After handing the match race chequered flag to skipper Sven Erik HORSCH (GER), HM King Constantine was full of praise for the way Dubai has created an international stage for the sport.
A Very Exciting Experience
'This has been a very exciting experience for me,' he said. 'And it's obvious from the effort that they are putting into sailing here that it will lead to a lot of champions in this area in the future. I'm sure I'll be coming back here very often from now on, and our President feels the same. There is so much vitality in Dubai.'
HM King Constantine watched the action from an official boat alongside ISAF President Gorän PETERSSON and Saeed HAREB managing director of Dubai International Marine Club and the regatta's chief executive.
Together they saw Italy, skippered by Simone FERRARESE, defeat Silja LEHTINEN and her all ladies crew from Finland to snatch third place in the Dubai Match Race, before the powerful Germans won the final showdown.
The championship match was effectively decided by a penalty collected by the Indians for an early race infringement. While Mahesh RAMCHANDRAN (IND) guided his crew into a clear lead, they eventually lost it when they took their compulsory 360 degree turn leaving the Germans with a clear path to victory.
German skipper HORSCH said, 'At the start we gave the Indian team a penalty which will cost you about four to five boat lengths. We were only about two lengths behind on the first leg so we were calm. We knew we had the speed so we waited for them to take their penalty in order to overtake them.'
Added HORSCH, 'It's great sailing in Dubai. It would be wonderful if the World Match Racing Tour did a stop here. There's great support for sailing in this region and I can see the events getting bigger, and attracting more competitors internationally. We'll definitely be back, not just because it's a great event, but because we have to defend our title.'
Indian skipper RAMCHANDRAN said, 'Even with the penalty I thought we could recover, but then we had a problem with the sheet when we took our penalty and that cost us any chance of winning.'
He added, 'The event was fantastic. We're looking forward to coming back in April for the ISAF Nations Cup [the ISAF Grade 2 Regional Final for Asia will be held in Dubai from 2-7 April]. We were aiming for the top three so getting into the finals was a bonus.
'But after going so far we were then hoping to win. As a crew we can only get better with more experience, as we're still fairly new to match racing compared to the Germans.'
Dubai Match Race Final Standings