Musandam sets off

First Omani non-stop round the world attempt on its way

Thursday January 8th 2009, Author: Emily Caroe, Location: United Kingdom
Marina Bander Al Rowda was packed on Thursday afternoon as Ministers, VIP guests and members of the general public came to wish Mohsin Al Busaidi and the crew of Ellen MacArthur's former B&Q Castorama trimaran, Musandam fair winds and a safe journey on their attempt to sail round the world.

With last minute checks of the equipment complete and freeze dried food for 80 days stored safely away, the crew were joined by the rest of the Oman Sail team and well wishers as they slipped their mooring at the marina. A flotilla of ships and a Royal Navy warship then accompanied Musandam across the start time and waved her off as she disappeared from view of land and the start of her 40,000km journey round the world. The start time was officially recorded as 14:30:30 8 January.

Her Excellency Dr Rajha bint Abdulamair bin Ali, The Minister of Tourism and His Excellency Ali bin Masoud al Sunaidy, The Minister of Sports shook hands with the crew as the left dry land for the last time until they return they return to Muscat. Her Excellency said of this occasion: "We have a grand new beginning for Oman Sail today with the start of Musandam's journey around the world. Musandam's journey will take around 80 days and we wish them all the best in their journey which will open new prospects for Oman. We hope that with the beginning of this journey, we will have more achievements and more sailing in Oman."

Mohsin's brother was nervous about the journey but he was happy that his brother will be the first Omani to attempt to circumnavigate the globe: "I'm thrilled that Mohsin is going to attempt to this round the world voyage and the first Omani sailor to attempt such difficult journey. I am sure that Mohsin and the crew will make us proud and I wish them all the best," Mohammed Al Busaidi said.

Mohsin Al Busaidi told their Excellencies and other VIPs as he waved goodbye: "I'm very proud of what we have achieved so far and I hope this journey will go well and we succeed in going around the world. Our Omani ancestors didn't go around the world, but they sailed to many places all over the globe. I'm not really frightened of the challenge; I'm just worried about the weather conditions throughout the attempt. Oman has given me a lot and I hope I will make my country and family proud of me."

Navigator of Musandam, Charles Darbyshire said: "It's a bit exciting to be getting away now. I'm a bit nervous, but I think you just get that on the first time, and we'll see how we go. As you can see from the photos, there are lots of people here to wave us off. Hopefully they'll continue to follow us as we go round the planet. It's a big challenge when you have got sailing experience, when you've got as little as Mohsin has. He started in April last year. It's an amazing challenge and an amazing opportunity for him as well."

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