Team IPC Marine Media clinches win in last night's third race in Docklands 30/5/07

The eight teams competing in Heat 1 of the BMW City Challenge enjoyed some seriously close racing last night in Berkeley Marine’s fleet of Beneteau First Class 8s during the third event of the series on Royal Victoria Dock.

The event, which kicked off on 1 May, is really starting to hot up as the likes of City firms such as NIR Capital, A&Eau (Allen & Overy), IPC Marine Media, Ruffer, Citigroup 1, CitiSail (Citigroup), Blue Steel (Lehmans), Mini Linghi (UBS) battle it out in the testing stretch of water in the docks off the ExCel exhibition centre.

This ‘after work’ regatta with its short, sharp three-race format results in exceptionally close, nail-biting racing with even event favourites (last year’s overall winners) – Graham and Julia Bailey and Allen & Overy LLP associates – having to work extremely hard to defend their title.

Going into last night’s three races Allen & Overy LLP were lying second, by just one point, to NIR Capital – the extremely talented team comprising Nils Razmilovic and his all-star Etchells championship-winning team. However, the tables turned slightly when in the generally light, shifty westerly breeze Allen & Overy LLP stormed into the lead in the first race and won by a fairly substantial margin.

Team IPC Marine Media (comprising Mike Shepherd, Tom Stevens, Sue Pelling and Simon Osgood) failed to round the final mark of the course and consequently lost second place to City Group (Pedro Rua and team) and had to settle for 7th. NIR Capital took third.

The Baileys and their Allen & Overy LLP team clinched another win in the second race but hot on their heels, determined not to blow it again, was IPC Media who finished second, with NIR Capital once again third.

With the wind playing all sorts of games just before the final race the stage was set for an exciting finale. Anxious to keep up their boat speed, IPC Media found themselves hitting the line five second too early and had to gybe off at the pin end behind most of the fleet. However, their tactics to hit the ‘windier’ right-hand side of the course eventually paid off and, having gradually worked their way through the fleet overtaking NIR Capital and Allen & Overy LLP on the final run, IPC Media led round the last two marks to the finish.

A scoreline of 1,1,3 puts Allen & Overy LLP at the top of the scoreboard again with a total of 15 points but just two points adrift in second place is NIR Capital. IPC Media is currently lying third.

Commenting on how he rates the BMW City Challenge, Graham Bailey from the leading team Allen & Overy LLP said: “It’s quite amazing to be able to leave work and go sailing in London, to fit in three races, at a very tricky venue with real, top-end competition, and even have time for a drink afterwards. Normally it takes all weekend to do that. In fact we are enjoying this heat so much that we’re even considering entering another heat just to be able to sail on Thursday nights as well as Tuesdays.”

Keep an eye on for the report from the next race in the series which takes place on 12 June to see if team Allen & Overy LLP can retain their top spot.

For more information about the event go to bmwcitychallenge.