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Female team EFG Sailing Arabia ~ The Tour 2020

With just two stages remaining of the 14-day EFG Sailing Arabia – The Tour in Oman, the all-female team DB Schenker is increasing the pressure on the top of the leaderboard.

After three stages and covering more than 1,000KM of the pristine and scenic Omani coastline, team EFG Bank remains the one to beat in the 2020 edition of EFG Sailing Arabia – The Tour and leads for a third consecutive stage. But the fight for silver is heating up, with DB Schenker quickly closing in on Groupe Atlantic.

There are only six points separating the second-placed Groupe Atlantic from DB Schenker in the overall standings, following a strong showing from the all-female team in the third of the five stages that make up the tour.

Stage 3 of EFG Sailing Arabia – The Tour was held in Masirah Island, a wildlife haven off the east coast of Oman that is growing in popularity with kitesurfers worldwide for its flat aqua water and consistent breeze.

While Groupe Atlantic remains second in the overall standings, DB Schenker claimed the silver spot for the Masirah Stage. Ibtisam al Salmi, who is one of two Omani sailors in Team DB Schenker, said: “I feel that we are getting better and better every time we get out on the water.”

“We finished day three in Masirah really strongly with a first, two seconds and a third in the five stadium races held and at times we were just seconds off EFG Bank.”

DB Schenker - EFG Sailing Arabia - The Tour 2020 © Sander van der Borch / Oman Sail
DB Schenker – EFG Sailing Arabia – The Tour 2020 © Sander van der Borch / Oman Sail

“The forecast for Stage 4 in Sur is for quite strong winds and that will suit us. We started the event in Salalah with a reef so we are confident we can keep building and hopefully move up in the overall standings.”

Groupe Atlantic’s Aristide Gasquet said: “It was some of the tightest racing that we have seen so far during Sailing Arabia.”

“DB Schenker is now not far behind us in the overall standings so we have to try and sail better as a team and keep pushing to keep ahead of DB Schenker and try to hunt down EFG Bank.”

Race Director Gilles Chiorri said: “The competition is getting very exciting with just two stages in Sur and Muscat remaining.”

“We held five stadium races on day three in Masirah and we had three different winners so it shows how competitive it is. We can see that EFG Bank has a strong lead on the rest of the fleet but we can also see that Groupe Atlantic, who is still second on the overall leaderboard, is facing a strong challenge from DB Schenker and its all-female crew.”

“I’ve really been impressed by Audrey Ogereau, the DB Schenker Skipper. She started only a year ago but she is now very smooth in everything she’s doing on the water. During one start, she crossed the line in first and did everything perfectly so it’s clear how confident she is and it’s having a very big impact on her team.”

Stage 4 of the 2020 EFG Sailing Arabia – The Tour will be held in Sur, a port city on Oman’s eastern tip that is famous for its Green Turtle nesting grounds and reserves. The two days of racing will begin on Wednesday 5 February, with the teams to then head further north to Muscat for the title decider on 7-8 February.

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