 126
11 - Team Aberdeen Singapore - 82
12 - GAC Pindar - 59