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Tzanov sets sights on Jumeirah Regatta Title

Tzanov sets sights on Jumeirah Regatta Title

17.01.2007: Tzanov sets sights on Jumeirah Regatta Title

K1 team boss aims for sponsor boost while Skennerton enjoys showing new crew the ropes

 

Kristian

Kristian Tzanov and his crew celebrated victory in last year’s Maktoum Sailing Trophy and now chase the cruiser title in the Jumeirah Regatta.

 

Tzanov and Alan Skennerton, who made their names in motor sport before switching to sailing, must call on all their years of competitive experience as they attempt to make their mark on next week’s Jumeirah Regatta.

One of the highlights of the UAE sailing calendar arrives on 26-27 January with Bulgarian-born Tzanov in the unexpected position of being without a sponsor for his K1 Offshore Racing Team, whose 44.7ft yacht is one of the favourites to win the cruiser title.

Skennerton, meanwhile, is still in the process of settling in a new and relatively inexperienced crew aboard his 36.7ft challenger, Shockwave, and the Jumeirah Regatta may have come too soon for them to mount a serious bid in the cruiser class.

The cream of the UAE’s young sailing talent is lining up for the Jumeirah Regatta.

Tzanov and his crew captured last year’s Maktoum Sailing Trophy in Dubai, dominating the Gulf region’s top fleet racing series from start to finish, and much is expected of them in 2007.

But despite last year’s success, the KI team’s yacht is currently looking like it will go back into action in the Jumeirah Regatta without any sponsor branding on the hull or sails, and Tzanov hopes a good performance can attract the attention of a new backer.

"I’ve bought a new 34.7 foot boat, but I’m not really sure whether I’ll use it this season, or next, because I have no sponsor at the moment and that’s affecting my plans," said the former motocross rider who competed in world championship 125cc and 250cc racing.

In 1999 he swapped bike sport for powerboat racing by making his Class 1 debut, and has also raced in Class 2 and Class 3 in the Middle East Championship. While the three Italian professionals who helped him win last year’s Maktoum Sailing Trophy will be back for the title defence next month, Tzanov will rely on a local crew in the Jumeirah Regatta.

"We’ve been training hard and are planning to give it 100 per cent," he said, looking forward to the event sponsored by Jumeirah, the dynamic and fast growing Dubai based luxury hospitality group. "We really hope to do well, and maybe attract a sponsor."

Skennerton, in the record books as a former UAE rally champion, finds sailing a lot less stressful than driving, whether it’s on the rally route or today’s busy Dubai roads, and he is patiently showing his new crew the ropes on Shockwave.

"We’ve got a crew of 11 in all, including three young ladies – Nina Hoffman, Jennifer Bergeron and Nikky Lamprell – and race with eight aboard," he says. "They’re nearly all new to sailing but they’re all very keen and getting better all the time, and the main thing is we’re having fun."

While a strong line-up of cruisers battle it out over two days at the Jumeirah Beach Hotel Events Arena in Dubai, the Jumeirah Regatta also sees the cream of young UAE sailing talent in action.

The event is the third of five rounds in the UAE National Sailing Champion-hips. Young hopefuls from Dubai Offshore Sailing Club, Jebel Ali Sailing Club, Dubai International Marine Club, Emirates Heritage Club Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi International Marine Club and Abu Dhabi Sailing Club contest the laser, optimist, topper and double hander classes.

 

-Tony Lewis, Narayana Marar, Total Communications Dubai -

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17.01.2007 / MaP

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