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Strong international field for 10th EFG Sailing Arabia - The Tour

by Morgan Kasmarik 26 Jan 00:43 PST 26 January - 8 February 2020
EFG Sailing Arabia The Tour - Exhibition Race in Salalah, Oman. © Oman Sail / Sander van der Borch

The vast and beautiful Omani coastline will be on show when the tenth edition of EFG Sailing Arabia - The Tour which began in Salalah on Sunday 26 January.

Oman Sail CEO David Graham said: "My Omani colleagues and race stakeholders suggested that the 2020 EFG Sailing Arabia - The Tour is held in tribute to the late His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al Said, God Rest His Soul. It is a wonderful idea as it was his vision, guidance, and support that enabled Oman Sail to blossom into an iconic global brand."

Over 15 days, a strong international and local contingent will use the prime winter conditions in the Sultanate to push both speed and heartrates to the max in thrilling close quarter racing in five diverse locations along the coast of Oman.

Eight teams, made up of sailors from France, Switzerland, Spain, and Oman, will race on board the matched fleet of DIAM24, the same boats used in the Tour de France à la voile.

EFG Sailing Arabia - The Tour Race Director Gilles Chiorri said: "The winter conditions in Oman are perfect for racing - the air and sea are warm and the wind consistent, so we have a great couple of weeks ahead of us, during which the competitors will discover the fascinating Omani coastline and the kindness of the habitants.

"This is the third edition that we will use the DIAM24 and judging by the past three years, people can expect some fast and competitive sailing."

The 2020 EFG Sailing Arabia - The Tour, which is organised by Oman Sail, will feature three in-port races, five coastal raids, and one offshore leg. In a route reversal from 2019, the 2020 edition will begin in Salalah, a lush sub-tropical city in Oman's south. The origins of the Sultanate's second largest city dates back to 100BC and it has a rich maritime history, being an important port for the frankincense and silk trades.

Following a coastal raid and in-port race along the coastline of Salalah, the teams will make their way up the coast, with stopovers in Duqm, Masirah Island, Sur and Ras Al Hadd, before a two-day title decider between 8-9 February in Muscat.

For the first time in the ten-year history of EFG Sailing Arabia - The Tour, there are two all-female teams, DB Schenker and Helvetia Purple, which is one of two teams representing Normandy Elite Team.

Two teams, Oman Airport and Renaissance, will be comprised solely of Omani sailors, emphasising the talent being developed in the Sultanate.

The full teams and skippers are:

Group Atlantic - Clement Cron (France)
Helvetia Purple - Pauline Courtois (France)
Helvetia Blue - Pierrick Letouze (France)
Team Royan Atlantique - Thimothé Polet and Gautier Tallieu (France) [co-skippers]
Oman Airport - Hussein al Jabri (Oman)
EFG - Sofian Bouvet (France)
Renaissance - Akram Al Wahaibi (Oman)
DB Schenker - Audrey Ogereau (France)

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