Weeks after Loik Peyron and Gitana Team announced that they had different paths to follow, and that they would be parting, news comes that Peyron will go head to head against the new Gitana Team Extreme 40 entry in the iShares Cup. The French skipper has joined the Oman Sail Extreme 40 campaign.
Peyron, one of the most important forces behind the evolution of modern multihulls, will compete in the European Series which kicks off in Venice on 15 May.
Training with the Oman Sail Racing Team in Muscat, Oman for the first time last month, he commented
“There are several reasons why I’m very happy to be joining the Oman Sail Team in the upcoming iShares Cup, and not the least of those is the fact that I’ve always been fascinated by maritime history, traditions and heritage. So spending time in Muscat confirmed my impression that the Sultanate of Oman did have an ancient and strong seafaring tradition, and the efforts developed by the Oman Sail structure to revive it are inspiring. There is definitely potential, and it’s refreshing to see so much enthusiasm. Having been around for a bit of time now, I think I have some experience worth sharing, and I’ve always believed in passing down the knowledge.”
The Extreme 40 campaign sets the bar high for the up and coming Omanis in the Oman Sail Racing Team and gives them a top class International event to aspire to in the future. The clear long term objective is that an increasing number of the crew will be Omanis, working their way up through the newly formed Oman Sail Academy and Oman Sail Racing Team.
Peyron has made an international name for himself racing on both offshore and short courses in multihull sailing, and for the past few years on the Decision 35 circuit on Lac Léman, Switzerland. Peyron most recently returned from his Vendée Globe campaign onboard ‘Gitana’, unfortunately dismasted in the Southern Ocean after leading the race for a total of 15 days.
“The iShares Cup is a very competitive circuit, and multihulls have long been my weapons of choice. I’m thrilled to now take part in the iShares Cup. I have been keeping my eye on the Extreme 40 class since its conception, and I remember having a conversation about it with its designers even before it was built: yet I’ve only had the chance to finally sail one recently, given my rather tight schedule. The Extreme 40 is certainly powerful and seaworthy, which is important given the diversity of venues, as in some places, swell or chop can be expected! Close-combat racing is something I’ve always enjoyed, and if I understand things correctly, we’ll be lining up against some top guns so I couldn’t be happier.”
The series say that supporting sponsors and further team announcements will be made over the coming weeks, but with only 2 weeks until final team entries are due, only two of the venues are locked in place.