Sarah Ayton back on the water
Oman Sail has signed a new three-year partnership deal with The Wave, Muscat, sponsor of one of its two Extreme 40 teams. The crew led by Leigh McMillan won the Extreme Sailing Series in both 2012 and 2013. The new agreement, signed at a ceremony on Sunday, will support the promotion of the Sultanate of Oman around the world.
The Wave, Muscat is Oman’s premier lifestyle and leisure destination and is developed by Majid Al Futtaim Properties in partnership with the Government of the Sultanate of Oman. It first backed an Extreme 40 catamaran in 2010 and has reaped the benefits of its success with media exposure and an increase in brand awareness across global markets.
That awareness soared in 2012 when McMillan first won the Extreme Sailing Series and rose again in 2013 when he became the first skipper to win it in consecutive years, ensuring The Wave, Muscat's colours were seen around the world.
On Sunday evening, at a special ceremony at The Wave, Muscat in Oman that included distinguished guests His Excellency Engineer Sultan bin Hamdoon Al Harthi, Chairman of The Wave, Muscat, Hawazen Esber, its Chief Executive Officer and officials from Oman Sail, McMillan and fellow crewmembers, Musab Al Hadi and Hashim Al Rashdi were congratulated on their achievements in 2013 and wished the very best of luck for 2014. This year the level of competition promises to escalate even further with the addition of Sir Ben Ainslie and Dean Barker to the Extreme Sailing Series line-up.
“The Wave, Muscat is very proud to renew its partnership with this elite multihull racing team," said Hawazen Esber. "This is the fourth year of our partnership and we are pleased to be able to continue our strong relationship with Oman Sail in providing opportunities for young Omanis to perform on the world sporting stage. At The Wave we aim to provide a platform for excellence in all the fields in which we operate. We are delighted to be able to support Oman Sail’s fantastic work in the world of sailing through this partnership.”
“We are committed to energising the crew on the water, but also when they are ashore. This year, we are planning to work closely with other Oman stakeholder companies at the Extreme Sailing Series stopovers to raise international awareness of Oman and The Wave, Muscat, and the fantastic opportunities on offer here.
“As two-time international series winners, the Extreme Sailing team presents one of the country’s best international branding opportunities and provides The Wave with an excellent platform to raise the profile of the country and its leading ITC development.”
For 2014, Hashim and Musab will race on Oman Sail's other Extreme 40 Oman Air, and their colleague Nasser Al Mashari will step on to The Wave, Muscat as bowman. Peter Greenhalgh returns for a 3rd year on board The Wave, Muscat. Pete has raced numerous World Championships in the 49er, was European Champion in 2010 and is a six-time National Champion in the Melges 24, 720, RS700, 18ft Skiff and International 14. He won the Extreme Sailing Series in 2007 on Basilica and was part of the Team Origin America’s Cup squad.
The Wave, Muscat crew also welcomes two newcomers to the team, they will have their own America’s Cup sailor in Kinley Fowler who most recently raced for Oracle Team USA as trimmer/shore crew and prior to that, in 2011, was Ben Ainslie’s Extreme 40 bowman – he has valuable experience in one-design fleet racing and the World Match Racing World Championship.
The Wave, Muscat is also proud to welcome Sarah Ayton OBE to the team. Ayton is a well-known name in Olympic circles with two Gold medals to her name in the Yngling Class from the Athens and Beijing Olympiads and multiple European and World Championship titles. She will set a great example to Oman Sail’s own Women’s Sailing Programme and will complete what is a very strong line up for the 2014 campaign.
“Oman Sail is honoured to represent The Wave, Muscat again on the Extreme Sailing circuit," said Oman Sail CEO David Graham. "The team has achieved superb results both on the water and in forming our Omani sailors over the last two years and we are very happy to welcome Sarah onboard for the 2014 season; she has achieved great things in her career and will complete what is a strong team alongside skipper Leigh McMillan, Pete Greenhalgh, Nasser Al Mashari and Kinley Fowler. I wish them luck,.
2014 is also an exciting year for the next phase of The Wave, Muscat development that will see its main retail precinct open in June. Construction is being fast tracked on the Kempinski Hotel and marina-front apartment projects Marsa 1,2 and 3. The Wave, Muscat already comprises more than 1,200 luxury residential properties, retail and dining facilities and Oman’s only signature designed PGA Standard 18 hole links golf course, designed by Greg Norman and the 400 berth Almouj Marina.
In March The Wave, Muscat will be host to the second round of this years’ Extreme Sailing Series which in 2014 boasts a line up of 11 teams with a host of sailing celebrities and an eight stop global tour, which starts in Singapore on February 20.