The nine teams competing in EFG Bank Sailing Arabia – The Tour 2013 are busy preparing at Amwaj Marina in Bahrain for Sunday's first leg of the 15-day race, which ends in Muscat, Oman.
The Arabian Gulf region's only long-distance offshore sailing event takes the crews on a 760-nautical mile journeys.
In the last few days, the teams have come together to familiarise themselves with the Farr 30 yacht that all teams will compete in.
Among the teams is Al Thuraya Bank Muscat, the all-female crew led by the world famous single handed around the world sailor Dee Caffari. "We have all been training hard in the last months, but now is the time that the team needs to really come together and iron out any creases in our performance," Caffari said.
"The girls are all ready to go, but we need to practice the drills, in particularly for the starts and on the spinnaker - if the weather picks up we will need to be twice as efficient as the heavier crews."
The wind for the opening leg is forecast to be between 11-14kmph, which may give Caffari, her female crew and their light boat a competitive advantage against the other eight teams.
The battle will take place across four countries and along an eight-port route, including Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Ras Al Khaimah.
The all Emirati Team Abu Dhabi, skippered by the Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing sailor Adil Khalid, are competing in the race for the first time and are looking forward to testing their skills in home waters.
"It's always tense before a race, you want to make sure that you have everything ready and that the whole crew and the boat can stand up to the challenges ahead," Khalid said. "We have had some wonderful support from Abu Dhabi Sailing and Yacht Club and the government of Abu Dhabi, so we know that the sailors are the best in the country, and that the boat is 100 per cent capable of winning. All we have to do now is wait for the start."
Bertrand Pace, the veteran of the international sailing circuit and the 2011 champion, returns to the race with a new crew, Team AISM, representing Dubai.
"Preparation has gone really well and the team is very close knit. The anticipation is intense at this stage and everyone is keen to get out on to the water for the start," Pace said. "This is a great course to race and I am confident we will finish with a podium place. We've worked very hard in preparation so now we just have to enjoy it."
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