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25 February 2005, 12:57 pm
Dubai-Muscat Race 2005
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Maktoum Sailing Trophy
Dubai, UAE

The leading contenders in the Maktoum Sailing Trophy prepare for their biggest test so far. Next week's Dubai-Muscat Race starts from Dubai International Marine Club on 3 March and finishes in the Omani capital four days later.
John ROSE (GBR) approaches the demanding 365-nautical mile event looking to build on his current lead in Class Two while keeping an eye on the overall title. He will be doing all this with the help of a United Arab Emirates' fisherman now hooked on sailing.

Rose and Hassan OMAR (UAE) are colleagues both at Ducab, a manufacturer of power cables in the Middle East, and aboard Insatiable, the Scot's 26ft racing cruiser now sponsored by the company for the fourth event in the seven-round series.

Omar, who joined the crew of Insatiable a year ago at the invitation of Rose, says, 'I used to go fishing but now you could say I'm hooked on sailing. I started off as a bit of an all-rounder on the boat and I'm now spending most of my time working the spinnaker.'

'I'm really enjoying the Maktoum Trophy,' he adds, having stayed up past midnight recently to catch a glimpse of Insatiable in action on the CNN sailing programme. 'I did the Dubai-Sir Bunair offshore race and enjoyed that, but this is a much longer event. It's three nights on board and a real test of endurance.'

Launched by Dubai International Marine Club as part of a drive to boost the popularity of sailing, the Matkoum Trophy has attracted a great deal of attention, as well as fourth-round sponsorship by Thuraya and SAFA CB.

This means that all competitors and the organizers will be linked through a US$1 billion regional mobile satellite telecommunications system. And with enthusiasts from around the region and overseas, following the series on the official DIMC website at www.dimc-uae.com, it's all a far cry from Rose's sailing origins.

He learnt to sail dinghies 40 years ago in his native north of Scotland in what he remembers as 'woolly jumpers and Wellington boots weather.'

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Having graduated to Class Two yachts ten years ago, he is now thoroughly enjoying the chance to tackle the bigger boats, like David WORRALL's (UAE) 36.4ft Sharazad and Brian HILLESDON's (GBR) 44.7ft Mina Effect (left), with the help of the IRC handicap system.

Currently leading Class Two from David MADDEN's Time Out and Binker, skippered by Ben TRENOUTH, Rose quietly admits that he has a double target in his sights.

'It's very open at the moment and we have one eye on Class Two and our other eye on the overall classification,' he says. 'We're seventh overall at the moment and the Dubai-Muscat Race is particularly interesting because anybody can win it, even a Class Two boat. There are two parts to the race really, because the conditions inside the Gulf will be very different to the conditions we find after we pass through the Straits of Hormuz. The wind governs everything of course and while there is a lot of skill involved you need more than your fair share of luck as well.'

Tony Lewis (As Amended by ISAF)
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