Oman Sail MOD70 crew announced
Three Omani sailors will join a top international crew for the first ever one-design trimaran MOD70 Multi One Championships.
Oman’s Fahad Al Hasni, Mohsin Al Busaidi, and Khamis Al Anbouri joined skipper Sidney Gavignet in Lorient as Oman Sail’s new MOD70 went into the water for the first time last week. Completing the Oman Sail MOD70 crew will be three French sailors, Loik Gallon, Jean François Cuzon and Thomas Le Breton, alongside with British offshore multihull sailor Brian Thompson.
Getting the boat into the water signalled the start of three months’ training and practice racing for the Oman Sail team in French waters before the MOD70 Championship gets underway in July.
An integral part of Oman Sail’s offshore team, Fahad was part of the BAE-sponsored team that finished an impressive fifth in the 2011 Tour du France a la Voile, while Mohsin – one of Oman Sail’s very first recruits – was the first Arab to sail non-stop around the world. Ocean racing will be a new challenge for Khamis, who has excelled in Extreme 40 inshore racing, becoming the first Omani to stand on the top of the podium at an international sailing event when he won the 2010 Extreme Sailing Series on Oman Sail’s The Wave, Muscat.
Technical manager and boat captain, Loik, skippered the 2009 Oman Sail trimaran, Musandam, voyage in which Mohsin became the first Omani to sail non-stop around the world, while navigator Jean François is a former 470 World champion and America’s Cup challenger who has competed in the last two Transat Jacques Vabre transatlantic races. Brian has notched up 25 world sailing records, including the recent Jules Verne Trophy for the fastest circumnavigation of the world in the race and Thomas Le Breton is a member of the French Olympic Sailing Squad in the Finn Heavyweight Men’s dinghy class.
Omanis also make up three-quarters of the four-strong Oman Sail MOD70 shore team with boat builders Mohammed Al Wahaibi, Sulaiman Al Menji and Hilal Al Zadjali also recruited to the project.
The crew for Oman Sail MOD70 team was handpicked by skipper Sidney. The Omani crew selection ran with a week sailing on the MOD70 ‘Race for Water’ in October, followed by a 48-hour intense trek in the Omani mountains. Sidney assessed sailors from the F18, windsurfing and M34 squads plus the more established, experienced Omani sailors.
He said: “In the end it was experience that shone through. I feel confident with the team members surrounding me, a mix of great experience and good personalities, who will create a great atmosphere to catch up as fast as possible on our opposition. One main goal is to build at least one Omani as a primary helmsman.
“Fahad is one of the most promising young Oman Sail sailors and is known as ‘the machine’ when it comes to trimming the spinnakers for hours, non-stop. Moshin is the most experienced offshore Oman Sail sailor and Khamis is highly-motivated to discover offshore and we will help him in that journey. I am looking forward to sailing with my new team.”
The MOD70 Multi One Championship gets underway with the Krys Ocean Race, a 2,950 mile sprint eastbound across the Atlantic from New York (USA) to Brest on the north-west top of France, starting on 7 July. In preparation Oman Sail will be training in France and taking part in a number of French offshore and inshore races to put both the boat and team to the test.
After the opening Krys Ocean Race, the European Tour element of the MOD70 Multi One Championship takes place between August and October and includes events in Marseille (FRA), Cascais (POR), Kiel (GER), Italy and Ireland. Crews will then do battle in the Ocean World Tour part of the Championship from October 2013 to April 2014.
Oman Sail is continuing its global promotion of Oman and the development of marine activity amongst Omanis through its involvement in the MOD70 circuit. One of the main deciders for Oman Sail’s participation in the Championship was the key market destinations the boats will visit in the World and European tours, with the majority having direct flight routes to Muscat with the country’s national airline, Oman Air. The MOD70 programme will continue to promote Oman as a unique luxury tourist destination around the globe
David Graham, CEO of Oman Sail: “The MOD70 will take the Oman Sail project to another level. It is a very powerful boat whose crew will need to have the skill base to perform against some of the world’s best sailors. It is a truly inspirational project that will provide a platform for our current top sailors compete and develop their sailing skills and inspire a whole new generation of Omanis into sailing.”