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21 April 2005, 03:47 pm
Serdal Dubai Makes Flying Start
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Maktoum Sailing Trophy
Dubai, UAE

The race for the Maktoum Sailing Trophy may have already been decided, but the battle for honours looks set to continue right to the end of the seven-round series tomorrow afternoon.
That was the appetising prospect after the opening exchanges in the final round of the series off Dubai International Marine today as Serdal Dubai attempted to produce her own grand finale.

With Horizon FCB already installed as the first winners of the Maktoum title, the main spotlight fell on the battle for the two remaining podium places, and it was Serdal, owned by Sheikh RASHID BIN KHALIFA AL MAKTOUM, which made the first decisive move, winning the first of the day's three races.

After an intriguing series of offshore and short course racing, the climax to the season was largely a pleasure cruise for Horizon skipper Christophe VANEK (FRA) and his crew, including the boat's owner, Sheikh KHALED BIN ZAYED AL NAHYAN.

But with only two points separating the next three boats in the standings, David WORRALL's (UAE) Shahrazad, Serdal Dubai skippered by Mark FEILBERG (AUS), and Will RAMAGE's Switchblade were locked in a last-round tussle to decide the two remaining podium positions.

Lying third overall at the start of the day, Serdal made the perfect start, taking control of the opening race early on and going on to win it despite the 44ft boat's handicap burden.

Horizon took second place, and with Switchblade finishing third ahead of Shahrazad, WORRALL and his crew were clearly under pressure as they attempted to hold on to their second place overall in the series.

Just as Horizon has dominated the series overall since it began back in December, John ROSE has been in command of Class 2 in Insatiable. Having already clinched the second division title he had to settle for second place however in the opening race of the day behind David MADDEN's Time Out.

It was a case of normal service resumed in the day's second race as VANEK guided Horizon to victory from Serdal Dubai, with Shahrazad this time finishing third ahead of Switchblade to maintain her challenge for runner's-up spot in the series.

Southern Cross, skippered by Patrick CAHILL, and Amirah, with Cedric LE REST standing in for Yousef BIN LAHEJ, completed the top six.

In Class 2 Time Out again had the edge over Insatiable, which was followed home by Irene skippered by John FORD, John ATHERTON's Al Awal and Goan Bananas skippered by Ged LANGOSZ.

The final round of the series reaches it's conclusion with three more races off Dubai International Marine Club tomorrow, while the official prize giving and Gala Dinner takes place on Saturday evening at at Le Meridien Mina Seyahi Beach Resort and Marina, the official hotel for the series.

Tony Lewis (As Amended By ISAF). Image, The start of racing today:© Event Media
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