Moving in THAT Direction

By KL Posted November 20, 2014

I reckon the first time that it really hit my radar screen to have a Western sailing team tied to an Asian or Middle Eastern flag was Valencia 2007. What had been a French effort that ran out of dough morphed into China Team with the avowed intent of developing, eventually, an all-Chinese crew for America’s Cup.

Didn’t happen.

Didn’t happen going into AC34 with the 45-foot cats, not for China, and not for Korea.

The Sultanate of Oham, meanwhile, is taking a different tack, building a small boat racing and sailing program, including girls and women, plus an offshore program ranging from take-a-ride to serious ocean competition.

Musandam-Oman was raced solo in the Route du Rhum by French skipper Sidney Gavignet, but the word now is—

Britain’s well-known offshore sailor Brian Thompson returns to the Sultanate of Oman’s flagship MOD70 trimaran Musandam-Oman Sail to take over from French skipper Sidney Gavignet for the return leg of the Route du Rhum, a trans-Atlantic delivery from Guadeloupe to Lorient in France. For the first time in the history of Oman Sail, the national initiative that began in 2008 with a mission to create a generation of sailors, the extreme 70ft multihull will be crewed by a majority Omani crew.

This is a landmark for the organisation and a second major achievement this year that saw the team set a new World Record against all the odds in the summer when it raced the 70ft trimaran around Britain and Ireland with a 50% Omani team shaving 16 minutes and 38 seconds off the record set by a boat almost twice its size.

Sidney Gavignet hands over the helm to Brian after an epic single-handed Route du Rhum sprint across the Atlantic from St Malo, France, to Guadeloupe in the Caribbean in 8 days, 19 hours, 15 minutes and 24 seconds earlier this month. The French skipper remained on the island to spend time sailing with and preparing his majority Omani crew ahead of the landmark Atlantic delivery scheduled for Saturday.

“This delivery is a solid first step towards the 2015 season for Oman Sail,” said skipper Sidney Gavignet. “We are focussed on preparing for the future with the team and every opportunity to sail offshore is good for my Omani teammates. Our goal is to do this crossing in the best possible conditions for learning and to kick off the 2015 season on a good footing. I am really happy for my Omani crewmates who are 200% committed to this experience.”

This is a landmark for the organisation and a second major achievement this year that saw the team set a new World Record against all the odds in the summer when it raced the 70ft trimaran around Britain and Ireland with a 50% Omani team shaving 16 minutes and 38 seconds off the record set by a boat almost twice its size.

Sidney Gavignet hands over the helm to Brian after an epic single-handed Route du Rhum sprint across the Atlantic from St Malo, France, to Guadeloupe in the Caribbean in 8 days, 19 hours, 15 minutes and 24 seconds earlier this month. The French skipper remained on the island to spend time sailing with and preparing his majority Omani crew ahead of the landmark Atlantic delivery scheduled for Saturday.

“This delivery is a solid first step towards the 2015 season for Oman Sail,” said skipper Sidney Gavignet. “We are focussed on preparing for the future with the team and every opportunity to sail offshore is good for my Omani teammates. Our goal is to do this crossing in the best possible conditions for learning and to kick off the 2015 season on a good footing. I am really happy for my Omani crewmates who are 200% committed to this experience.”

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Fahad Al Hasni is a MOD70 regular since 2012 and an integral member of the offshore racing team – he will be joined by three fellow Omani sailors, Yassir Al Rahbi, Abdulrahman Al Mashari and Ali Al Balushi who are new to the 70ft trimaran this year, but who come from the offshore squad and dinghy racing team. They will also have French offshore regular Giles Favennec onboard.

“This will be the first time that we will be a majority Omani crew onboard the MOD70 and Yassir, Abdulrahman, Ali and I are really excited to have this opportunity. We look forward to sailing with Brian Thompson again; he has a lot of depth and experience and is very good at sharing his knowledge.

“The 2014 MOD season has been absolutely huge, first we beat the Kiel Welcome Race Record then set a new World Record for the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race in August with a 50% Omani crew for the first time, and finally finished the year with Sidney Gavignet’s epic single-handed Route du Rhum race across the Atlantic – it has been an excellent learning curve for all of us and an inspiration for us to go even further in our careers and for the younger Omani sailors back in Oman to see what is possible and work hard towards it.”

This is a landmark for the organisation and a second major achievement this year that saw the team set a new World Record against all the odds in the summer when it raced the 70ft trimaran around Britain and Ireland with a 50% Omani team shaving 16 minutes and 38 seconds off the record set by a boat almost twice its size.

Sidney Gavignet hands over the helm to Brian after an epic single-handed Route du Rhum sprint across the Atlantic from St Malo, France, to Guadeloupe in the Caribbean in 8 days, 19 hours, 15 minutes and 24 seconds earlier this month. The French skipper remained on the island to spend time sailing with and preparing his majority Omani crew ahead of the landmark Atlantic delivery scheduled for Saturday.

“This delivery is a solid first step towards the 2015 season for Oman Sail,” said skipper Sidney Gavignet. “We are focussed on preparing for the future with the team and every opportunity to sail offshore is good for my Omani teammates. Our goal is to do this crossing in the best possible conditions for learning and to kick off the 2015 season on a good footing. I am really happy for my Omani crewmates who are 200% committed to this experience.”

Fahad Al Hasni is a MOD70 regular since 2012 and an integral member of the offshore racing team – he will be joined by three fellow Omani sailors, Yassir Al Rahbi, Abdulrahman Al Mashari and Ali Al Balushi who are new to the 70ft trimaran this year, but who come from the offshore squad and dinghy racing team. They will also have French offshore regular Giles Favennec onboard.

“This will be the first time that we will be a majority Omani crew onboard the MOD70 and Yassir, Abdulrahman, Ali and I are really excited to have this opportunity. We look forward to sailing with Brian Thompson again; he has a lot of depth and experience and is very good at sharing his knowledge.

“The 2014 MOD season has been absolutely huge, first we beat the Kiel Welcome Race Record then set a new World Record for the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race in August with a 50% Omani crew for the first time, and finally finished the year with Sidney Gavignet’s epic single-handed Route du Rhum race across the Atlantic – it has been an excellent learning curve for all of us and an inspiration for us to go even further in our careers and for the younger Omani sailors back in Oman to see what is possible and work hard towards it.”

rian Thompson made it into the history books by becoming the first Briton to break the Round the World sailing record twice. Also the first to sail non stop around the world four times. A vastly experienced and successful offshore racer on all types of high performance yachts – from 21ft Mini Transat racers to 140ft Maxi Trimarans, he raced the 2012 MOD70 season with Musandam-Oman Sail.

“I am very excited to be sailing the MOD70 Musandam-Oman Sail back from its very successful Route du Rhum race skippered by Sidney Gavignet. I was following the race closely and was so impressed with the boat’s performance against its much bigger rivals.

“Next week we are going to be heading back from Guadeloupe in the Caribbean to our base in Lorient, France, and for the first time, the crew is going to be majority Omani – 4 out of the 6 total. I am honoured that Sidney and the team have given me the responsibility of skippering the boat back and expanding the experience of our young Omani sailors.

“To me having a majority Omani crew is a highly significant point and a sign of the great progress that Oman Sail has made in creating a pool of exceptionally talented sailors, who are able to transfer their skills to a wide variety of high performance craft. This bodes well for future Oman Sail campaigns.”

THE OLD WAY TOO

Photo by Lakruwan Wanniarachchi/AFP/Getty Images

Photo by Lakruwan Wanniarachchi/AFP/Getty Images

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