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6 April 2005, 04:59 pm
Serdal Aims For Record Win
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Maktoum Sailing Trophy
Dubai, UAE

Serdal Dubai will be looking for a record-breaking performance in the penultimate round of the Maktoum Sailing Trophy to keep their title hopes alive.
Owned by Sheikh Rashid BIN KHALIFA AL MAKTOUM, the 44ft French-built racing yacht currently trails leader Horizon FCB and second-placed Sharazad in the series, but Australian skipper Mark FEILBERG and his crew are prepared for a mighty effort in this month's final two rounds.

FEILBERG approaches the Dubai-Sir Bunair-Dubai Race starting on Thursday morning full of confidence. He took line honours in record time over the same 108-nautical mile course in round two and knows strong winds could help him take outright victory this time.

The largest and fastest of the new generation of boats currently contesting the Maktoum Trophy, organized by Dubai International Marine Club, Serdal carries a big time handicap which is a major burden during the short course races.

It is a different story during the longer offshore races, and strong winds expected at the weekend could help FEILBERG make the most of the points-scoring system which rewards boats for each rival they finish ahead of.

'There are some good winds forecast at the weekend and we're looking forward to it,' said FEILBERG. 'It's a double points race and gives us an opportunity to catch up again. We took some points off Sharazad last weekend and with two rounds left all it takes is for Horizon to have one bad series and we could close the gap on them. But they're tough competition and it won't be easy.'

FEILBERG and his crew would love to secure the first Maktoum Sailing Trophy for the boat's owner, Sheikh RASHID. 'He bought the boat to learn to sail and is very passionate about it,' said FEILBERG. 'He's been great with the crew, giving us 100 per cent support.'

In two previous rounds Serdal Dubai was assisted by Australians Michael SPIEF and Matthew PEARSE who flew in to fine tune the boat and coach the Dubai-based crew.

'We've done all the crew work that we needed to do and we don't need anybody else to come in and help,' said FEILBERG. 'We've got a good team, our performances are improving, and we're hoping we can pull this one off.'

Horizon skipper Christoph VANEK (FRA) said earlier this week that the title race is between himself, second round winner David WORRALL (UAE) and FEILBERG.

The record race time of exactly 24 hours established by Serdal in January should be easily surpassed on Friday, although FEILBERG is taking nothing for granted. 'We're hoping to knock at off at least four or five hours if we get a good consistent breeze,' he said. 'But the weather forecast can be wrong. We weren't supposed to get any wind last weekend and yet we had 15 knots for the first race.'

Regatta chairman Sid BENSALAH is delivering a final briefing to the skippers at Dubai International Marine Club tonight ahead of Thursday's 1100 hours (local UAE time) start.

Tony Lewis (As Amended By ISAF). Image, Serdal Dubai:© Event Media
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