Oman Sail MOD70 to compete in Route du Rhum
This will be Oman’s second entry to the historic singlehanded race from St Malo to Pointe-a-Pitre, Guadeloupe. Their first, in 2010, ended abruptly with a catastrophic mid-Atlantic breakage forcing Gavignet to retire. However the French skipper has had better luck racing his MOD70 trimaran shorthanded, including last year's Transat Jacques Vabre.
Understandably Gavignet views the Route du Rhum as unfinished business: “The last race for me remains an amazing memory and to have a chance to do it again is a great honour. Growing up sailing in Annecy, the Route du Rhum was always THE race that made me dream.”
Oman Sail CEO, David Graham, explains of their entry: “The Musandam-Oman Sail MOD70 campaign is the pinnacle of the Oman Sail sailing development programme. We are very proud to be competing in the Route du Rhum, such an important benchmark event in France, under Omani colours, and while we do not have an Omani sailor on the boat this time, competing in such a prestigious offshore event will help us with our sailing awareness campaign back home in Oman. Racing the Route du Rhum will encourage and inspire our young Omani sailors to aim high with their ambitions.”
Her Excellency Maitha Al Mahrouqi, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Tourism of Oman and Chairwoman of Oman Sail added her pleasure to the campaign announcement: “The Ministry of Tourism of the Sultanate of Oman is extremely proud to support Musandam-Oman Sail, Oman Sail's MOD70, for the Route du Rhum, one of France's greatest offshore races. The giant multihull is proudly Omani and carries our flag and message of welcome to a global audience. Through the relationship with Oman Sail and our participation in international events throughout the season, in France, the UK and Germany, we seek to connect with the high-end tourist that attends and follows these elite sailing events and to impart what the Sultanate of Oman has to offer in terms of natural beauty and culture. With a direct flight from Paris to Muscat with Oman Air, the French tourist is very important to us and we look forward to raising awareness of our country's attractions through our participation in the Route du Rhum."
The Route du Rhum is the climax of what is set to be a busy season of training and racing for Sidney Gavignet and the Omani and international race squad that will rotate on both the M34 and MOD70 crews throughout the season. The objectives are a podium place in the Tour de France a la Voile and a strong front of the fleet performance in the Seven Star Round Britain and Ireland Race in August on the MOD70.
“My Omani teammates will live the Route du Rhum experience and preparations with me throughout the season,” said Gavignet. “We will race together on both the M34 towards the Tour de France a la Voile and the MOD70 in France, Germany and the UK. Developing the sailors as a squad that rotates on both boats will give them a deeper knowledge and understanding of the sport and make them more rounded,” he added.
After that, Gavignet will transition to training singlehanded on the MOD70 ahead of the start of the Route du Rhum on 2 November.
Alterations on the MOD70 have already begun to make the boat more friendly for singlehanded racing.