x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

RAK skipper 'rapt' with crew's display in Sailing Arabia

John Curran, the skipper, was pleased with the progress of his inexperienced crew, who finished in sixth place in their home leg, saying: "The guys deserved a good result and we're rapt." Audio interviews

Emirati Marjed Sultan Al Bulushi yesterday marked his first appearance on Ras Al Khaimah by helping the crew to their best position of Sailing Arabia - The Tour in what was their home leg.

The RAK Higher College of Technology student was invited to join the team for the in-shore race in Abu Dhabi at the weekend. He remained part of the seven-strong crew who sailed out of last position for the first time and into sixth place after the nine-strong fleet completed the 232 kilometre leg from Abu Dhabi to RAK.

John Curran, the skipper, was pleased with the progress of his inexperienced crew.

"The guys deserved a good result and we're rapt," he said. "The script couldn't have gone better."

The same teams finished in the top five places, with Commercialbank and BAE Systems again sandwiched between Courrier Dunkerque in first and Al Thuraya BankMuscat in fourth.

Commercialbank did, however, manage to turn the tables on BAE Systems from the Abu Dhabi leg, this time finishing seven minutes and seven seconds ahead in second. Team Renaissance were fifth, again losing out on fourth to the all-female crew of Al Thuraya BankMuscat by 14 minutes.

"Tactically, this was without question the most difficult leg of the tour with ever-changing conditions, a strong current and an incredible amount of shipping," Dee Caffari, the skipper of the all-Omani crew, said. "It was like a motorway out there. But through all that the girls hung in and come [tomorrow] we'll go out again and try to go one better."

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Oman's Ahmed Al Mamari said his Team Renaissance crew believe they are still a genuine contender for a place on the podium but rued their tangle with an abandoned fishing net near the finish.

"We sailed well and I'm realistic because of the professional sailors we are racing but we're finding better speed and working together as a crew," Al Mamari said.

An in-port race today is followed by the start of leg 4 to Oman tomorrow.

* Compiled by The National staff with agency