by Lucy Harwood
At Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week, the stage was set for record smashing conditions in the sixth edition of the Artemis Challenge. The two MOD70’s racing didn’t disappoint, Musandam-OmanSail and Fonica went flying off the start line immediately hitting 17 knots and excelling in the 20 knot conditions.
MOD70’s Musandam-OmanSail and Fonica racing in the Artemis Challenge 2012
The multihull Round the Isle of Wight speed sailing record had been held by Playstation in a time of two hours, 33 minutes and 55 seconds and it has stood for the last 11 years. But the MOD70’s are some of the fastest multihulls on the planet and the battle for the record was fought until the very end. Musandam-OmanSail took the lead as they approached the Needles, but Fonica edged in front as they past west of the Island and they fought neck and neck until the finish.
After sailing in speeds in excess of 30 knots Fonica took line honours and the new round the Isle of Wight record finishing in a time of two hours, 21 minutes and 25 second (subject to ratification), with Musandam-OmanSail finishing just one minute and 30 seconds behind in a time of two hours, 22 minutes, 53 seconds, ten minutes ahead of the previous record.
For the two Omani sailors who were selected to compete in the race through Oman Sail’s innovative training programme it was a once in a lifetime experience,.
MOD70's Musandam-OmanSail and Fonica racing in the Artemis Challenge 2012 - Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week 2012
'It was good we really enjoyed it. This was my first time sailing onboard Musandam-OmanSail and an amazing experience for me. It was so fast and a real challenge between us and Fonica. We had a battle towards the Needles, and then they just managed to get in front of us and we tried hard to catch them up. I loved it, it was really nice. I would definitely like to get back onboard again in the future, but I am also trying to train for my kite surfing career as I am working towards the Olympics in Rio in 2016. It was a great experience to meet and sail with people like Sidney, Brian, Leigh and Dee and I have learnt so much,' Khalfan Al Athobi.
Hilal Al Zadjali is a part of Musandam-OmanSail’s shore crew and this was his first race onboard, 'It was a great experience, and such a close race with the other MOD70 Foncia. I work with the team on the shore side and it was great to step onboard and sail today. I heard that this record had stood for a long time, so although we don’t have the record overall, the fact that we beat that time is a great thing and a good experience for the whole team going into the MOD70 European tour.'
For the crew of Musandam-OmanSail the focus now shifts to the MOD70 European Tour which kicks off in Kiel, Germany at the end of the month.
'It was a nice day and a good exercise for us, and good fun to share this sailing with the Extreme Sailing Series team and also to have some local knowledge as well.For our Omani sailors it was a good experience to take part in this event and they enjoyed it which was fantastic. It was a totally new experience for Khalfan as he is a kite surfer, but it is good to see that they both enjoyed it and it opens their eyes to this type of professional sailing, which is what this programme is all about.'
'We head to Lorient tonight and then next week we do the delivery to Kiel, and I’m excited about that. We have the whole offshore crew and the two inshore crew sailing on board for the delivery. We decided to take the longer route to Kiel in order to get some more training time on the water. It’s going to be a good opportunity to step up on this delivery. The team have had a chance to take some time off and refresh, so I am expecting a lot from the delivery in order to prepare for the start of the MOD70 European Tour,' Musandam-OmanSail MOD70 skipper Sidney Gavignet.
Musandam-OmanSail MOD70 Crew List: Sidney Gavignet, Brian Thompson, Leigh McMillian, Hilal Al Zadjali, Khalfan Al Athobi, Thomas Lebreton, Michi Mueller, Dee Caffari, Peter Greenhalgh, Dan Snow and Edwina Snow
Musandam-OmanSail crew member Dee Caffari and Zara Phillips - Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week 2012
The skippers and crew for the Artemis Challenge 2012 - Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week 2012