Team Abu Dhabi to compete in EFG Sailing Arabia – The Tour

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Special guest; Team Abu Dhabi will compete against the likes of Messe Frankfurt.

EFG Sailing Arabia – The Tour confirmed on Friday that Team Abu Dhabi would participate as a special guest in the second in-port race in the UAE capital today.

The news follows Abu Dhabi Sailing and Yacht Club’s continued support for the event.

The local club hopes the opportunity to pit themselves against the best will offer an invaluable experience to its talented young sailors.

Local professional sailor Miguel Contreras is heading the team as skipper, joined by a young crew of regional sailors including Ahmed Ismael Al Marzouqi who represented Abu Dhabi in The Tour last year.

Director of events at Oman Sail Issa Al Ismaili said: “This type of support and commitment from the Abu Dhabi Sailing and Yacht Club to the future of sailing is exactly why EFG Sailing Arabia – The Tour exists.”

At 20 years old, Al Marzouqi is the youngest crew at the event. The experience he brings with him from his past participation in The Tour will be a great asset.

He is also from a strong Dhow racing background and has been through an intense training regime in the last month to prepare for this event.

Al Marzouqi said: “We now have two Farr 30s at the club so we have put a crew together and have been training for a month now.

"Our skipper has been helping us develop our skills and I really feel the crew has improved, so tomorrow we are looking forward to seeing the rewards of all our hard work. If we get a podium position we would be so proud for our country.”

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Defending champions Fazza fastest in practice

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In familiar position: Fazza duo Arif Al Zaffain and Nadir Bin Hendi continued to dominate the XCAT series by setting the fastest time in practice.

The Fazza duo of Arif Al Zaffain and Nadir Bin Hendi once again confirmed that they are the team to beat by setting the fastest time in official practice yesterday.

Taking to the waters off the Fujairah International Marine Club for the first practice of round two of the UIM Skydive Dubai XCAT World Series, the defending champions overcame some initial problems to record a fastest lap of 2min 28.95sec.

Skydive Dubai (Sultan Al Dhaheri and Jay Price) were second with 2:31.65 while team-mates #MyDubai (Salem Al Adidi and Talib Al Sayed) third in 2:33.53.

Making the most of their first outing and completing 12 laps in practice in their new T-Bone Station boat were Luca Fendi and Giovanni Carpitella, who finished fourth fastest in 2:35.78.

“We went out and did a lap but we had a problem with the water pressure so we had to come back and lower the engines a bit more,” explained Fazza’s Bin Hendi.

“After that we did two laps – one lap we saw where we could improve and the second lap we did a good time, so we are getting there.”

Bin Hendi added: “It’s quite a tricky course because of the wind that goes around and because of the current, so have to be very alert.

“As you come in you start flying – the air comes in the tunnel and lifts you so you have no control over the steering. It’s a good race course but quite tricky too.”

Speaking about the new challenge from Fendi Racing, Bin Hendi added: “Their boat is running well. They told me they were happy with the setup of the boat.

“They have one prop – and they’re ordering another one, but they’re happy with what they have and let’s see what they’re going to do in pole position tomorrow.”

The race for Emaar Pole Position takes place at 10:30 on Thursday, and will be followed by the head-to-head Dubai Duty Free Speed Cat Run at 14:45.

The main race, the Fujairah Grand Prix, will be contested at 15:00 on Friday. Entrance to the action at the Fujairah International Marine Club is free of charge.

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US boost for XCATs as Florida is added to 2014 tour

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Powering ahead: In just over a year the XCAT World Series has seen tremendous growth, travelling to three continents this season.

UIM Skydive Dubai XCAT World Series organisers announced on Wednesday that Daytona in Florida has been included in the calendar for 2014.

This April will see Round Three go Stateside after The World Professional Powerboating Association (WPPA) confirmed that Daytona will host the fastest machines on water.

The addition means that the series will now be run at more over-seas venues, including Italy, Switzerland, Azerbaijan and China. The home venues are Dubai and Fujairah with the former also hosting the Grand Final round from December 11-13.

The 15 teams will be travelling to three continents over the coming year as the action spans the globe from January to December 2014.

With the series continually expanding, there will be 10 races in the coming season, with the second race of the year scheduled for Fujairah from February 12-14.

One of the pilots particularly thrilled with the announcement was American Jay Price, who revealed that this will be the first time he will race on home waters for 20 years.

WPPA secretary general Sid Bensalah said: “These are exciting times for the UIM Skydive Dubai XCAT World Series. We have been working tirelessly to set up the series for 2014 as we constantly look to improve and expand what is fast becoming the most competitive form of power-boat racing in the world.

“The USA was always one of our targets since we launched the XCAT project last year, and now we have a great opportunity to enter the US market.

“Last year was a great season as we took the series to three new locations, with wonderfully successful events in Stresa and Arona in Italy and Ningbo, China.

“And 2014 will also be a year of growth as we initiate many new developments and we look forward to introducing XCAT racing to several new locations while also, of course, remembering our roots in the Middle East,” added Bensalah.

Meanwhile, in the opening round in Dubai last weekend, it was the Fazza duo of Arif Al Zaffain and Nadir bin Hendi who claimed victory to take top spot in the over-all series standings.

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