The Oman Sail project is a story of vision. It is also a textbook case of how to activate sponsorship of sport across a wide variety of projects. Just as the UK will experience a blip of national pride as a result of winning back the Ashes from Australia, the Oman Sail project is building pride in a nation where sailing has always been part of life, just not sporting life.
The launch of the new Arabian 100 trimaran then is not just some rich person’s toy – its a symbol of a country taking on the world. In the team’s own words : It’s a proud day for Oman as the Arabian 100 trimaran touches water for the very first time here in Salalah Port.
While many will ‘ooh and ahhh’ at the shiny new hulls, its great to know that there are side-effects of the programme like Safiya Al Habsi, a young lady who is the first Omani girl to become a qualified sailing instructor.
Just as F1 is slowly moving south and east, with new races in Singapore, Abu Dhabi and China, so too are sailing’s biggest opportunities outside traditional markets. The World Match Racing Tour visits Malaysia and Korea. The Volvo Ocean Race visited India and China – places where the sport of sailing is new, exciting and underdeveloped.
The Arabian 100 is a statement of intent. Traditional sailing powers wake up, shake up and be bold – or lose out.
Photos by Oman Sail / Lloyd Images