EFG Sail Arabia – The Tour is coming up and Oman’s most experienced offshore sailor Mohsin Al Busaidi has been appointed skipper of Team Renaissance, sponsored by Renaissance Services SAOG and for the first time ever, will race with a 100% Omani crew.
A veteran of three SATTs, the former naval officer, who was the first Arab to circumnavigate the globe non-stop, has long held a dream of climbing onto the EFG Sailing Arabia – The Tour podium with a crew made up totally of Omani sailors and the fourth edition of the race, will offer him the chance to finally fulfill that dream.
But it will not be easy. He will be up against Sidney Gavignet, the French legend who was his skipper on the MOD70 Oman Air - Musandam last year and also Cedric Pouligny, Oman Sail’s M34 skipper in the Tour de France a Voile among other formidable SATT competitors.
'We are hoping to be on the podium because I have a good team with Fahad Al Hasani who was on Oman Air-Musandam and Ahmed Al Mamari who was skipper of Team Renaissance two years ago.
'I will also have two young sailors which will be selected from two of six potential youngsters. Our intention is to help them develop and grow.
'I have to be realistic because Sidney and Cedric are superb sailors and very well respected throughout the sailing world but I would hope to be on the podium in two or three of the legs. This is a really big jump for my team but it is a great chance.'
There will be no professional navigator on board Team Renaissance and Mohsin will be calling on his – quite extensive – personal knowledge of local waters to make sure progress is swift, with help from Fahad and Ahmed.
Having done the race three times already, there should be no surprises though they have identified two legs that might test them, he says.
'From Qatar to Abu Dhabi could be the hardest because it is a long leg and there are lot of oil rigs and small islands. There is quite a bit of shallow waters – last year there were two boats that went aground on that leg so we will have to be careful.
'And sailing from Ras Al Khaimah round the Musandam Peninsula into the Straits of Hormuz will also be difficult because of the wind shifts and the strong current and tides but we have been training up there over the past two months so hopefully we’ll know what to expect.
'The easiest will be the last leg from Mussanah to The Wave, Muscat because it is short – around 40 miles - and there is not much navigation.
'Most of the time we are racing in Europe and elsewhere around the world so this is special because it is our region, our waters and the finish is in our country. It is a wonderful thing to discover the fantastic sailing in our own area in the GCC.
'The sunsets offset by the ocean and mountains are spectacular and among the best you will see anywhere.
'We have been training and working hard in our preparations so hopefully we will get a good result, not just for us but also for our sponsor Renaissance Services SAOG. We are looking forward to it.'
Starting in Bahrain on February 9th, EFG Sailing Arabia – The Tour 2014 will continue to Qatar, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Ras al Khaimah, Dibba and Mussanah in Oman with competitors crossing the line on February 24th in Muscat. Along the way, teams will compete against each other in exciting in-port racing and take part in events designed to let local sailors see the state-of-the-art Farr 30 One Design boats up close. As the only event of its kind in the gulf region, EFG Sailing Arabia – The Tour 2014 – the fourth edition of this thrilling contest which has become established on the international sailing calendar – is sure to provide a great role model for young people from the region aiming to get involved with sailing; and with the involvement of sailing federations from along the route of the race, the competition’s influence is sure to grow.
Team Renaissance (OMA) Crew List
Mohsin Al Busaidi (Skipper), Oman
Ahmed Al Mamari, Oman
Mohammed Murack, Oman
Abdul Aziz Khalfan, Oman
Mohamed Al Obaidani, Oman
Fahad Said Khamis Al Hasani, Oman
Yasir salim AL-Rahbi, Oman
Sami Al Shukali, Oman
For more information on the race please visit: Sail Arabia The Tour
by Daphne Morgan Barnicoat
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3:18 PM Wed 22 Jan 2014GMT
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