Corporates go head to head in the return of the BMW City Challenge at the Docklands 3/5/07

City slickers discarded their suits and took to the water Tuesday night as the popular BMW City Challenge sailing series returned to London’s Docklands. A total of 40 teams representing many of the leading City firms including Citigroup, KPMG, Allen & Overy, Morgan Stanley, Ernst & Young, Accenture and Deutsche Bank will stake their city reputations as they race on Tuesday and Thursday evenings over the coming summer months.

Jointly-organised by the Royal Thames Yacht Club and Berkeley Marine and set in Royal Victoria Dock against the dramatic Canary Wharf skyline, the fleet racing involves eight crews of up to five sailors who compete in identical Beneteau First Class 8s (8 metre keel boats). Following the success of the inaugural event in 2006, title sponsor, BMW has added a fifth heat to this year’s schedule, allowing more sailors the chance to compete.

Conditions were ideal for Heat One (of Five), which got off to an exciting start in the evening sunshine with the first eight teams battling it out in a consistent 10-12 knot breeze. Representatives from Lehman’s, Citigroup, Allen & Overy LLP, IPC Marine Media, Ruffer LLP, UBS and NIR Capital competed over a box formation course but it was NIR Capital, skippered by top Etchells sailor Nils Razmilovic, who stole the show, convincingly winning all three races to head the table in the first of the five evening meetings.

Last year’s winning team, ‘A & Eau’ law firm Allen & Overy LLP, also fared well, finishing second in all three races. Skippered by one of Britain’s top helmsman Graham Bailey, the crew recently returned from their prize trip to watch the BMW ORACLE Racing America’s Cup yacht compete in Valencia. This year, along with the coveted trophy, the winners will receive a BMW driving experience at the world famous Nürburgring race-circuit in Germany.

Peter Walker, General Manager, Sports Marketing, BMW (UK) Ltd commented: “Last year’s inaugural BMW City Challenge proved extremely popular and we’re delighted to be supporting the event again. The series offers yachting enthusiasts competitive racing after work throughout the summer, at a convenient London location. We are looking forward to welcoming more participants and wish everyone involved a successful and enjoyable series.”

Heats One-Five of the 2007 BMW City Challenge will take place from May-September. The final, involving the winners of each heat plus the three best qualifiers, will be held on Saturday, 29 September.