2018 EFG Sailing Arabia-The Tour: EFG Bank dominates Duqm inport races

EFG Bank Monaco sailors in action during the Duqm inport races on Wednesday

Defending champion EFG Bank Monaco notched up a race win and four podium finishes to dominate the inport races at the second-leg of the 2018 EFG Sailing Arabia-The Tour (SATT) in Duqm on Wednesday.

The domination in the inport races – the second of the five inport races scheduled over this year's SATT course - at the Port of Duqm narrowed EFG's overall lead with leader Beijaflore to five points.

Contrary to the opening clashes of the 14-day regatta that took place in Salalah in big breeze, the Duqm inport racing series tested the eight-team fleet's skills in lighter winds of around eight to ten knots.

After five thrilling races, EFG Bank Monaco, led by French sailing star Thierry Douillard and featuring Oman's Ali al Balushi, emerged on top with a win in race two along with two runner-up finishes and two third places.

French young guns Lorina Golfe du Limonade and Beijaflore also put in impressive performance as they beat EFG Bank’s race win tally with two victories each.

However less consistent results in the remaining three races saw the two teams to settle for second and third respectively.

“We had five good inport races today, so I think the whole fleet is happy,” said Douillard, a longstanding member of four-time winners EFG Bank Monaco.

Lorina Golfe du Morbihan co-skipper and trimmer Riwan Perron said his young French-flagged crew's results in Duqm put it in good stead as it aims for an overall podium finish on its SATT debut. “Today was tricky – the weather forecast was for light winds, and in these sorts of conditions anything can happen,” Perron said.

In a sign of how tight the racing was on Wednesday, six of the eight crews scored podium finishes during the five-race series. Averda, a British/Omani team led by two-time Olympian Stevie Morrison, scored a string of good results to finish fourth with Vivacar.fr in fifth and Cheminees Poujoulat in sixth.

Renaissance, led by France's Cedric Pouligny, notched up two top-five finishes to finish ahead of all-woman crew DB Schenker.

“We are here to improve and to learn, so for us it was a very good day,” said Pouligny, whose crew includes Omani sailors Hussein al Mansoori and Haitham al Wahaibi.

On Thursday the second of five coastal raids will take place as the fleet races 30 miles along the Duqm coastline.

Results of Duqm inport racing: 1 EFG Bank, 2 Beijaflore, 3 Lorina Golfe du Morbihan, 4 Averda, 5 Vivacar.fr, 6 Cheminees Poujoulat, 7 Renaissance, 8 DB Schenker.

Overall standings: 1 Beijaflore (4 pts), 2 EFG Bank (9), 3 Lorina Golfe du Morbihan (10), 4 Averda (12), 5 Vivacar.fr (12), 6 Cheminees Poujoulat (16), 7 Renaissance (22), 8 DB Schenker (23).

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