Simon Payne makes light work of wind conditions in Dubai

The Briton, leading the Moth World Championship, jokes that his competitors should lose some weight as heavier sailors fail to hit top speeds in Dubai.

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DUBAI // Simon Payne continued his lead after three excellent second place finishes on the penultimate day of the Moth World Championship at Dubai Offshore Sailing Club (DOSC). The world No 5 extended what had been an overnight three-point breathing space between him and second-placed Brad Funk to a nine-point margin. Payne, who started the day on 17 series points, picked up two points for each of his seconds and now has 23.

It was a case of the lighter competitors having something of an advantage in the weaker seven to nine knot winds and Payne, who tips the scales at 68.5kg was comfortable. Heavier competitors found it harder to hit the top speeds. "The winds are a little light, but the conditions are the same for everybody. We knew this would be a light-wind event and some of the bigger guys could have lost a bit of weight," said a grinning Payne. Racing was due to get underway at 11am, but the poor winds that had seen the final race yesterday continued, with the 44 competitors finally heading onto the water at 2pm. Funk, the world No 8, won the first and last races of the day but managing only 13th in the second contest.

Chris Graham, the UAE champion, remains in the overall ninth place he occupied overnight with 72 points. Payne, who was forced to take time off over the winter after a knee operation said he was going to treat the final day of the competition like any other. "I'm pleased," he said. "After the op I wasn't able to sail until mid January and I came out here with the goal of finishing in the top 10. "I won't do anything different or think too hard about it, I'll just go out there and race."