x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Hopes high ahead of regatta

Adam Minoprio, the stand-in skipper of BMW Oracle Racing, is hoping his crews' improving form holds for today's opening leg of the fleet racing format.

DUBAI // Adam Minoprio, the stand-in skipper of BMW Oracle Racing, the only boat to beat Team Sea Dubai in the RC44 Champions Tour match races at Dubai International Marine Club this week, is hoping his crews' improving form holds for today's opening leg of the fleet racing format. "We have the tools to win this regatta," said Minoprio, who is leading the team in the absence of the legendary helmsman, Russell Coutts, the regular skipper is in Valencia contesting the America's Cup. "We did a good job beating the guys who almost went undefeated and we've talked through a few issues from the fleet race practice session. Now we need to go out there, step it up and not make any mistakes."

With tame offshore breezes again hindering the nine identical boats' progress yesterday, the 2009 champions Team No Way Back secured second in the match race rankings following successive head-to-head wins over Puerto Calero Islas Canarias and Team Aqua. "We've had a great last two days and the team has sailed really well," said the No Way Back skipper Ray Davies. "Hopefully we can keep the momentum running into the fleet racing. We just have to take it one race at a time. There's no pressure as defending champions; it gives us confidence that we can beat all of the teams."

Having finished the match race segment in third, the Team Artemis skipper Terry Hutchinson was another helmsman eyeing success in the fleet race sessions. "Our goal for the match racing was to make sure we finished on the podium and we've managed that," said Hutchinson. Three consecutive days of fleet races begin today, with the crews scheduled to leave the DIMC jetty at 11am. emegson@thenational.ae