Mark Lloyd / Oman Sail

Omani MOD70 to make Round Ireland record attempt

Training run for Sidney Gavignet's new crew

Wednesday March 20th 2013, Author: James Boyd, Location: Ireland

Oman’s MOD70 trimaran Musandam-Oman Sail will kick off her 2013 season with an attempt on the Round Ireland Record.

All being well, the record should be a routine one to break - the present time of 1 day 20 hours and 42 minutes for the 708 mile course was set almost 20 years ago by the late Steve Fossett and his crew on the ORMA 60 trimaran Lakota at an average speed of 15.84 knots.

The record attempt will form part of a three week long training run for Gavignet's new six man crew. Back from last season are French Finn sailor Thomas Le Breton and Omani Fahad Al Hasni. They are joined by Neal McDonald (who was Gavignet's skipper aboard Assa Abloy in the 2001-2 Volvo Ocean Race) and Damian Foxall. The Round Ireland record will obviously most pertinent to Irish national Foxall who was recently a watch leader on Franck Cammas' Volvo Ocean Race winner, Groupama, but who has a considerable track record on racing multihulls.

A second Omani sailor is joining the crew this season in Ahmed Al Maamari. Al Maamari was one of the original recruits to Oman Sail in 2008 when the national initiative was first set up. A former member of the Sultan’s Special Forces in Oman, he has since competed in the Extreme 40s, Clipper Round the World Race and the Tour de France a la Voile.

A number of the crew raced together in the recent EFG Bank Sailing Arabia – The Tour and according to their skipper, are shaping up as a team capable of putting in consistently strong performances and posting victories.

“We did well to be close to the podium on the European Tour last year, competing against teams that were very experienced,” said Gavignet. “I think on the basis of what we learned in 2012 and the progress we made, we can start winning this year. Last season we had less training and less experience than anyone else but this year we have done more training and we have a bit more experience so it is all going the right way. I expect the improvements to continue and we will be trying to win.”

The attempt on the Round Ireland record, due to start from Dun Laoghaire in Ireland, will be followed by more training at Port la Foret in France before two local races in Brittany - the Grand Prix Guyader and the ArMen Race, both in May.

Their main focus this season will be the Route des Princes, starting from Valencia, Spain, in June. This will be followed by the Artemis Challenge and the Rolex Fastnet Race. Other commitments (ie participation in the doublehanded Transat Jacques Vabre) are due to be confirmed soon.

Read our full interview with Sidney Gavignet here

Musandam-Oman Sail MOD 70 2013 racing calendar

20-30 March: Round Ireland Record attempt
3-6 May: Grand Prix Guyader, Douarnenez
9-11 May: ArMen Race, La Trinité
6-30 June: Route des Princes (Valencia-Spain, Lisbon-Portugal, Dun Laoghaire-Ireland, Plymouth-UK, Baie de Morlaix-France)
8 August: Cowes Week Artemis Challenge
11-13 August: The Rolex Fastnet Race

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