While Australian Mark FEILBERG guided Serdal Dubai home 47 minutes ahead of Horizon to take line honours, the 44ft yacht, the largest in the fleet, lost out on handicap to both VANEK, and Will RAMAGE who skippered Switchblade to second place overall.
Finishing fourth in Sharazad, David WORRALL (UAE) and his crew just managed to hold on to second place overall in the series, but with just two points now separating them, Serdal and Switchblade there will be a great deal at stake in the last round of the series.
This unfolds on 21-22 April, with Maktoum Trophy organizers Dubai International Marine Club setting an offshore course around The World, Nakheel's spectacular development off the Dubai coastline.
Finishing at Dubai Offshore Sailing Club, the sixth round of the exciting race series brought another impressive performance from John ROSE and Insatiable who clinched the Class 2 title in emphatic style by finishing fifth overall.
While the scoring system means it will require nine boats to finish ahead of Horizon in the final round to deny VANEK the title, he will not be celebrating just yet.
'We could damage the boat or tear the main sail and lose the championship in the last round, so it's not over completely,' he said. 'We've got to finish the race, and we'll be going all out to win it. In the meantime there's very little between Sharazad, Serdal and Switchblade and they'll have a big battle.'
Needing to win round six and rely on Horizon finishing no better than third to maintain a realistic chance of winning the title, WORRALL tried everything, and at one point climbed his boat's 15-metre mast to untangle the spinnaker.
'Mathematically it's still possible for Horizon to be caught,' he said. 'But that's very unlikely because they have been so consistent throughout the series.'
FEILBERG's worst moment came when bowman Andrew WHEATLEY fell overboard in the darkness as Serdal negotiated her way around Sir Bunair island. It was ten minutes before WHEATLEY was hauled back on board using a rescue sling, although the delay did not prevent Serdal from shattering the race record with a time of 18 hours, 29 minutes and 52 seconds.
'We were hoping to build up a big enough lead to win overall and I think we had a big enough gap around 6am when we were near The Palm Jumeirah,' said FEILBERG. 'But then the wind died and we had to drop the spinnaker and work hard to get to the finish while the breeze came up again later to help the others.'
Second place overall means Switchblade is now a serious contender for runners-up spot in the series, with RAMAGE building on the good work of David ROSTANT who had skippered the boat to third place in the previous round at DOSC a week earlier.
The husband and wife combination of Glywn and Karen ROWLANDS overcame a number of obstacles to complete the top six in Twister. Starting without two of their regular crew members, they had to find their way through the darkness for four hours using only hand held GPS equipment when battery problems left them without any working instruments.
Maktoum Sailing Trophy, Round Six Results
|1||Horizon FCB||Christophe VANEK||8|
|2||Switch Blade||David ROSTANT||7|
|3||Serdal Dubai||Mark FEILBERG||6|
|7||Amirah||Yousef BIN LAHEJ||2|
|8||Mina Effect||Brian HILLESDON||1|
|1||Horizon FCB||Christophe VANEK||117|
|3||Serdal Dubai||Mark FEILBERG||99|
|4||Switch Blade||David ROSTANT||98|
|5||Southern Cross||Patrick CAHILL||53|
|6||Mina Effect||Brian HILLESDON||49|
|7||Shockwave Aquamarine||Alan SKENNERTON||40|
|10||Amirah||Yousef BIN LAHEJ||30|