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29 January 2006, 09:14 am
Germany to Face India in the Final
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Dubai Match Race 2006
Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Germany will face India in a final showdown to decide the new Dubai Match Race title this afternoon. Skippered by Sven Erik HORSCH, Germany defeated Finland's all-ladies crew while Mahesh RAMCHANDRAN guided India to victory over Italy in the semi-finals of the new Emirates Airline-sponsored match racing series on a dramatic day of sailing witnessed by some distinguished and Royal observers.
ISAF President Gorän PETERSSON and His Majesty King Constantine visited Dubai International Marine Club and were highly impressed by a venue certain to stage many more major international sailing events.

Launched using the new V1/Lutra-30 Sport Boat, the Dubai Match Race has been an outstanding first-time success, and Germany and India both maintained their title drive by winning each of the first two matches in their best-of-three semi-finals to march on.

Taking advantage of their privilege as the leading qualifier, Germany had selected the Finns as their semi-final opponents, based on skipper HORSCH'S belief that 'the heavy winds today will give us a weight advantage.'

So it proved, and while the Germans will start as favourites in the final while Silja LEHTINEN'S Finns take on Italy for third place, India plan to come out fighting.

'We haven't beaten the Germans yet, but when we lost to them last time it was because of a mistake,' said skipper RAMCHANDRAN. 'We'll try and make sure we don't make any more tomorrow.'

PETERSSON said that the Dubai Match Race has everything needed to be elevated next year from an ISAF Grade 3 event to a Grade 1 series carrying full world-ranking status. 'An application must be made to the ISAF and certain requirements have to be met, but Dubai has got what it takes - absolutely,' he said. 'There have been some fantastic developments since I last came here in 1998. Everything is right for sailing here.'

PETERSSON and HM King Constantine were welcomed by Saeed HAREB, managing director of DIMC and the regatta's chief executive, who outlined Dubai's plans for more significant sailing developments.

These include the opening of a new, state-of-the art sailing academy next year at DIMC, the expansion of a junior training programme which has created a UAE national team, and the staging of more international events, with a particular emphasis on match racing.

Australian skipper Mark FEILBERG and his Dubai Offshore Sailing Club crew had looked to be on their way into the Dubai Match Race semi-finals when they defeated John BACK'S Swedish team in the first of the remaining round robin matches yesterday morning.

But the Finnish ladies had already started with a win against Cedric Le REST'S DIMC crew, and they followed up with further match victories against FEILBERG, the Italians, and finally Germany to book their place in the last four.

After watching Germany lose a clear advantage to the Finns in the final match of the round robin series to bring about his team's elimination, FEILBERG said: 'We're very happy to see the girls go through, although it's disappointing for us to go out like that. But we'll be back next year.'

Germany (Sven Erik HORSCH) 10pts
India (Mahesh RAMCHANDRAN) 10pts
Italy (Simone FERRARESE) 8ts
Finland (Silja LEHTINEN) 8ts
DOSC (Mark FEILBERG) 7pts
Sweden (John BACK) 6pts
DIMC 1 (Ahmed SHAHEEN) 4pts
DIMC 2 (Cedric Le REST) 3pts

Semi-finals:

Germany (Sven Erik HORSCH) bt Finland (Silja LEHTINEN) 2-0
India (Mahesh RAMCHANDRAN) bt Italy (Simone FERRARESE) 2-0.

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, Team Finland battle for their place in the semis:© Jorge FERRARI
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