Oman Sail has officially been launched. Ellen MacArthur was on hand in Muscat, Oman, for the announcement of a round the world record attempt, on board her former record breaking 75-foot trimaran ‘B&Q, now known as ‘Musandam’.
“Oman Sail is a project with a great heart and serious aims, and watching the Omani team progress over the past 6 months of intensive learning has been fantastic. I’m delighted to see my old boat now heading off across the oceans again on a new challenge, she was created for that! I wish the Oman Sail team fair winds and good luck on what remains an extremely difficult challenge – although I’m sure ‘Musandam’ will look after them.”
Mohsin Al Busaidi looks set to be the first ever Omani to attempt the gruelling 23,000 miles around the planet from Muscat to Muscat. If successful, the 5 person crew of ‘Musandam’ will join a select group of people who have circumnavigated the globe non-stop.
“I am deeply honoured to have been selected to represent Oman on this first attempt to race around the world. Success is by no means certain, but we promise to give it our very best to make our country proud every step of the way. I can’t comprehend how cold the Southern Ocean will be, but the warmth of Oman will remain in our hearts and keep us strong on journey onboard Musandam.”
Oman’s Minister for Tourism, Her Excellency, Dr Rajhia bint Abdulamir bin Ali, launched the Oman Sail project. Her Excellency explained:
“Oman Sail is a long term initiative created to inspire a new generation of young Omanis to take up sailing as recreation and as competitive sport, to restore Oman’s maritime eminence through competing at international level, as well as supporting the development of events to support professional sailing in the Arabian Peninsula.”
Backed by the Sultanate, Oman Sail aims to promote the country of Oman to a wider international audience to encourage economic investment, promote the country as a prime tourist destination and, at the same time, provide working opportunities for its growing population of young adults.
Oman Sail’s dream is a big one, and it will take a decade or more to build this new capability for the Omani team to compete at top-level competitions, and is part of the plan to drive interest in young Omanis to step onboard.
In conjunction with the launch, and fresh from Act 1 of the Arabian Extreme 40 Challenge in Dubai, Oman Sail, supported by Partner Oman Air, are hosting the second 3-day ‘Act’. Each of the 4 boats competing includes 2 sailors from the Oman Sail Race Team, in their first ever competitive regatta as crew.
Shirley Robertson OBE, double Olympic Gold medallist, and skipper of “Oman Air” for this event, has been impressed by the Omani sailors:
“It is great to see a new nation sailing, my Omani crew are so motivated to learn, I am really looking forward to this next event.”
The Oman Air Challenge will be raced off Muscat between the 2nd and 4th of December. In 2009, Oman Sail will continue to race in the European iShares Cup Extreme 40 circuit, as well complete the construction of a new One Design 105′ ocean racing trimaran. Further details of this new boat will be released to the sailing media in the coming weeks.