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20 March 2006, 01:38 pm
Pal Zileri Stick To Winning Formula
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Maktoum Sailing Trophy 2006
Dubai, United Arab Emirates

The new Pal Zileri Sailing Team is sticking with a winning formula for this weekend's second round of the Maktoum Sailing trophy after making a flying start to the series earlier this month.Skipper Kristian TZANOV is confident his crew, a mixture of local and international talent, can produce another solid two days of racing in the latest leg of the four-round fleet racing event at Jebel Ali Sailing Club on Thursday and Friday (23-24 March).
Organised by Dubai International Marine Club, the Maktoum Sailing Trophy brings together a mixture of purpose-built racing yachts that vie for honours in fleet race format, meaning all boats leave the start at the same time.

With the contenders varying in size from 25 to 44 feet, the larger, faster boats concede time advantages to the smaller boats based on the International Racing Certificate handicapped system which takes into account hull and sail dimensions.

TZANOV made his name in motocross before switching to the Class 1 World Powerboat Championship, and he led his crew to victory over defending champions Horizon FCB in all but one fleet-race in the first round.

After winning both the opening day's races, Bulgarian-born TZANOV, a throttleman in Class 1 challenger Ceramiche Flamina, guided Pal Zileri to two out of three wins on the second day, while FCB finished runner up in all five races.

Maktoum Sailing Trophy 2

'I'm very happy with the winning team and I'm not going to change it,' said TZANOV, just prior to a training session in heavy wind. 'The crew was great last time and I sure they will do the job again this time.'

All the action is going to happen at the Jebel Ali Sailing Club, which has enjoyed great support from the local community in the past 29 years and Commodore Brian HILLESDON said the Maktoum Sailing Trophy had done a lot to bolster that support.

'This year we have great interest in our youth team sailing the Mina Effect, which has mostly teenagers on board, some as young as 12, and it's being managed and skippered by two adults with great experience; Peter ELDRIDGE and Jon HEMINGWAY,' said HILLESDON.

Horizon FCB skipper Christophe VANEK will be looking for big improvements at the weekend. 'We made two huge mistakes in the first round, we arrived early at the start twice so if we minimise the mistakes we will have more of a chance to do well,' said VANEK.

VANEK had former offshore World Champion Alain FÉDENSIEU sailing with him during the first round but this time Philippe PECHE has joined his crew. PECHE was crew aboard Orange when it sailed around the world in 64 days to win the Jules Verne Trophy and he has also competed in a Sydney to Hobart race.

'This weekend it's very simple - we know what we have to do, we have to do what we did last week because we were second, just slightly better,' said VANEK.

'At the end of the day it's great fun but sailing is a complex sport; you can't just put on your boots and shorts and play. When you're sailing you have the boats and wind and you also have to worry about the sails, crew and navigation.'

Maktoum Sailing Trophy 3

Regatta Chairman Sid BENSALAH, sailing manager at Dubai International Marine Club, forecast a good 12-15 knot north-westerly wind for the event and is pleased that the standard of competition is rising.

'The level has increased tremendously this year,' he said. 'Everybody is excited about finishing well and getting ready for next year when the event will be held over 10 days from February 15-24. The new format will make it easier for the boats to bring in top crews from overseas to support the local talent, and this year it has been great to see the local community taking it really seriously and performing well in some new boats.'

Racing in the second round of the Maktoum Sailing Trophy starts on Thursday at 1300 followed by live entertainment at Jebel Ali Sailing Club. Action resumes on Friday at 1020 and concludes with a curry buffet at around 1800.

Maktoum Sailing Trophy standings after 1 of 4 rounds:

Class 1

1. Pal Zileri Sailing Team (Kristian TZANOV)
2. Horizon FCB (Christophe VANEK)
3. Switchblade (David ROSTANT)
4. Southern Cross (Patrick CAHILL)
5. Goodrich Serdal (Paul DILWORTH)
6. Victory (Jeroen LEENEN)
7. Tissaheel 2 (Robert WEIGHT)
8. Virgo Bellica (Cedric Le REST)
9. Twister (Karen ROWLANDS)
10. Vacheron Constantin Team Racing (Mark DEVITT)
11. Mina Effect (Peter Eldriddge)

Class 2

1. Blitzem (Gil SMITH)
2. Insatiable (John ROSE)
3. Al Awal (Jon ATHERTON/Lyndon THOMAS)
4. Binker (Ben TRENOUTH)

Tony LEWIS (As Amended By ISAF). Image, Pal Zileri © Tony LEWIS
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