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8 March 2005, 11:37 am
Horizon Sails On With Strong Lead
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Maktoum Sailing Trophy
Dubai, UAE

Horizon FCB will take a powerful lead into the fifth round of the Maktoum Sailing Trophy later this month as the new series continues to build interest around the Gulf region and overseas.
Victory in last weekend's Dubai-Muscat Race has opened up an eight-point overall advantage for Horizon, owned by Sheikh Khaled BIN ZAYED AL NAHYAN and skippered by Frenchman Christophe VANEK, over her nearest challenger, David WORRALL'S (UAE) Sharazad.

With teams scoring points for each boat they finish ahead of, the 36.7 ft yacht appears to be in control of the seven-round series which next features the Dubai Offshore Sailing Club series from 31 March-1 April.

'Horizon has been very consistent and has a strong lead, but with three rounds of the series remaining the series if far from over,' said Saeed HAREB, Managing Director of Dubai International Marine Club, organizers of the Maktoum Sailing Trophy. 'It was designed to produce competitive sailing from start to finish, and that's what we're seeing, with the handicap system helping the smaller boats keep up with the larger racing yachts and cruisers.'

Launched last December, the series has already gone some way towards it's goal of taking sailing to a new level in the region. Leading UAE challengers have been joined by competitors from Oman, Qatar and Bahrain, and the opening four rounds have also seen guest appearances from French America's Cup skipper Alain FÉDENSIEU and two 18ft skiff world title winners from Australia, Michael SPIEF and Matthew PEARSE.

The top four finishers in the Dubai-Muscat Race now hold the leading four positions overall. Serdal Dubai, owned by Sheikh Rashid BIN KHALIFA AL MAKTOUM and skippered by Australian Mark FEILBERG, is in third spot ahead of David ROSTANT's Switch Blade.

Regatta chairman Sid BENSALAH, sailing manager at Dubai International Marine Club, said: 'We're now looking forward to a highly competitive series of short course races at Dubai Offshore Sailing Club and there's still a great deal to fight for.'

The other two remaining rounds of the Maktoum Sailing Trophy are the Dubai-Sir Bunair-Abu Dhabi Race on 7-8 April and the Around The World Race in Dubai on 21-22 April.

Leading positions after 4 of 7 rounds:

Pos Name Owner Pts
1 Horizon FCB Christophe VANEK 89
2 Sharazad David WORRALL 81
3 Serdal Dubai Mark FEILBERG 75
4 Switch Blade David ROSTANT 70
5 Xclusive Yousef BIN LAHEJ 60
6 Southern Cross Patrick CAHILL 45
7 Mina Effect Brian HILLESDON 41
8 Shockwave Aquamarine Alan SKENNERTON 33
9 Twister Glywn ROWLANDS 29
10 Insatiable John ROSE 25
Tony Lewis (As Amended By ISAF). Image:© Total Communications
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