Two wins for Britain's Marcel Herrera and his Plymouth University-based team put them in EFG Sailing Arabia – The Tour contention

21-year-old admits that it was a 'great feeling' to triumph in tricky conditions as he moves just half a point behind leader Sidney Gavignet

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The Independent Online

A pair of hard-fought, inshore race wins in the EFG Sailing Arabia – The Tour in Doha put Britain’s Marcel Herrera and his Plymouth University-backed, Messe Frankfurt-funded team into second overall, just half a point behind the favourite and leader, Sidney Gavignet’s EFG Bank.

“It feels great to put in such a good result in such tricky conditions,” said the 21-year old marine sciences and navigation undergraduate. “We needed to be at our best in the shifting winds but none of the crew was talking; they just kept their heads down and did their job.”

“It was tricky and fun,” said Gavignet, “but it was quite fiery and intense at times.” Among Gavignet’s crew on the Mumm 30 is former world match racing champion Damien Iehl. He has very positive ideas.

“I think this will be a good fight all the way and we are still learning, as we have not had much time together with this line-up,” added Gavignet.

As skipper Abdulaziz al Haisani took sick leave from the Omani Royal Navy entry, fortunes fortunes for them still did not improve, but they were looking bright for the Omani women’s team skippered by the Californian Kate Pettibone.

Having been fourth on the opening offshore leg from Bahrain they still beat their Navy rivals in the first of the two inshore races and then scored a third in the second. “If you had said we would be fourth overall at this stage I would have said ‘I’ll take that;” she said. She did, and so did the Omani Navy. 

The second offshore leg starts early Wednesday morning. The 180 miles to Abu Dhabi is the longest of the stages and is followed by some coast-hopping to Dubai, Ras al Khaimah, Dibbs, Mussanah and on to the finish in Muscat.

Poland is added to the list as Korea sits out a year on the six-regatta Alpari World Match Racing Championship which kicks off at Langenargen, Germany, on 5 June.

Southampton’s four-time champion Ian Williams will be trying to make it a record five for Team GAC Pindar, but, out against him and defending his 2013 title, will be Taylor Canfield of the U.S. Virgin Islands. The other venues are Marstrand, Sweden, Chicago, Bermuda, and Malaysia.

Standings after one offshore/two inshore races:

1 EFG Bank (S. Gavignet) 2pts

2 Messe Frankfurt (M Herrera) 2.5

3 Delft Challenge (K Heemskerk) 4.75

4 Bank of Muscat (K Pettibone) 6.00

5 Renaissance (M Busaidi) 7.25

6 Royal Navy of Oman (A al Haisani) 9.00