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13 March 2006, 12:52 pm
COUTTS Backs Emirate To Give Sailing Big Lift Off
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Dubai Match Race Challenge 2006
Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Racing boats built in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, can help anchor world class sailing in the emirate, America's Cup legend Russell COUTTS (NZL) believes. COUTTS jetted in on Monday night for this week's Dubai Match Race Challenge, which sees him take on Danish star Jes GRAM-HANSEN (DEN) in a fascinating two day battle of wits.
And the New Zealander says the arrival of the new RC 44 racing boat, already on course to launch a major international regatta in Dubai next year even before making its competitive debut on Thursday, underlines the way sailing is taking off in the Emirate.

The RC 44 is being built by Dubai based V1 Advanced Composite Technologies who are supporting Dubai International Marine Club's drive to create a world class stage for match racing, and COUTTS believes the plan will be a big success.

COUTTS Impressed

'The climate and water conditions look to be almost perfect for boating activities and Dubai International Marine Club has an organizational structure that can run major international sailing events,' he said.

'These events will give international exposure to what is a relatively unknown but fantastic new sailing venue. Dubai has a central location between the major European and Asian sailing events, and events in November, February and March will fit well into the international calendar of regattas.'

V1 Advanced Composite Technologies is working with Pauger CARBON from Budapest, Hungary to construct the high performance composite built RC 44s to stringent CouttsJustin design specifications.

Being selected for the job was a huge endorsement for V1, while the new boat will feature in a one design class international fleet racing championship in Dubai in March 20007.

Spotlight On COUTTS

The spotlight this week, however, is firmly on COUTTS and his match racing team as they prepare to tackle GRAM-HANSEN's crew, drawn from America's Cup challengers, the Italian based Mascalzone Latino - Capitalia Team.

The Dubai Match Race Challenge will serve up a fascinating tactical battle on Thursday and Friday, with six 20 minute rounds of close combat match racing that is eagerly awaited by the local sailing community.

The action takes place on a virtual square course cradled by Dubai International Marine Club, its beachside Le Meridian resort hotel and the Palm Jumeirah breakwater, meaning excellent viewing opportunities for the public,

Dubai International Marine Club is also laying on spectator boats, places on which will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. On both days the activities get under#way at 1430 local time with a series of Optimist and Laser events featuring many of the UAE's best young sailing talents, before the match racing begins at 1600.

Tony LEWIS (As Amended by ISAF). Image, Russell COUTTS arrived in Dubai today:© Tony LEWIS
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