x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

Al Mamari feels 'lucky' after Team Renaissance clinch podium spot

Strategic error on the part of Team BAE Systems help rivals to third spot in Sail Arabia – The Tour.

Team Al Thuraya BankMuscat and Team Muscat 2012 battle it out on Thursday.
Team Al Thuraya BankMuscat and Team Muscat 2012 battle it out on Thursday.

Oman's Ahmed Al Mamari and his Team Renaissance crew claimed their first podium position of Sailing Arabia – The Tour yesterday after capitalising on an error by one of their rival crews.

Team BAE Systems, who have consistently finished in the top three in the six leg race, missed a big wind shift, according to their skipper Cedric Pouligny, as they fought against strong currents sailing through the narrow passage in the Straight of Hormuz and slipped from third at the gate to eighth at the end of 278-kilometre race from Ras Al Khaimah to Dibba in Oman.

The slip allowed Al Mamari's team to claim third spot.

"Leg three was a difficult leg and we feel very lucky to come in with the top three," Al Mamari said. "It is not easy to secure a podium place against these professional sailors and skippers and we did our best so we are very happy."

Daniel Souben and his professional French crew on Courrier Dunkerque claimed their fourth consecutive leg win and now have a seemingly unassailable lead at the top of the leaderboard. But they are mindful of the Omani team's knowledge of home waters ahead of the penultimate leg from Dibba to Mussanah on Saturday.

"The Omanis have the advantage of knowing the water and we have the advantage of knowing the boat, so the racing will be very interesting from now on," Souben said.

Al Mamari, who won the Musab to Muscat regatta two months ago, said: "I know this area more than anyone here. I will try to use this experience to achieve more great results."

Team Bahrain, who just two days ago claimed victory in the RAK in-port race, missed out on a podium place by just one minute.

Ebraham Abdullah, the Bahraini skipper for this leg, said: "We are very happy to finish in fourth but it wasn't easy. We were right at the back of the fleet as we passed the gate and we made some good tactical calls which put us in a good position and allowed us to climb to fourth."

The nine-teams will contents an in-port race on Friday before embarking on the final two legs of a combined 326km.