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Yachts arrive for Sailing Arabia.

A FLEET of one-design Farr 30 yachts has arrived at Amwaj Marina for the start of the third edition of the EFG Bank Sailing Arabia - The Tour, which gets underway on Sunday.

Amwaj Marina is the starting point of the two-week competition that will pit some of the world's best sailors against the elements of the Gulf.

Identical, except for the sponsors' logos, the nine boats arrived overnight at the kingdom's premier yachting facility and preparations for the arduous challenge ahead started immediately.

As the mast of his boat slid into position and the boat was lowered into the water, world renowned single-handed sailor and skipper of EFG Bank (Monaco) Sidney Gavignet looked forward to the challenges ahead.

"It will be two wonderful weeks of sailing, with intense competition on both the long legs between ports and the in-port racing," Gavignet said.

"We couldn't hope for better facilities to get the boat and crew in shape for the start than the Amwaj Marina, and would like to extend our thanks to the Bahrain Maritime Sports Association and the marina."

CEO of event organisers Oman Sail, David Graham, added: "It's exciting to know that the boats are in place, that the crews are getting ready and that on Sunday, the tour will be underway.

"We're looking forward to a close competition that will inspire the young people of all the GCC nations to get involved in sailing and learn the teamwork and skills they will need to compete on the world stage."

With less than a week to go until the start, all the teams will be busy tweaking the boats for the last ounce of performance, and training hard to ensure they are in the peak of physical fitness.

The Farr 30, which first came to prominence in sailing competitions in the late 1990s, is still one of the most advanced boats of its size, balancing affordability with great design for an ideal offshore racing experience.

Used every year in the Tour de France a la Voile, one of Europe's most famous sailing races, as well as in every edition of Sailing Arabia so far, the Farr 30 is a platform that ensures the racing will be fair, and down to the teamwork, skills, talent and fitness of the teams.

After leaving Manama on Sunday, the tour will make stops at Doha, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Ras Al Khaimah, Dibba and Mussanah before ending the course on February 25 in Muscat. The racing will include in-port racing at selected locations.

First established in 2011 by Oman Sail, Sailing Arabia - The Tour was designed to promote one of the region's fastest growing sports and revive interest in the rich maritime heritage of the Gulf countries.

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Publication:Gulf Daily News (Manama, Bahrain)
Date:Feb 6, 2013
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