Monday, February 25, 2008

Maktoum Sailing Trophy starts today with Russell Coutts participation

[Source: Maktoum Sailing Trophy] 31 boats confirmed for major sailing extravaganza that starts from today.

An exciting field of 31 boats will take to the waters off Mina Seyahi in three divisions for the opening day of the Maktoum Sailing Trophy here from today.

This year’s race – the fourth edition and definitely much more professionally run than the previous three – has attracted some of the top sailors including three-time America’s Cup champion Russell Coutts and other greats such as Francis Carr, Marcus Wieser, Alexander Mercier, Matt Allen, Andrea Zaffin and Robert Weight.

The atmosphere at the race-opening skippers’ briefing was well attended with crew members eager to get in some last-minute details on rules and technical aspects before sailing gets under way from 11 am today.

“When we launched this series four years ago, we had predicted that this event would be an exciting new chapter for sailing. We now want to build on this aspect and we are happy we are headed in the right direction with such a strong field of some of the best sailors in the world attending this year,” remarked Saeed Hareb, Managing Director of Dubai International Marine Club (DIMC). The event’s actual format will feature a combination of short course and offshore match racing starting from today.

“Qatar has sent in a boat that arrived late last night. With this the number of participants has gone up to 31 boats and we are pleased with the numbers and the quality of the field,” stated Sid Benselah, the DIMC Race Department Director.

“The format and timing of this event makes it much more convenient for everyone, especially for overseas competitors. The aim of this competition is to ensure this is one of the sporting highlights on the calendar,” Bensaleh added.

Dubai-based Yo!, skippered by Toby O’Connell be out to defend the title they won in Division 1 last year, while Le Meridien Mina Seyahi, skippered by Germany’s America’s Cup sailor Marcus Weiser, will have to keep up their form if they are to successfully defend the Division 2 title.

Andrea Zaffin-skippered Eureka – winner of Division 3 last year – may find the going tough against the other boats in the fray including Rush Knot, Still Pennyless, Irene, Jafetica Team Marine Tech and Christophe Vanek’s North Star.The event is being held under the patronage of Shaikh Mayed Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

The fourth edition of the Maktoum Sailing Trophy is sponsored by Emirates Airline, AGMC BMW, Le Meridien Mina Seyahi Beach Resort and Marina, The Westin Dubai and Marine Pool.



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