Oman Air to back MOD70

Full program for Sidney Gavignet's team

Tuesday April 9th 2013, Author: James Boyd, Location: France

Oman Air, the national airline of the Sultanate of Oman, and long-time partner of Oman Sail projects is to sponsor Musandam-Oman Air, Oman’s flagship Multi One Design 70 campaign for the upcoming action-packed 2013 season. The trimaran will participate in a number of events, including the new Route des Princes race around Europe in June, followed by the Rolex Fastnet Race and the Transat Jacques Vabre.

Oman’s Ministry of Tourism also returns as a partner in the international campaign and will have a shore-based presence at a number of venues to promote the country as a high-end tourist and foreign investment destination.

The national airline is no newcomer to the sport having previously sponsored Oman Sail’s highly successful Extreme 40 campaigns. Oman Sail CEO David Graham is delighted with the continuing relationship: “The partnership with Oman Air for the Multi One Design 70 season is incredibly exciting for Oman Sail. Our goal with this flagship campaign is twofold: to further the ability of our Omani sailors on board and inspire young Omani sailors back home while raising awareness and promoting the Sultanate of Oman as a tourism and foreign investment destination in partnership with the Ministry of Tourism. In this we have common goals,” he said. “We are delighted to have Oman Air onboard for what is lining up to be an exciting new MOD70 racing season.”

Wayne Pearce, CEO of Oman Air, added his enthusiasm for the new partnership: “In line with Oman Air’s mission of promoting in-bound tourism to Oman, the national carrier is proud to be associated with Oman Sail, which positions the country at the highest possible level of elite discerning travellers.”

Musandam-Oman Air MOD70's 2013 program kicks off with an intensive training session in April, before racing starts in anger with the Grand Prix Guyader, followed by the ArMen Race, both in France, and then the summer’s main event, La Route des Prince, which begins in Valencia, Spain, in June. Musandam-Oman Air will then sail to the UK to compete in the Artemis Challenge during Cowes Week and be part of the giant fleet competing in the Rolex Fastnet Race, before competing in the Transat Jacques Vabre, starting from Le Havre, France in November.

Sidney Gavignet returns as skipper of Musandam-Oman Air with Thomas Le Breton (FRA), Mohsin Al Busaidi (OMA) and Fahad Al Hasni (OMA) all of whom competed on the MOD70 circuit last year. Newcomers to the crew include British offshore sailor Neal McDonald and fellow Volvo Ocean Race veteran Damian Foxall from Ireland.

Completing the crew are Gilles Favennec and Ahmed Al Hassani from Oman who is replacing Ahmed Al Maamari who has suffered a back injury. Al Hassani, who has come up through the Oman Sail programme on the F18 is excited to be joining the project: “It is a great honour to be selected for the MOD70 crew and to represent Oman on the international stage. I am really looking forward to what is going to be a very steep learning curve.

“Oman Sail has given me an amazing opportunity to grow within this sport and I have worked hard through the F18s to get this far. I hope that young Omanis at our sailing schools will be inspired to have a go. I started sailing late in life, but they have the opportunity to start early and perhaps one day raise the Omani flag at the Olympic Games,” he said.

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