Mark Lloyd / Oman Sail

Gavignet to campaign 100ft tri in the Route du Rhum

Oman Sail announce three new ventures to take place in France this year

Wednesday March 3rd 2010, Author: James Boyd, Location: France

Following their participation in the Extreme Sailing Series and at present walking the course for the Indian Ocean 5 Capes Race with their two giant trimarans, so Oman Sail are to compete in the three major regattas in France this year. CEO of Oman Sail David Graham has announced the participation of the team in the Tour de France à la Voile, the Route du Rhum and the French leg of the Extreme Sailing Series Europe competition.

The most dramatic of this news is that Volvo Ocean Race crewman Sidney Gavignet will be skippering Oman Sail’s A100 Majan singlehanded in this year’s Route du Rhum.

Aside from promotion for Oman Sail, Gavignet’s entry in the class French solo transatlantic race is also to showcase the A100 class (of which Majan is the first example) and also to draw interest to the new Indian Ocean 5 Capes Race to be held in 2012.

“Sidney was a natural choice” said David Graham. “He is a profesional sailor used to skippering boats with an iron hand, his strong point being his perpetual quest for performance and the A100 is designed to be sailed fast and pushed hard. Sidney is also a true communicator who understands the commercial stakes of his sport. He has never participated in the Route du Rhum, but he is extremely motivated.”

The Route du Rhum 2010 will in fact be Sidney’s first participation in France’s most historic offshore race. He will be racing in the unlimited maxi multihull ‘Ultime’ category, which the organizers have introduced this year partly following the demise of the ORMA class, but also because it is symbolic of the ‘open class racing’ roots of this race.

“A great believer in team values, I have been dreaming of single-handed racing since I first started competitive sailing,” commented Gavignet. “Today, the race course is simple yet magnificent, as Majan, the A100 that I will sail to Pointe à Pitre. A streamlined boat, without artifacts, one of the most beautiful from the start. In spite of limited experience sailing multihulls, I feel at ease with the idea of finding myself at the helm of this 105 ft trimaran, as I have already been able to verify that it is a particularly safe and seaworthy boat.”

Although it is a single-handed race, the Route du Rhum requires many forces to be mobilised within the teams. To prepare both boat and skipper there will be two Omani shore team apprentices as part of the technical team in Lorient (Majan’s training base from July to beginning of October), then in the start port of Saint Malo.

In the Ultime calss Gavignet and Majan are set to be up against Thomas Coville and his Sodebo, a near-sistership to Majan, Yann Guichard's elongated Gitana ORMA 60 and Franck Cammas racing Groupama 3 with a cut-down rig.

Oman Sail will participate in the Tour de France à la Voile with a mainly French, English and Omani crew. Their Farr 30 will see five Omani sailors racing alongside five other European sailors, led by two time Volvo Ocean Race sailor and International 14/18ft skiff champion, Rob Greenhalgh.

“The Tour is the opportunity to discover crewed offshore racing” says Nicolas Honor, Project Manager of the Oman Sail team for the Tour. “It is the only deep-sea project that allows five Omani sailors to sail with the best of the series and to train in the throes of the action. After the experience of one month around the french coasts, they will be able to bring their experience back to Oman to benefit the students of the sailing schools in Oman who will soon sail on the Farr30, once the 2010 Tour is over.”

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