Muscat, 7th February 2020: After 12 days and four locations along more than 1,500KM of pristine Omani coastline, the 2020 EFG Sailing Arabia – The Tour will come down to the fifth and final stage in Muscat on 7-8 February.
The title looks as if it is team EFG Bank’s to lose after another impressive performance in Stage 4 in Sur, Oman. EFG Bank is yet to lose the top spot on the overall leaderboard, and forged a six-point gap on their closest rivals, Groupe Atlantic, after winning four out of the five stadium races held on day 2 in Sur.
EFG Bank Skipper Sofian Bouvet said: “It was about 15 to 18 knots so we sailed with a reef and it was also quite choppy here in Sur. We haven’t sailed a lot in these conditions but we managed very well, finishing first in four races. So, we are very happy and are just staying focused on our performance going into the final few days of racing.”
It is the fight for second place that is shaping up to be one of the most memorable stories of the tenth edition of EFG Sailing Arabia – The Tour. The gap between the second placed Groupe Atlantic and the third ranked DB Schenker has reduced to just five points with only two days of racing remaining.
DB Schenker started strong in Sur, holding off a strong challenge from EFG Bank to win their first coast raid of the event on day 1. But a first, second and a third in the stadium races on day 2 ensured Groupe Atlantic would remain in second place overall heading into the Muscat stage.
French sailor Aristide Gasquet of team Groupe Atlantic said: “It was hard work to drive the boat through the waves today and make it fast but we were happy to do enough to stay in second place in the overall standings.
“There are still two long days to go in Muscat and we just need to lift and sail better and faster than we have so far.”
A total of eight teams, made up of sailors from France, Switzerland, Spain, and Oman, are taking part in the 2020 EFG Sailing Arabia – The Tour. The matched fleet of DIAM24s, the same boats used in the Tour Voile, have been racing in four distinct locations across Oman: Salalah, the sub-tropical home of Frankincense; the port city and shipping hub of Duqm; the picturesque and wildlife haven in Masirah Island; and the ancient ship-building city of Sur.
Stage 5 of the 2020 EFG Sailing Arabia – The Tour will be held at Al Mouj Marina in Muscat, with trophy presentation to be held on Saturday 8 February at Muscat International Airport.