America's Cup legend edges out Gram-Hansen at Dubai International Marine Club match racing regatta 18/3/06

Russell Coutts won the Dubai Match Race Challenge in dramatic fashion on Friday, edging out Jes Gram-Hansen after the second leg of the event was cut short by a heavy storm and ended in darkness.

Winds gusting up to 40 knots had threatened to prevent any action, but when racing eventually got under way it was Coutts who came through to defeat the Danish star in an event marking the competitive debut of the RC 44 racing boat.

Trailing 2-1 from Thursday’s first leg, Gram-Hansen kept alive his hopes of a first ever match racing victory over the three-times America’s Cup-winning helmsman with an opening win after one of the three scheduled races was cancelled.

But the series was then decided when the Dane was halted by a broken jib, leaving Coutts clear to record a 3-2 success and add the Dubai Match Race Challenge to his long list of international honours.