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25 January 2006, 12:14 pm
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Dubai Match Race 2006
Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Germany underlined their intentions to become the first ISAF Grade 3 Dubai Match Race champions today with another assured display in the UAE as the second round robin series brought some fascinating head to head sailing combat.
The German team, skippered by Sven Erik HORSCH, began the second day in the Emirates Airline sponsored event with successive match wins against two of their closest challengers, India and Sweden, to become the first to notch up five victories.

After scoring four wins out of five matches on Tuesday to tie the Germans at the end of the opening day, the Indian team, skippered by Mahesh RAMCHANDRAN, lost a close encounter with HORSCH after collecting a penalty for a false start.

But RAMCHANDRAN quickly set his sights on a place in the last four in Sunday's climax to the exciting new match racing series off Dubai International Marine Club, which is being contested using the new V1/Lutra-30 Sport Boat built in Dubai and being used competitively for the first time this week by each of the teams.

'We made a slight mistake at the start of our first match today and collected a penalty as a result,' he said. 'The toughest competitors are the Germans and the Italians. We have now raced against both and been beaten by both.

'We need to break into the semi finals and take it from there, and I don't want to make any more silly mistakes. The boat is definitely different for us and a very interesting one. We're still figuring it out as it has a different set up to what we're used to.'

After scoring two match victories out of five on the opening day, the Dubai Offshore Sailing Club team skippered by Australian Mark FEILBERG quickly picked up another two wins today over John BACK's Swedish challengers and the Finnish all ladies crew led by Silja LEHTINEN.

The Finish team had earlier defeated Cedric LE REST's Dubai International Marine Club team to add to their single win in three matches during Tuesday's opening round robins series. LE REST then secured his first success of the series by outsmarting the Swedes.

Having started the Dubai Match Race as one of the favourites for outright victory, the LEHTINEN and co. were taking their time to adjust to the new V1/Lutra-30.

LEHTINEN, who has been included in the Finnish Olympic training squad since 2001 and has her sights on the 2008 Games, said, 'Performance wise we made a huge improvement since yesterday. This is the first time that this team has sailed together and it's a case of getting used to each other and our different roles.

'It will take time to get to know the new boat but we're learning as much as we can and doing it as fast as possible. For us, the winds so far this week have been light but that's fine. Although we haven't sailed against the German team yet from what we've seen and heard they will be one of the strongest teams here.'

One of the UAE's brightest young sailing hopes, Ahmed SHAHEEN, also took his Dubai International Marine Club team to their first match win of the event as they defeated LE REST as the second round robin series continued in the lagoon fronting Le Meridien Mina Seyahi Beach Resort and Marina.

Organised by DIMC in conjunction with the UAE Marine Sports Federation, the event is co-sponsored by Le Meridien Mina Seyahi Beach Resort and Marina, the official hotel, Marine Pool and V1 Advanced Composite Technologies. Other official suppliers for the event are Trek, Al Boom Marine, Dubai's Victory Team, Duboats, El Mundo, Nordest and Olympic Sails.

Narayan MARAR (As Amended by ISAF). Image, Action from Dubai:© Jorge FERRARI
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