x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Skipper Bertrand Pace pays tribute to Team AISM after overall win in Sailing Arabia - The Tour

The Dubai crew emerge the overall winners of the sailing tournament.

Team AISM were so far ahead of other boats their lead was not under threat on the final day. Courtesy EFG Bank Sailing Arabia
Team AISM were so far ahead of other boats their lead was not under threat on the final day. Courtesy EFG Bank Sailing Arabia

The Dubai-based Team AISM sealed overall victory in Sailing Arabia – The Tour as they won the final stage of the event between Mussanah and Muscat.

The team, skippered by the America's Cup helmsman Bertrand Pace, won the title by 10.25 points, ahead of BAE Systems and EFG Bank Monaco following their latest success.

"We enjoyed this year's event a lot," said the Frenchman Pace. "We have a good crew – everyone was very focused on winning this race. It is much easier when the guys are working like that because we have good speed, good navigation and tactics."

Pace added that he and the crew had enjoyed a different schedule with more daytime racing in this year's event.

"This tour was much easier than the previous years because there was less night sailing and more downwind," he said.

"Conditions were similar to the Mediterranean this year with the thermal effect. But still it is two weeks of racing, so it is still hard."

Pace and his crew's overall lead was never in any danger as Cedric Pouligny and his BAE Systems crew concentrated on securing second spot, successfully defending their position from Sidney Gavignet's EFG Bank as they finished seventh and eighth.

"We had more to lose than to gain, so basically it was a bit of a match race," said Pouligny.

"We had a very good start and were first at the upwind mark and then Bertrand Pace managed to pass us, but he was not really important. Sidney gained on us and was trying to make us go higher until we got separated from the fleet. We were in a difficult position, but we managed to have good speed and stay low."

Gavignet, the EFG Bank skipper, had a few regrets about how the leg had panned out.

"We had a good race, but we should have gone and got them [BAE Systems] before the start line," he said. "But it was a nice race, a nice fight with everyone."

Nine teams had started the race and nine completed the event as Team Abu Dhabi, who were led by Adil Khaled, returned following their grounding and helicopter rescue on Leg 2.

Final standings

Team AISM – 17.25

BAE Systems – 27.50

EFG Bank – 29.25

Delft Challenge – 34.50

Team Messe Frankfurt – 39.00

Renaissance – 45.75

Al Thuraya Bank Muscat – 52.25

Royal Navy of Oman – 71.50

Team Abu Dhabi – 80.25

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