Sweden's Rebecka Harding rewrote the history of the Dubai International Sailing Week Regatta by becoming the first female overall winner after producing a stunning show on the last day of the competition on Friday.
After hanging in second place for the last two days, the Swedish top seed swept past Italy's Lorenzo Carloia to snatch a memorable victory in this Dubai International Marine Club (DIMC) hosted event. The turning point of the final day was Carloia slipping to 16th in the first race while Harding held off a credible sixth and then rounded off a brilliant first in the following race. "I am really delighted to win this event. And I feel it is not something that everyone can achieve,"
said a delighted Harding.
Harding, who turns 16 next month, added: "It is very hard to accept that I can't be in Optimist any more as this is the maximum permitted age in this class. But I will continue sailing in Europe class and hope to one day make it to the Olympic level."
Harding had a poor start in the first race. But when the wind started moving, she managed to tackle the shifts properly and ended up with better results than her nearest opponent Carloia. After 11 races and two discards, Harding's scoresheet read 3-2-3-4-1-4-4-6-1 and placed her a point lower (28) than Carloia (29) at the top of the table. Fredrico Maccari of Italy who hung on top through the first two days finished fourth.
The Swede also bagged the girls overall title. Astrid Zweistra and Nikola Ocenasova of Holland came second and third respectively.
"Once again we had abnormal weather conditions and this delayed the start for almost an hour. But in general we are happy that we could have 11 races, which allowed competitors to discard two races and count nine,"
explained race officer Brian Hooper.
The third edition of the event thus ended on a high note and Sid Ahmed Bensalah, regatta chairman, like everyone involved with the competition, expressed total satisfaction."I am so glad that once again we were able to run the event in the best possible way. And, to have a female winner in the event is a big achievement."
Sid also said that the event is getting bigger every year. "Already this event had gained reputation around the world. In the next few years it could also become one of the biggest Optimist event in the world,"
According to provisional results after 11 races, Abdulhakim Bin Dasmal of the UAE held the top position in Optimist junior category. Fredric Jacobs, representing the DIMC came second and Zeyad El Bokl of Egypt was in third place.
The Laser 4.7 class that featured teams from Bahrain and the UAE saw Mohanna Al Dossari of Bahrain winning with a tally of 16 points. He was followed by Abdulaziz Yaqoob (24) also of Bahrain and Abdulla Al Romaithi (36) of the UAE in second and third places.
UAE's Adel Khalild who finished fifth yesterday, saw his brother Yousuf moving into fifth with 49 points.
Shamsa Bin Dasmal of the UAE, the lone female participant in this category, walked away with the girls trophy for Laser 4.7.
The official prize presentation followed by a gala dinner of the five-day event was held at the Le Meridian Mina Seyahi, Dubai later on Friday.
"The attendance of sailors from all over the world shows that Dubai is always a safe place to come and the UAE spells peace,"
said Saeed Hareb, managing director, DIMC, referring to the prevailing political situation in the region.
"All these sailors will now go back to their respective countries and spread the word of peace while they were here. They are our ambassadors."
The five-day event, held under the chairmanship of Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, was co-sponsored by Le Meridien Mina Seyahi, Winner, Al Boom Marine, El Mundo, Red Bull and ULO Leisure Marine.
Overall Results: Optimist:
1. Rebecka Harding (Sweden) 28pts,
2. Lorenzo Carloia (Italy) 29 pts,
3. Astrid Zweistra (Holland) 40pts,
1. Rebecka Harding (Sweden) 28pts,
2. Astrid Zweistra (Holland) 40pts,
3. Nikola Ocensova (Slovakia) 85pts,
1. Abdulhakim Bin Dasmal (UAE) 269pts,
2. Fredric Jacobs (DIMC) 275,
3. Zeyad El Bokl (Egypt) 276pts,
1. Mohanna Al Dossari (Bahrain) 16pts,
2. Abdulaziz Yaqoob (Bahrain) 24pts,
3. Abdullah Al Romaithi (UAE) 36pts,