First Arab Boat to participate in Route Du Rhum finishes the pre race training run.
Mohsin, Mohammed and Sidney train together in the rough seas.
Dubai:, Mohsin Al Busaidi and Mohammed Al Ghailani, recently completed three days of training on board Oman Air Majan, gaining first hand experience from record-breaking French skipper Sidney Gavignet. It was the first time for Moshin, the first Arab to sail around the world to sail & train with Sidney.
During the three days of training, which covered nearly 1,000 miles and took them from their French base in Lorient to Fastnet, just off Ireland, Mohsin and Mohammed were able to observe how Gavignet dealt with navigation, technology and sail trimming whilst still managing to get some sleep. From the outset, the sailors were exposed to severe weather conditions including winds of up to 35 knots (65 km/h), lashing rainstorms and bitter cold.
With winds hitting the boat head-on and being constantly battered by icy waves, the sailors had a very real practice run for what Gavignet will expect in the upcoming trans-Atlantic race, the Route du Rhum. This race is one of the most demanding in the world as it is single-handed, meaning Gavignet will be responsible for the 105’ trimaran all in his own for up to 10 days. This 3-day training was as much for Gavignet as it was for Mohsin and Mohammed but it gave them the opportunity to see Gavignet train for the prestigious event.
The training was made even more challenging as Oman Air Majan had to sail quite close to the shore so they encountered a lot of traffic from commercial shipping and fishing boats. Sailing at night was even tougher due to poor visibility but, as Oman Air Majan is fitted with all the latest radar and navigation aids, the training was completed successfully. .
Gavignet’s training of Mohsin and Mohammed reflects Oman Sail’s goals of encouraging more Arab sailors to take part in international sailing events. It also gave Gavignet the opportunity to train in tough conditions and make his last preparations before the Route du Rhum.
During the Route du Rhum Gavignet will be constantly communicating to his fans via video, pictures and commentaries so the training provided the opportunity to check the communications between the boat and the teams in Muscat and France.
Mohsin Al Busaidi, the first Arab sailor to circumnavigate the world non-stop, said, “This was such a big opportunity for us to learn from a record-breaking champion. I want to be able participate in more international races and I am now more determined than ever to participate in a single-handed race like Route du Rhum in the future.”
Omani shore team members, Saud Al Balushi and Said Al Hattali, from the boat-building team were are also training hard with the world-class professional technical and maintenance team that supports Oman Air Majan. This provides a great platform for Oman Sail and the Omani team to supervise the overall project from both the sailing and the technical perspectives.
Al Busaidi commented, “We have worked and trained so hard and we are all looking forward to the race. I am very pleased, and at the same time proud, that our serious training and preparation is up to the level of this international race. I am happy to see both Oman Air Majan and her skipper Sidney in top shape and we look forward to Oman Air Majan representing the Arab world in this huge event..”
The Route Du Rhum is a 4,000 mile (7,408 km) single-handed transatlantic race that rates as the second most popular sporting event in France after the Football World Cup. It attracts around 250,000 spectators who throng the coastline of the French town St Malo to watch the 68 boats set-off towards Guadaloupe in the Caribbean. Millions more follow the race on television and on the internet.
NOTES TO EDITORS
About Oman Sail
Oman Sail is an exciting new initiative whose aim is to rekindle Oman's long and glorious maritime heritage and inspire the next generation. The project, which was formed in mid 2008, operates with the support and guidance of the Ministry of Tourism and through the development of seven Oman Sailing Schools across the country by 2015, aims to move sailing accessible to schools and young enthusiasts.
The project includes hi-tech ocean sailing and the highest level inshore professional racing, in turn driving interest from young Omanis to step on to a boat for the first time, creating dreams of their own. The Oman Sailing School is now established in Muscat, Oman and the long-term objective is to make sailing accessible to schools and young enthusiasts, developing a wider base from which sailors from around the country can progress up in to the Oman Sail Racing Team. They will also be encouraged to develop marine industry skills and the infrastructure to create a sustainable future for sailing in Oman. The creation of role models such as Mohsin Al Busaidi (first Arab to sail around the world), Saleh Al Jabri (Captain of Jewel of Muscat), Ahmed Al Mamary & Abdulla Al Busaidi (the first Omanis to race around the world in the famous Clipper Round), Khamis Al Anbouri (full time crew member on Extreme40) and Ali Ambosaidi (chief instructor) have already started to inspire young Omanis and shows that with determination and hard work, anything is possible.
Route du Rhum
Starting 31 October 2010, the Route du Rhum is a transatlantic single-handed 4,000-mile yacht race that takes place every four years. It is one of the most prestigious yacht races in the world and enjoys unparalleled interest and coverage. According to the Route du Rhum 2006 organizers, the race is held second in popularity to the FIFA World Cup by the French Media. The race start will have around 250,000 spectators along the coast. Oman Air Majan will compete against six other mega trimarans in a fleet of around 70 boats starting in Saint Malo, France crossing the Atlantic Ocean to the island of Guadeloupe in the eastern Caribbean Sea.
Oman Air Majan symbolizes Oman’s vitality and innovation as she competes in one of the most prestigious and challenging offshore races in the world. Oman Air Majan was assembled in Salalah and launched in the summer of 2009.
The 105ft trimaran is of a new class of Arabian 100 (A-100) trimarans and is classed as one of the fastest offshore multihulls in the world. On Tuesday 24th Aug 2010, Sidney Gavignet, skipper of Oman Air Majan, broke the single-handed round Britain and Ireland record in 4 days 15 hours 9 minutes and 27 seconds beating the last record held by Thomas Coville by a massive 1 day 15 hours 30 minutes and 44 seconds.
The new branding of Oman Air Majan will boost Oman Air’s brand awareness in the European market, building on Oman Air’s services to France, Germany, and the UK.
Chief Officer for Corporate Affairs at Oman Air Philippe Georgiou remarked: “As part of Oman’s Air sponsorship of Oman Sail at the Route du Rhum, we are both proud and thrilled to be part of this iconic sail regatta, this very special event which offers us a great opportunity to promote our airline offering and its unique destination, the Sultanate of Oman.”
From September 2009, Oman Air began direct flights between Paris and Muscat. The sponsorship aligns Oman Air, Oman Sail and the Ministry of Tourism’s marketing strategies in Europe, with all three taking an active role in the Route du Rhum project.
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