Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 7 December 2019

Friday cover: Sailing’s elite begin showcase in Abu Dhabi

The National's Sport cover for the Friday, October 30 issue, featuring the ISAF Sailing World Cup Final as it began in Abu Dhabi.

The National’s Sport cover for the Friday, October 30 issue, featuring the ISAF Sailing World Cup Final as it began in Abu Dhabi around the Corniche and Lulu Island.

The regatta in the capital this weekend is the conclusion to the 2015 ISAF World Cup series, with some of the most elite Olympic-class sailors in the world competing here.

Jonathan Raymond takes a look at what’s on offer:

“The most easily accessible image of sailing – big boat, crew, lots of moving parts – is belied by Olympic sailing.

“Some of the best Olympic-style sailors in the world are in Abu Dhabi, competing in six of the eight Olympic classes around the Corniche and Lulu Island in the 2015 ISAF Sailing World Cup Final. Rather than the big, majestic multi-crew boats that feature in the likes of the Volvo Ocean Race and America’s Cup, the Olympic sailors often operate practically flatbeaded craft with a small sail sticking out.

“The resulting sport is, truly, unlike any other. It is, essentially, operating a small vehicle by straining and pulling to capture wind in a large sheet, in water. It’s surprisingly acrobatic, and when they get wind like they did around Abu Dhabi on Thursday, the first day of the competition that runs until Sunday’s final races, it can pick up a pace that enhances the best of its sporting aesthetics and competitiveness.”

And Amith Passela reports on Thursday’s beginning:

“With the sun on their backs, the majority of the sailors from Europe enjoyed an excellent opening day in the ISAF Sailing World Cup Final on the waters around Lulu Island and the Corniche.

“It was a near perfect day for sailing in the capital on Thursday, with England’s Bryony Shaw paving the way with a fine start to her title defence. She took the opening race win in the women’s RS:X ahead of Brazilian Patricia Freitas and Helene Noesmoen of France.”

Said Shaw:

“It was fun sailing out there, nice offshore, windy conditions. It was great to get some speed in the wind but still there was pressure to not get stuck in the light winds.

“I feel like I had a good day’s sailing today. I’m here to try and win the gold medal so it’s great to already be ahead.”

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Updated: October 30, 2015 04:00 AM