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21 February 2007, 03:19 pm
MERCIER On The Course To Victory
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Maktoum Sailing Trophy 2007
Dubai, United Arab Emirates

The third edition of the Maktoum Sailing Trophy is already into its third day with a change in the tide of racing boats. Le Meridien Mina Seyahi Kenavo, skippered by Alexander MERCIER (FRA), with DIMC Marina Manager Cedric LE REST (FRA) onboard, made an amazing change in performance.
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Up until yesterday Le Meridien Mina Seyahi Kenavo ranked third in the series position but, favourable winds and skilled tactics saw them emerge second in the first race of the day. They appear to be taking the final lead in the series. Le Meridien Mina Seyahi Beach Resort and Marina have over the past six year's full heartedly supported sailing. In the past years they sailed on Mina Effect and its seems to have paid off with a brand new boat recently purchased rightly named Le Meridien Mina Seyahi Kenavo.

Division two witnessed Yousef BIN LAHEJ (UAE) and his crew in Duboats racing starred in the first race of the day steering clearly in the first position but dropping to second place in the second race of the day. BIN LAHEJ has been immensely involved with the Dubai International Marine Club (DIMC) Youth Sailing programme started several years ago and has been an avid sailor himself. Following Duboats Racing was Le Meridien Mina Seyahi Kenavo, who secured the second place due to a wrong start and thus lost time. Spirit of Juniper managed a third place in the first round but fell to sixth place in the second round on the race day. In the second round of racing Le Meridien Mina Seyahi Kenavo picked up speed and secured a safe first position taking them up to second place in the overall. MERCIER of LMMS Kenavo described the race as very challenging and the weather conditions as favourable with a few swells of up to 2 feet. Shahrazad, who were sixth in the first round of racing, made a dramatic turn around and emerged third in the second round.

In division one, Mattafix did a great turn around to secure first place in race 1 of the day followed by Loon in second place and Faith in third place. In the second round of racing for the day Yo! had a great start and maintained their position to finish first followed by Mattafix who dropped to second place due to tactical errors. Piece of Art suddenly bobbed out of nowhere to take the third position in the second round.

TZANOV Making Progress

Francis CARR and Kristian TZANOV (BUL) in the Carrera sponsored Faith have shown tremendous progress since the start of the series. Despite their bad start and loss of almost two minutes they managed to pick up and finish fifth in the second round. TZANOV who clinched the title last year in Pal Zileri is hopeful that his team will make it to the top in the series.

Cameron PRICE and Will RAMAGE (UAE) in the Club Perdomo sponsored boat have been trying their best to stay at the top of the race but unfortunately have had ill luck. PRICE has been participating in the Maktoum Sailing Trophy Championship since its inception and has noticed a significant change in the organization of the races. 'It is very competitive and this is a challenge. It makes us pull up our socks and know that we are not the best but have to be and so we have to work on it.

'The Championship has certainly raised the level of competition over the past years with international involvement and experienced racers.'

Blitzem Falls Back

Blitzem skippered by Gil SMITH (GBR) dropped a notch down to second place in both rounds of racing of the day only to be overtaken by Eureka Group Sailing Team who put up an incredible performance securing the first position. Eureka has, since the Championship began, made progress and are now in second place overall. Still Pennyless retained their yesterday's performance to stay third in the race day in both rounds.

Sid Ahmed BENSALAH, championship organizer said, 'The lack of proper wind in the morning was frustrating but as it picked later it offered the perfect opportunity for sailing'. Speaking about the two rounds held today, BENSALAH added, 'The race witnessed a close fight, the sailors are very competitive and from tomorrow we shall know who the real contenders are with two days' of racing left'.

Saeed HAREB, Managing Director, Dubai International Marine Club, said, 'Ever since we launched the Maktoum Sailing Trophy three years ago, I see it is growing every year, this is an indication that the Championship is regarded as one with a very high standard and hence the increase in the number of teams'.

Patrick Francis (As Amended By ISAF). Image, Le Meridien Mina Seyahi Kenavo sails to victory in the second round of races yesterdays:© Jacques Vapillon/DIMC
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