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MOD70 Musandam-Oman Sail gears up for busy British racing season

by Oman Sail on 22 Jul 2014
Oman Sail's MOD70 Musandam during Kiel week 2014, 22-06-2014, Kiel - Germany. Sander van der Borch - SubZero Images
Oman Sail’s record-breaking MOD70 Musandam-Oman Sail will be on the trail of new trophies in August when it arrives in Cowes on the Isle of Wight, one of the world’s most celebrated sailing centres, to take part in two pinnacle events of the 2014 British offshore racing season.

Co-skippers Sidney Gavignet (FRA) and Damian Foxall (IRL) have put together a MOD70 crew selected from Oman Sail’s elite squad of sailors for the Artemis Challenge, the 50 mile race around the Isle of Wight, and for the 1,800 nm Seven Star Round Britain and Ireland Race three days later.

For the first time, half of the six-strong Musandam-Oman Sail offshore crew for the Round Britain Race will be Omani sailors including regular Fahad Al Hasni plus Sami Al Shukaili and Yassir Al Rahbi, members of Oman Sail’s M34 squad for the Tour de France a Voile who switched to the MOD70 earlier this year.

Multihull expertise will be boosted by the addition of America’s Cup and Volvo Ocean Race veteran Jan Dekker from South Africa, a key member of the Groupama trimaran campaigns for the past ten years and involved in Alinghi's America’s Cup campaigns in 2007 and 2010 and Oracle’s win last year.

'We are extremely fortunate to have Jan with us for the Seven Star Round Britain and Ireland Race and think we will all benefit from his experience, energy and drive,' said Foxall.

'He has been round the world four times including once on the trimaran Club Med and remains one of the strongest multihull experts in the business so knows how to make these boats go fast. Hopefully we can tap into some of that knowledge to learn a few new skills and maybe claim a line honours win.

'Having Fahad, Sami and Yassir with us on the Round Britain Race is especially exciting. It is the result of a lot of hard work on their part and creates a strong platform for Oman Sail’s offshore plans in the future.'

Musandam-Oman Sail achieved notoriety in Germany last month when it smashed the 27.5 mile Kiel Week Welcome Race record from Kiel to Eckernforde by almost 20 minutes, a feat that led directly to a wave of enquiries about the Sultanate of Oman at the popular Oman Sail exhibition pavilion, set up in conjunction with Oman’s Ministry of Tourism in the Kiel Week Village.

For the second year running, the same pavilion, complete with a stunning presentation of images, produce and customs from Oman, will be set up in Cowes, where thousands of visitors will be welcomed for a tour while sampling the exotic Omani wares on offer. The UK is a key target market for tourism for the Sultanate of Oman and after last year’s huge success, the Ministry of Tourism and Oman Sail are hoping to build on the interest generated.

On the racetrack, the Oman Sail objective will be two fold. To foster the skills and know-how of the ever expanding pool of talented Omani sailors to prepare them for future challenges, and to look at new records, in particular the Round Britain record set in 2011 by Loick Peyron’s Banque Populaire of 3d 3h 49m and 14s.

Equally important is the need to preserve the boat ahead of Gavignet’s campaign for the Route du Rhum in November, explained newest addition to the crew Jan Dekker.

'I enjoy sailing multihulls but I’ve never sailed on MOD70s and I have never done the Round Britain before – I’m looking forward to it!' he said.

'The MOD70s are good solid fast boats and the aim is to win but it’s important that we keep the boat in good shape because Sidney is doing the Route du Rhum later in the year so we can’t take any risks.'

Musandam-Oman Sail will attend Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week from August 2-9 as part of its Ministry of Tourism corporate hospitality programme and will race in the Artemis Challenge on August 7 where a £10,000 prize fund will be donated to the charity of the winner's choice.

The Seven Star Round Britain and Ireland Race starts on Sunday August 10 with up to 30 boats expected on the Cowes start line.

Musandam-Oman Sail crew for 2014 Seven Star Round Britain and Ireland Race
• Sidney Gavignet (FRA)
• Damian Foxall (IRL)
• Jan Dekker (RSA)
• Fahad Al Hasni (OMA)
• Sami Al Shukaili (OMA)
• Yassir Al Rahbi (OMA)

Musandam-Oman Sail MOD70 squad for Cowes
• Damian Foxall (IRL) (Skipper)
• Jan Dekker (RSA)
• Loik Gallon (FRA)
• Ali Al Balushi (OMA)
• Sami Al Shukaili (OMA)
• Yassir Al Rahbi (OMA)
• Mohammed Al Mujaini (OMA)
• Fahad Al Hasni (OMA)
• Mohsin Al Busaidi (OMA)

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