On board Vega Racing with British Olympian Nick Thompson on the second day of racing in the Madeira Islands. (Photo © Lloyd Images )

On board Vega Racing with British Olympian Nick Thompson on the second day of racing in the Madeira Islands. (Photo © Lloyd Images )

Extreme Sailing Series™ heavyweights Alinghi launched an assault on Act 6 leaders Red Bull Sailing Team on the waters of Madeira today as the regatta reached its halfway mark.

Arnaud Psarofaghis’ Swiss crew on Alinghi exchanged blows with Roman Hagara’s Austrian-flaggedRed Bull Sailing Team as both outfits made their bids to top the Act 6 table going into the penultimate day.

Light, shifty winds provided challenging conditions for the seven international teams as racing resumed in Funchal, the capital of Portugal’s stunning Madeira Islands, in front of the watching crowds.

With the breeze never getting above five knots the sailors were forced to rely on tactics more than ever, and it was Psarofaghis’ team that won the day, finishing on the podium in each of the four races to clock up more points than any other team. Meanwhile Red Bull Sailing Team, keen to capitalise on their win in the opening day’s only race, added another two victories to their tally. Crucially, however, they finished in fifth in the remaining two races.

The results leave the expert teams tied on 52 points, with Oman Air four points further back in third, tied with SAP Extreme Sailing Team. However with two more days of jam-packed racing still to go, and an increase in wind forecast, the Act is far from being tied up.

“After two days of racing we’re feeling really good because we haven’t lost too many points to anyone,” Alinghi helmsman Psarofaghis said. “We’re tied on points at the top of the leaderboard so we couldn’t ask for much better, especially as the conditions were so tricky today. But there are many teams that can win here and the racecourse is really challenging, so it’s going to be all on right until the end.”

Overall Series leaders Oman Air shot out of the blocks, winning the opening race in trademark fashion, but Morgan Larson’s men then suffered a string of penalties after being caught on the wrong side of the start line twice in succession. The Omani team had to settle for sixth place in the second race of the day, but a fantastic display of skill, jumping from last to second in the next race, salvaged their third-place position on the Act 6 leaderboard.

“It was obviously challenging out there today and I gave the team some work to do with a couple of bad starts from me,” Larson admitted. “I jumped the line a bit on a couple of occasions. It didn’t feel like we were being too aggressive but I guess we were just a little ahead of ourselves and that’s all it takes.

“Thankfully the second time it happened we managed to pull it back to get second place. In light airs sometimes it just works out that way. But it’s not ideal and we’ll definitely have to tighten up for tomorrow.”

Home team Sail Portugal – Visit Madeira delighted the watching crowds when they scored their best result of the Act so far with a second in the final race of the day. They go into the penultimate day with a three point buffer over Land Rover BAR Academy, who also scooped a podium spot, with wildcard team Vega Racing a further two points behind.

Land Rover BAR Academy’s Neil Hunter, who at 21 is the youngest skipper in the fleet, said his young crew are looking forward to more wind when racing gets underway once more tomorrow.

“It was a mixed day for us – it was light, super shifty and very frustrating,” Hunter said. “We banged in a couple of good results including a second and a fourth so there was potential there for sure, but we never really finished the job off properly. The talk is of more breeze tomorrow and we like those conditions so let’s see what happens.”

The third day of Act 6 commences at 1400 local time (1300 GMT) tomorrow. Fans around the globe can watch the racing live online on the official event website from 1530 to 1700 local time.

Extreme Sailing Series™ Act 6, Madeira Islands standings after Day 2, 5 races (23.09.16)
Position / Team / Points
1st Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) Roman Hagara, Hans Peter Steinacher, Stewart Dodson, Adam Piggott, Brad Farrand 52 points.
2nd Alinghi (SUI) Arnaud Psarofaghis, Nicolas Charbonnier, Timothé Lapauw, Nils Frei, Yves Detrey 52 points.
3rd Oman Air (OMA) Morgan Larson, Pete Greenhalgh, James Wierzbowski, Ed Smyth, Nasser Al Mashari 48 points.
4th SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN) Jes Gram-Hansen, Rasmus Køstner, Mads Emil Stephensen, Pierluigi De Felice, Renato Conde 48 points.
5th Sail Portugal – Visit Madeira (POR) Diogo Cayolla, Frederico Melo, Nuno Barreto, Luís Brito, João Matos Rosa 41 points.
6th Land Rover BAR Academy (GBR) Neil Hunter, Elliot Hanson, Will Alloway, Sam Batten, Rob Bunce 38 points.
7th Vega Racing (USA) Brad Funk, Tom Buggy, Nick Thompson, Zé Costa, Mac Agnese 36 points.

The Extreme Sailing Series 2016. Act 6. Madeira. Portugal. 23rd September 2016.  (Photo ©  Lloyd Images)

The Extreme Sailing Series 2016. Act 6. Madeira. Portugal. 23rd September 2016.
(Photo © Lloyd Images)

 

The Extreme Sailing Series 2016. Act 6. Madeira. Portugal. 23rd September 2016.  (Photo ©  Lloyd Images)

The Extreme Sailing Series 2016. Act 6. Madeira. Portugal. 23rd September 2016. (Photo © Lloyd Images)

 

The Extreme Sailing Series 2016. Act 6. Madeira. Portugal. 23rd September 2016.  (Photo ©  Lloyd Images)

The Extreme Sailing Series 2016. Act 6. Madeira. Portugal. 23rd September 2016. (Photo © Lloyd Images)

 

The Extreme Sailing Series 2016. Act 6. Madeira. Portugal. 23rd September 2016.  (Photo ©  Lloyd Images)

The Extreme Sailing Series 2016. Act 6. Madeira. Portugal. 23rd September 2016. (Photo © Lloyd Images)

 

The Extreme Sailing Series 2016. Act 6. Madeira. Portugal. 23rd September 2016.  (Photo ©  Lloyd Images)

The Extreme Sailing Series 2016. Act 6. Madeira. Portugal. 23rd September 2016. (Photo © Lloyd Images)

 

The Extreme Sailing Series 2016. Act 6. Madeira. Portugal. 23rd September 2016.  (Photo ©  Lloyd Images)

The Extreme Sailing Series 2016. Act 6. Madeira. Portugal. 23rd September 2016. (Photo © Lloyd Images)

 

The Extreme Sailing Series 2016. Act 6. Madeira. Portugal. 23rd September 2016.  (Photo ©  Lloyd Images)

The Extreme Sailing Series 2016. Act 6. Madeira. Portugal. 23rd September 2016. (Photo © Lloyd Images)

 

091014-Naviguation solo, entrainement pour la Route Du Rhm 2014, au large de Belle-Ile. Trimaran SODEBO ULTIM', skipper, Thomas Coville. Reportage hélico. (Photo Sodebo Damage (Photo  © ALEXIS COURCOUX)

091014-Naviguation solo, entrainement pour la Route Du Rhm 2014, au large de Belle-Ile. Trimaran SODEBO ULTIM’, skipper, Thomas Coville. Reportage hélico. (Sodebo Damage (Photo © ALEXIS COURCOUX))

At 23:30, Sunday, Nov. 2, the Cross informed the race management of the Route du Rhum – Destination Guadeloupe that a collision had occurred between Sodebo Ultim ‘and a cargo and Thomas Coville was unharmed. The trimaran was almost out of the rail and sailed under 3 reefs and ORC, progressing at a speed of 15/18 knots in assets grains with 30 knots of wind from the southwest.

In shock, the trimaran has lost the front of the starboard float to link arms. The middle housing also appears to have been damaged at the front. Sodebo Ultim ‘moves towards the port of Roscoff, crosswind, under reduced sail, leaning on the port float. He is currently lead less than 10 knots. By approaching the Brittany coast, the wind will ease and the sea to settle down. His crew was on standby in Brest will travel at night in Roscoff where the trimaran is due in the morning

Ill fortune was in no way selective as it struck a wide cross section of the La Route du Rhum-Destination fleet over the first 24 hours of the 3,542 miles Transatlantic race which started from Saint-Malo, France on Sunday afternoon, bound for Guadeloupe.

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Difficult sea conditions, squally winds which pumped up to 45kts and periods of poor visibility took a heavy toll across the five classes with dozens of skippers among the 91 starters forced to stop or abandon their race.

Most high profile early casualty is the 31m Ultime trimaran Sodebo Ultim’ of Thomas Coville which struck a cargo ship last night around 2330hrs UTC, losing the starboard float right back to the crossbeam. The solo round the world ace who was considered to be one of the pre-race favourites to win into Pointe-a-Pitre was unhurt and arrived in Roscoff at a little after midday today, disappointed and shaken.

Covillle recalled: “Today I feel like I have been a victim in a car accident. I feel like a truck collided with me, a motorcycle at night. It really basically is that. I was coming away from TSS, the area we avoid because of the maritime traffic, and I was going really fast. That evening I had had a small problem on the bow, so I decided to basically speed up and try and catch up with Loick (Loick Peyron, Maxi Banque Populaire VII) but was sailing along quite comfortably. An engine alarm went off, a battery charge reminder, so I went back inside because I was surprised that after eight hours I would need to be recharging. There was nothing wrong so I went back and there I saw on it on my screen … You can imagine that on our boats we do not have a lot of visibility, that it is dark, there were squalls and lots of rain and that basically we sail like aeroplane pilots or like traffic controllers, using the radar.

I could see that there were two cargo ships close to me. I was sailing in wind mode, which basically means you sail taking into account the variable winds and waves. If I am sailing at 25 knots and the container is at 18 knots, we had a closing speed of 40 knots. Basically the two miles was covered in one minute and thirty seconds. I get out on deck having started the engine and manage to get the right gear and it is just when I look up and see this big black wall cross in front of me and I hit it 1.5 metres or maybe 3 metres from the back. We just did not quite pass behind and but for three metres we would have passed OK.”

Two sistership Class 40s lost their keels just hours apart. Francois Angoulvant had to be airlifted off his recently launched Sabrosa Mk2 by a 33F helicopter just after midnight and taken to Brest for medical observation. Marc Lepesqueux was luckier in that he managed to keep his boat upright when he lost his keel, stabilising it by filling the ballast tanks and he was able to make it into Guernsey.

The unfortunate duo were just two with problems affecting a dozen different Class 40s. Among them an ankle injury has forced Nicolas Troussel (Credit Mutuel Bretagne) – runner up in the 2010 edition – out of the race. Thierry Bouchard (Wallfo.com) succumbed to an injured wrist. Sail or rig repairs are required on Exocet (Alan Roura), Fantastica (Italy’s highly fancied Giancarlo Pedote) and Teamwork (Bertrand Delesne). Double Vendée Globe finisher Arnaud Boissieres reported he was heading for his home port, Les Sables d’Olonne with a combination of problems.

Conrad Humphreys’ hopes of building from a strong start were compromised when the Plymouth, England skipper had to re-route into Camaret by Brest to replace a mainsail batten car luff box. Sailing Cat Phones he arrived in Camaret just before 1600hrs local time this Monday afternoon and his technical team reckoned on a two hours pit-stop. Two Multi 50 skippers required to be towed to port by the SNSM.

Loic Fequet’s Multi 50 Maitre Jacque lost a big section off its starboard float, a seeming repeat of a problem suffered a year ago according to the sailor from Brittany who finished second in the 2011 Transat Jacques Vabre. And also in the Multi50s Gilles Buekenhout (Nootka) broke a rudder and had to be towed to Roscoff where he arrived around 1600hrs CET this afternoon.

Loick Peyron and the giant Banque Populaire VII (which won the last edition as Groupama) continues to lead the race at the head of the Ultime fleet by a matter of 45 miles ahead of Yann Guichard (Spindrift 2). The battle of the giants was taking on its hotly anticipated centre stage action this afternoon as Guichard continued to march steadily up through the field, now into slightly more moderate breezes but still with big confused seas. He was almost 10 knots quicker than Peyron on the late afternoon poll. The leaders were due to pass Cape Finisterre this evening around 1930-2000hrs. Meantime after holding second for much of the time Sébastien Josse, Yann Elies and Sidney Gavignet are locked in a three cornered battle in the Multi70s with 3.5 miles separating them after 28 hours of racing, between 57 and 60 miles behind the leader.

Multi 50
Five seriously damaged but a duel at the front. The Multi50 fleet was hit badly by the harsh conditions. First to be affected was Maitre Jacques of Loic Fequet which suffered a damaged starboard float. His was the first of a series of accidents and damage. Gilles Buekenhout (Nootka) with a broken rudder; Hervé de Carlan (Delirium), damaged a daggerboard; Erik Nigon (Vers un Monde Sans SIDA) has ripped mainsail and Alain Delhumeau (Royan) was dismasted. There were six still on course this afternoon carrying on a spirited fight to continue their race to Guadeloupe. A tight duel is at hand between Yves Le Blevec (Actual) and Erwan Le Roux (FenêtréA Cardinal) who were racing just a few hundred metres apart this afternoon off the latitude of Les Sables d’Olonne.

IMOCA
One Abandon, two damaged, Macif supreme since the start François Gabart has maintained a consistent leadership since breaking the start line first on Sunday afternoon. The lead of the current Vendée Globe champion increased this afternoon, out to 25 miles as his nearest rival Vincent Riou reported damage to his mainsheet track mountings. Two other notable damages include Tanguy de Lamotte on Initiatives Couer who was having to reroute for a pitstop after a shock to his rudder damaged the mountings. And Bertrand de Broc is reported to have abandoned after the hydraulic ram on his pilot failed and he also suffered an injured elbow. The rest close reach on down the Bay of Biscay with a big lateral gap (60 miles) between the trio of Gabart, Guillemot and Beyou in the west and Burton / Di Benedetto in the East.

Class 40 Sébastien Rogue remains untouchable so far in Class 40 on GDF SUEZ, but Spain’s Alex Pella is keeping the pressure on the race leader, pressing hard on the Botin designed Tales 2. Pella confirmed that he had damaged his preferred genoa during a sail change and anticipates losing some miles. But he expects to be under gennaker by the middle of tomorrow in easier conditions. “The main thing is I am still in the race which is important considering how the conditions have been.” Speaking less than 20 minutes before he was due to leave Camaret Briton Conrad Humphreys said: “I was shattered. We are almost there (close to completing repairs). The showstopper was the broken batten box which means the batten was no longer attached at the front of the main and I did not have any spares. It was a pretty hideous night, the waves were difficult, but I felt I had sailed reasonably well. There was a lot of reef in, reef out and it happened during one of these episodes. I am tired still but I will get back out there and try to stay with the group. That is the important thing. I am annoyed this happened.” Miranda Merron on Campagne de France was up to ninth place this afternoon, just 14.5 miles behind the leader. The English skipper reported: “ Minor issues on board, mainly the masthead wind unit which has stopped working, so no wind info at the moment – back to dinghy sailing. I should be able to plug in the spare wand, but not in this sea state. It will have to wait a few days until conditions improve. Not so good for performance. Anyway, it’s sunny today, although rather wet on deck. Can’t have it all!”

Rhum Class: Mura out in front, Sir Robin en forme In the Rhum Class defending title holder Andrea Mura on the optimised Open 50 Vento di Sardegna was 50 miles west of Ushant this afternoon, furthest offshore of the top group with a lead of 19 miles. He continues to clock high average speeds. Sir Robin Knox-Johnston was on robust form this morning when he spoke to Race HQ in Saint Malo on the morning Radio Vacs: “I have seen gusts to 35 knots and am about 37 miles from Ushant. The first night I did see a 40 knot gust at one stage but I was ready for it. I got the third reef in and the storm jib up. We were alright. I am fine, absolutely fine, just looking forwards to getting past Ushant and get away. I always think you start racing at Finisterre but the main objective just now is just to get around Ushant. I am eating properly now after my stomach upset, so I am all good.” Knox-Johnston’s Grey Power was up to 12th in the class, while Finland’s Are Huusela is in eighth on his Class 40 Neste Oil.

11 abandons

1. Thomas Coville (Ultime – Sodebo Ultim’) : collision with cargo ship
2. Bertrand de Broc (IMOCA – Votre Nom autour du Monde) : elbow injury and pilot damage
3. Alain Delhumeau (Multi50 – Royan) : dismasted
4. Loïc Fequet (Multi50 – Maître Jacques) : float damaged
5. Erik Nigon (Mulit50 – Un monde sans sida) : mainsail shredded
6. Gilles Buekenhout (Multi50 – Nootka Architectes de l’urgence) : rudder broken
7. François Angoulvant (Class40 – Team Sabrosa SR 40MK2) : lost keel
8. Marc Lepesqueux (Class40 – Sensation Class40) : lost keel
9. Nicolas Troussel (Class40 – Crédit Mutuel de Bretagne) : injury
10. Thierry Bouchard (Class40 – Wallfo.com) : injury
11.Arnaud Boissières (Class40 – Du Rhum au Globe) : technical problem

 

Sodebo Damage (Photo  © ALEXIS COURCOUX)

Sodebo Damage (Photo © ALEXIS COURCOUX)

The Seven Star Round Britain and Ireland, race start. Cowes. Isle of Wight. The Oman Sail MOD70 trimaran in action, skippered by Sidney Gavignet (FRA) Please Credit: Lloyd Images

The Seven Star Round Britain and Ireland, race start. Cowes. Isle of Wight. The Oman Sail MOD70 trimaran in action, skippered by Sidney Gavignet (FRA) ( Photo by Mark Lloyd / Lloyd Images )

It came as a pleasant surprise to skipper Sidney Gavignet to hear that he and his crew on Musandam-Oman Sail were beating the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland course record by two hours after a supersonic first night at sea.

In 24 hours since the start of the race from Cowes on Monday, they have covered a remarkable 640 miles averaging speeds of 24 knots and this morning were way ahead of the rest of the fleet, more than 80 miles in front of second placed boat Azzam and rapidly approaching the turning point at the top of Scotland.

Gavignet was under the impression that despite these incredible speeds, Musandam-Oman Sail was behind the record and was thrilled when he was told the good news.

“We thought we were quite a few hours behind the course record so had decided to take it easy a bit so that is very good news to hear we are two hours ahead and great motivation for the crew,” he said.

“I don’t think we can beat Banque Populaire’s time (3 days, 3 hours, 49 minutes and 14 seconds) as we are almost half their size, but we will be doing our very best.”

Sidney Gavignet by Mark Lloyd

Sidney Gavignet by Mark Lloyd

Gavignet said they had been forced to slow down during the night due to the sea state and gusts of up to 36knots which made negotiating the hazards that are dotted around the North Sea all the more challenging. They also blew out a jib – their J1, he reported, so they are nursing their J2 and Gennaker!

“The night was a bit rough – we had to slow down a bit because of the sea state and lost a bit of time. But we are in a new weather system now and are doing nicely. There were a lot of fishing boats out but all was well. It was all good.

“We saw 36 knots of wind last night and three metre waves but the nights are short. We blew out a J1 jib yesterday but it is an old sail that we had from the beginning of the campaign and it blew out in 20 knots of wind – straight line rip with no flapping – so we have to make sure we do no more damage.”

Aberdeen Assets Management Cowes by Mark Lloyd

Aberdeen Assets Management Cowes Week 2014. (Photo by Mark Lloyd / Lloyd Images )

For the first time, Musandam-Oman Sail is being raced with a six strong crew that is 50% Omani with Fahad Al Hasni, Sami Al Shukaili and Yassir Al Rahbi all part of this incredible adventure.

“The crew are doing fine – though are just starting to get a bit tired, we are setlling into the watch system,” reported Gavignet.

“It is an amazing experience especially for our two new guys Sami and Yassir – even Jan Dekker was surprised about the boat speed and how hard we were able to push the boat when I have the Route du Rhum later this year but record or not, we are trying to treat her gently, like a lady.”

Conditions had eased this morning with wind speeds of 20 knots and calmer seas but Oman Sail’s MOD70 was still charging along at around 27 knots and is due to cross the finish line back in Cowes sometime Thursday.

 

Hilary Lister British quadriplegic sailor( paralysed from the neck down) and Nashwa Al Kindi (OMA) shown here finishing their trans-ocean crossing from Mumbai - Muscat. Oman. Onboard a specially adapted Dragonfly trimaran. Credit - Lloyd Images

Hilary Lister British quadriplegic sailor( paralysed from the neck down) and Nashwa Al Kindi (OMA) shown here finishing their trans-ocean crossing from Mumbai – Muscat. Oman. Onboard a specially adapted Dragonfly trimaran. Credit – Lloyd Images

 

Mumbai (20 March 2014) – British quadriplegic sailor Hilary Lister (42), and Omani Nashwa Al Kindi (32) have sailed into the record books aboard a 28ft Dragonfly trimaran to claim two new trans-ocean records.

Although they crossed the finish line in Oman last night, the official welcome took place at The Wave, Muscat earlier today. A huge gathering turned out to honour the two girls who now hold records for the first ever severely paralysed woman and the first Arab female sailor to make a trans-oceanic crossing.The 850-nautical mile journey across the Indian Ocean started from Mumbai, India on Tuesday 11 March and took nine days to complete. The course generally took them up wind with winds reaching no more than 10-15kts, and the average boat speed was 5-6kts. They did however, encounter a 36-hour stop to refuel and carry out a repair to the Code Zero sail, which delayed their overall finish time.Lister, who suffers from a degenerative disease – Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy – and who is paralysed from the neck down, can now add this record to the already impressive solo round Britain disabled record she set in 2009. Lister commented: “I am delighted to have set this record with Nashwa. It was a truly amazing journey, particularly the arrival into Oman. More than anything, however, this trip has highlighted that longer offshore legs are a lot easier for me than shorter legs where I am constantly getting on and off the boat.”

The team, powered by Oman Sail and sponsored by Mistal and United Engineering Services, with support from Oman Air, GAC Pindar, Harken, Ocean Safety and Raymarine, were sailing a specially adapted Dragonfly. This boat incorporates a unique sip and puff sailing system that sends signals to a device using air pressure. By inhaling or exhaling into a straw Lister is able to steer, trim sails and navigate.

Hilary Lister British quadriplegic sailor( paralysed from the neck down) and Nashwa Al Kindi (OMA) shown here finishing their trans-ocean crossing from Mumbai - Muscat. Oman. Onboard a specially adapted Dragonfly trimaran. Credit - Lloyd Images

Hilary Lister British quadriplegic sailor( paralysed from the neck down) and Nashwa Al Kindi (OMA) shown here finishing their trans-ocean crossing from Mumbai – Muscat. Oman. Onboard a specially adapted Dragonfly trimaran. Credit – Lloyd Images

Lister continued: “Thanks to Roger Crabtree’s simple ‘plug and play’ sip and puff system, I think we proved that a long distance oceanic passage is highly achievable. This particular creation means I can transfer it from one boat to another, which has inspired me to think about future challenges. In the short term, however, it will be a case of trying to help other people with similar difficulties to me, get on the water by making this system available.”

Commenting on the highlight of the voyage, Lister said it has to be the phosphorescence: “Being on the ocean at night was simply sensational. I will never forget the amount of phosphorescence.

“The funniest moment I had was when a flying fish hit me slap, bang in the middle of the face. It was a hilarious moment, and we still laugh about it now. As well as the serious sailing, we had a lot of fun.”

Lister’s teammate, Al Kindi believes that becoming the first Arab female to set a new sailing record will hopefully inspire other women to follow their dreams. Al Kindi, who is a dinghy sailing instructor at Oman Sail, only started sailing in 2011 but instantly adopted the sport. In a short period of time she was recognised as the “Coach of the Year” in Oman Sail’s Sailor of the Year Awards 2013, and presented with the ISAF President Development Award 2013 for outstanding achievement.

As she stepped ashore she said: “I am very happy and proud to achieve this goal. It was always my dream to sail offshore in a big boat. I am sure, and I hope that what we have done will be an inspiration for Omani and non-Omani women to go for their dreams and goals. For me personally, it has strengthened my ultimate goal, which is to sail solo around the world one day.”

Commenting on the trip’s most memorable moments, Al Kindi said: “I will always remember the chats I had with Hilary on deck at night. She is a good, experienced sailor and she taught me a lot and she is my biggest inspiration.”

Hilary Lister British quadriplegic sailor( paralysed from the neck down) and Nashwa Al Kindi (OMA) shown here finishing their trans-ocean crossing from Mumbai - Muscat. Oman. Onboard a specially adapted Dragonfly trimaran. Credit - Lloyd Images

Hilary Lister British quadriplegic sailor( paralysed from the neck down) and Nashwa Al Kindi (OMA) shown here finishing their trans-ocean crossing from Mumbai – Muscat. Oman. Onboard a specially adapted Dragonfly trimaran. Credit – Lloyd Images


  • The Extreme Sailing Series 2014. Act 2. Muscat.  Credit - Lloyd Images

    The Extreme Sailing Series 2014. Act 2. Muscat. Credit – Lloyd Images

– Four teams – The, Wave, Muscat, Emirates Team New Zealand, Alinghi and SAP Extreme Sailing Team – in the running heading into the final race, with no room for error and just four points between them – and 20 points on the table for the taking.
– Emirates Team New Zealand snatch second from the grasp of Alinghi with just one point in it after 29 races this week.
– SAP Extreme Sailing Team narrowly denied the podium but rise up the overall Series rankings with an impressive fourth place.
– Replay today’s Stadium Racing, here.

The final day saw plenty of hard fought, close battles on the water for the 11 boat fleet. The Extreme Sailing Series 2014. Act 2. Muscat. Credit - Lloyd Images

The final day saw plenty of hard fought, close battles on the water for the 11 boat fleet. The Extreme Sailing Series 2014. Act 2. Muscat. Credit – Lloyd Images

It was a sweltering hot day in Muscat, Oman, for the final showdown at the Extreme Sailing Series™, where the Arabian peninsula saved the best for last, with winds that blasted across the course at a steady 20 knots, with gusts of 26, before a final race shoot out. Four teams were gunning for the top spot and there was no room for error, with just four points between them – and 20 points on the table for the taking. The defending champions and home team on The Wave, Muscat made a real statement of intent from the gun, with an aggressive start that saw them lead the fleet of the line, and Leigh McMillan, Sarah Ayton, Pete Greenhalgh, Kinley Fowler and Nasser Al Mashari didn’t look back, snatching the win from the hands of the Kiwi, Swiss and Danish teams, to claim not only the Act win, but putting them top of the overall Series leaderboard after two Acts. “It was too close for comfort, that’s for sure,“ commented an elated McMillan after racing. “Today we had a fight on our hands, we knew we had to be exceptional and raise our game. I was just enjoying the sailing, the challenge of it, the situations that were tight and it all worked out for us. The wind came in and it was absolutely amazing sailing out there, absolutely perfect for the Extreme 40s.”

Gazprom Team Russia -The Russian boat meant business today, pushing their Extreme 40 hard and upgrading their position on the leaderboard. The Extreme Sailing Series 2014. Act 2. Muscat. Credit - Lloyd Images

Gazprom Team Russia -The Russian boat meant business today, pushing their Extreme 40 hard and upgrading their position on the leaderboard. The Extreme Sailing Series 2014. Act 2. Muscat. Credit – Lloyd Images

Today’s racing was all about brute power and strength, requiring a huge shift in mindset for the teams, who have raced in light breeze all week. The fleet of 11 Extreme 40s and their 55 elite level crew members powered off the start line, blasting to the windward mark and wrestling their boats around the course, before unfurling their gennakers and flying downwind, trying to maximize power and speed. One team who had the formula nailed were Emirates Team New Zealand, with two race wins and a third place in the final race enough for them to claim second overall, bettering their fourth place finish from Act 1, Singapore, which for skipper Dean Barker, was the objective this week. “We wanted to improve after Singapore, we wanted to sail well and get on the podium here, and we’ve achieved it. There’s still a lot we can improve on but in saying that everyone struggles with the conditions and the guys remained very positive throughout even when things didn’t feel like they were going our way. We had a good chance to get onto the podium, and to get a second place we’re really happy.”

Overnight leaders Alinghi came out of the blocks with a win in the first race of the day, but couldn’t replicate the performance, and a fourth place in the last race left the Swiss settling for third, one point behind the Kiwis. “We should be pleased with the result in such a tough field but we were quite disappointed with how we sailed today. We need to do a better job staying out of the fray and we didn’t achieve that today and The Wave, Muscat did and you’ve got to hand it to them, they earned the win. It’s a long season ahead and if we can keep on the podium this year we’ll have a shot at the title at the end of the year, this will be our objective,” commented the team’s helmsman Morgan Larson.

SAP Extreme Sailing Team SAP Extreme Sailing Team grunt up as they muscle their Extreme 40 around the track. The Extreme Sailing Series 2014. Act 2. Muscat. Credit - Lloyd Images

SAP Extreme Sailing Team
SAP Extreme Sailing Team grunt up as they muscle their Extreme 40 around the track. The Extreme Sailing Series 2014. Act 2. Muscat. Credit – Lloyd Images

The Danish match racing experts on SAP Extreme Sailing Team came heartbreakingly close to a podium position, leading the pack for most of the day, but found themselves stuck in the tussle mid-fleet in the final race, and unable to make a clean break, with a sixth place in the final race putting them in fourth position overall. The team however, have showed a marked improvement from Act 1 in Singapore, where they finished tenth, and co-skipper Jes Gram-Hansen was quick to talk about the learnings from the Act: “Of course we’re a little bit disappointed not to be on the podium, we sailed a great regatta which literally came right down to the last race. In the hindsight I think we sailed well, which is what we will take away from this. It was a difficult day today with good breeze but it was a bit up and down for us. We were a little unlucky at times but overall we sailed pretty well. I think we have a great team, a good boat and the pace to match the best teams in the Extreme Sailing Series.”

The Russian skipper on Gazprom Team Russia Igor Lisovenko seemed to have a point to prove today, and the team, helmed by two-times Series winner Paul Campbell-James, were moving through the gears, and up the leaderboard, with a string of consistent results elevating them to fifth place overall – topping their eighth place from Act 1, Singapore. Campbell-James commented: “We got another bullet today, and we almost won the last one but Leigh (McMillan) just managed to sneak around us on the second leg. Today was the best day of racing this year with a good bit of breeze, it got really exciting there in the middle where the leaderboard was constantly changing and it was just really fun.”

Realteam finish the event in sixth place, five points behind the Russians, leaving them a solid fourth place on the overall Series leaderboard, with Red Bull Sailing Team in seventh on 145 points, one point ahead of Groupama sailing team. Heading into the final day, J.P. Morgan BAR were within touching distance of the podium but the Brits struggled under the building breeze, before a hydraulics failure in the penultimate race forced them to retire for the day, dashing their podium dreams. Oman Air and GAC Pindar struggled for consistency in the testing Omani conditions, but both showed moments of brilliance, posting a handful of results in the top half of the fleet over the course of the four-day event.

Muscat has delivered some incredibly hard fought racing over 29 races, and the fleet with have just under six weeks to regroup, debrief and prepare themselves for Act 3 of the 2014 global tour in Qingdao, China, presented by Land Rover, one of the most notoriously tricky racecourses on the circuit, 1-4 May.

Red Bull Sailing Team<br />Red Bull Sailing Team pushed their Extreme 40 to the limits, battling the elements on the final days racing (Photo © Lloyd Images)

Red Bull Sailing Team
Red Bull Sailing Team pushed their Extreme 40 to the limits, battling the elements on the final days racing (Photo © Lloyd Images)

Extreme Sailing Series™ 2014 Act 2, Muscat standings after Day 4, 29 races (22.03.14)
Position / Team / Points
1st The Wave, Muscat (OMA) Leigh McMillan, Sarah Ayton, Pete Greenhalgh, Kinley Fowler, Nasser Al Mashari 188 points.
2nd Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL) Dean Barker, Glenn Ashby, James Dagg, Jeremy Lomas, Edwin Delaat 180 points.
3rd Alinghi (SUI) Morgan Larson, Anna Tunnicliffe, Pierre-Yves Jorand, Nils Frei, Yves Detrey 179 points.
4th SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN) Jes Gram-Hansen, Rasmus Køstner, Thierry Douillard, Peter Wibroe, Nicolai Sehested 176 points.
5th Gazprom Team Russia (RUS) Igor Lisovenko, Paul Campbell-James, Alister Richardson, Pete Cumming, Aleksey Kulakov 158 points.
6th Realteam by Realstone (SUI) Jérôme Clerc, Arnaud Psarofaghis, Bryan Mettraux, Thierry Wassem, Nils Palmieri 153 points.
7th Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) Roman Hagara, Hans-Peter Steinacher, Mark Bulkeley, Nick Blackman, Stewart Dodson 145 points.
8th Groupama sailing team (FRA) Franck Cammas, Sophie de Turckheim, Tanguy Cariou, Thierry Fouchier, Devan Le Bihan 144 points.
9th J.P. Morgan BAR (GBR) Ben Ainslie, Nick Hutton, Paul Goodison, Pippa Wilson, Matt Cornwell 137 points.
10th Oman Air (OMA) Rob Greenhalgh, Tom Johnson, Will Howden, Hashim Al Rashdi, Musab Al Hadi 123 points.
11th GAC Pindar (AUS) Seve Jarvin, Troy Tindill, Ed Smyth, Sam Newton, David Gilmour 94 points.

Extreme Sailing Series™ 2014 overall standings
Position / Team / Points
1st The Wave, Muscat (OMA) 19 points.
2nd Alinghi (SUI) 18 points.
3rd Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL) 16 points.
4th Realteam by Realstone (SUI) 13 points.
5th Groupama sailing team (FRA) 9 points.
6th Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) 9 points.
7th Gazprom Team Russia (RUS) 9 points.
8th SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN) 8 points.
9th J.P. Morgan BAR (GBR) 6 points.
10th Oman Air (OMA) 3 points.
11th GAC Pindar (AUS) 2 points.

The Wave, Muscat<br />The Wave, Muscat celebrate their victory on their home waters (Photo by Lloyd Images)

The Wave, Muscat
The Wave, Muscat celebrate their victory on their home waters (Photo by Lloyd Images)

Realteam in Muscat, Act 1 Extreme Sailing Series 2013 - © Lloyd Images/Extreme Sailing Series

Realteam in Muscat, Act 1 Extreme Sailing Series 2013 – © Lloyd Images/Extreme Sailing Series

 

Tomorrow, the Swiss sailing squad onboard Realteam will line up against some of the best sailors in the world for Act 2 of the Extreme Sailing Series. After posting a third place overall in Singapore, the crew is ambitious but more aware than ever of the high level of competition that awaits them.

Muscat, Oman – 18 March 2014 Just a month after posting an impressive third place overall at Act 1 of the Extreme Sailing Series in Singapore, the Realteam crew is going into Act 2 in Muscat, Oman (19-22 March) feeling confident and highly motivated.

Eight out of 12 teams won at least one race during the Singapore event, illustrating how high the level is as Jerome Clerc explains: “The standard of the other teams is going to increase compared to Singapore. With one round behind them, the big teams are going to show their strengths and we will need to remain consistent and progress with them in order to stay competitive,” he said. “We have a long way to go still and are constantly looking for ways to improve our performance!”

Repairs on the Realteam catamaran, powered by Realstone, following a collision with Oman Air in Singapore, are complete and the team is looking forward to racing a new venue in Muscat, Oman and a slightly different format. Racing off the Almouj Golf club will be “Open Water” instead of the usual “Stadium Racing” which translates as longer legs rather than the short course city centre competition conducted in Singapore. “The game will be much more open with this format with less restrictions,” said helmsman Arnaud Psarofaghis. “The key to success for Realteam will be communication, we will be looking to continue in the same vein as in Singapore. If we avoid the errors that we made during Act 1 we can set our sights on the podium!”

The first event was action packed with excitement and come backs, there were several collisions on Marina Bay but they were all eclipsed by the spectacular crash between Groupama and Aberdeen. The overall results went to the wire with the double points final race being the decider.

Anything can happen in Oman!

To follow the racing live, go to www.extremesailingseries.com
Realteam Act 2 Extreme Sailing Series crew
Arnaud Psarofaghis – helmsman
Jerome Clerc – skipper/mainsail trimmer
Bryan Mettraux – headsail trimmer
Thierry Wasem – bowman
Nils Palmieri – fifth man
Shore team: Jeff Kerleguer and Sebastien Stephant
Coach: Etienne David
Extreme Sailing Series 2014 ranking after Act 1
Alinghi (SUI) – 217 points
The Wave, Muscat (OMA) – 193 points
Realteam by Realstone (SUI) – 178 points
Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL) – 168 points
Groupama sailing team (FRA) – 160 points
Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) – 156 points
J.P. Morgan BAR (GBR) – 152 points
Gazprom Team Russia (RUS) – 128 points
Oman Air (OMA) – 128 points
SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN) – 126 points
Team Aberdeen Singapore (SIN) – 82 points
GAC Pindar (AUS) – 59 points

OMAN AIR MUSANDAM MOD70  Sidney Gavignet and Damian Foxall (Photo by Jean Marie Liot)

OMAN AIR MUSANDAM MOD70 Sidney Gavignet and Damian Foxall (Photo by Jean Marie Liot)

This transatlantic race for the MOD70s was characterised by a fast, relatively testing exit of the English Channel followed after the Bay of Biscay by a difficult passage of Cape Finisterre in big seas and building winds – which skipper Gavignet later described as the worst he had seen on a MOD70 –before escaping into the Portuguese Trade Winds allowed an initial break by Edmond de Rothschild.The two MOD70s closed up after the Doldrums and Oman Air – Musandam were less than 30 miles behind on Saturday night before they dropped off the back of the cold front there.

Sidney Gavignet and Damian Foxall arrive in Brazil to take second in the Transat Jacques Vabre by Jean-Marie Liot

Sidney Gavignet and Damian Foxall arrive in Brazil to take second in the Transat Jacques Vabre by Jean-Marie Liot

Damian Foxall, co-skipper Oman Air-Musandam: “I think that we made a few mistakes but Edmond de Rothschild made less. The most important thing for us when we finish an event like this is to say we have no regrets, and we have small sporting regrets, a couple of things we could have done a little bit better, but we crossed the finish line and feel very happy with the two weeks we have been at sea, Edmond de Rothschild deserved the win. It would have been nice to have been a little bit closer but we dropped off the back after coming out of the cold front off Cabo Frio, and we had a few little technical things which slowed us down, but to be in is awesome. I guess going around Finisterre we kind of overestimated the conditions, we maybe went a little bit into defensive mode, thinking long term, whereas we really needed to be pushing on then to stay with the strategic game, to go in the right direction and to get south fast. The further south you got, the faster you got there and that was right through into the following week. We dropped off the back of it there a bit. And the other tough moments were putting a lot of work into getting back up to the other guys and I think we were up to 20 miles behind and then we lost the hydraulics and the rake on the rig.

That was about 36 hours ago. One moment that was pretty tough as well was when the port autopilot failed, the display on the helm, and so when the guy was helming on port, the other guy could not sleep, you stayed in the cuddy and every time you needed to trim, you had to call the other guy and so when you were off, you were not off.

There were difficult periods, we realised after the third of fourth day when we started to recover, really how much we had put in over the first couple of days, it does not take much to throw you out of your watch schedule, you don’t realise that you are digging into the reserves a bit.

Obviously one of the objectives was to arrive here in good shape, we have managed to do that and now we are ready for Brazil. The main objective was get here in good shape and if we did that it means we managed the machine well.

Once again we realise how fantastic these boats are, they are very close one designs, and they are really reliable in terms of the structure, we have been doing over 30kts averages through many of the watches, and over 600 mile days, and we had probably a little bit of apprehension going into this event as to how we would manage this machine with two people. But we realised very quickly that we worked out systems that worked, it worked well under autopilot and there are ways to set up the boat so that you can have 100% performance most of the time. And we were really surprised by that. It is brilliant, fantastic.”

Sidney Gavignet, skipper of Oman Air – Musandam: “In sport you have a spectacle and these boats certainly give you that. They are exceptional. When we arrived we had brilliant weather and just wanted to carry on sailing, they are just brilliant racing machines and I hope that there will be more next time. The race is fantastic and I was watching the website and it is great to read about all the boats, the big and the small. It is a beautiful race. It is tough and now that we are on land I look back and am surprised at just how well we were able to adapt, now we are no longer scared and we learnt a lot.”

Long Lining
Meanwhile the two leading Multi 50s continue their duel down the Brazilian coast in steady E’ly trade winds on what is presently just a straightforward head to head boatspeed contest. They have no real strategic options ahead until Cabo Frio at the entrance to the Bay of Rio. They should pass the entrance to Salvador de Bahia today in just a little over 12 days which will stand up well against the 2005 mark set by Franck Yves Escoffier of 12 days and 6 hours 14 minutes.

FenêtréA Cardinal (Le Roux-Elies) and Actual (Le Blévec-de Pavant) remain in close contact with some 25 miles separating this closely matched leading duo.

It is one long straight for the IMOCA Open 60 monohulls, the leaders having crossed the Equator last night. Just as the feedback from the pre-race training sessions for the Famous Five at Port La Foret indicated, it seems MACIF find a sweet spot at times and are simply quicker. From being a matter of half a mile to a mile away from PRB (Riou-Le Cam) yesterday Francois Gabart and Michel Desjoyeaux have been able to climb steadily away in the trade winds, opening the gap to over 12 miles this morning, the Vendée Globe winning duo sailing almost a knot faster than Riou and Le Cam as they passed the Fernando de Noronha island group. Presently they are just around one day behind the leading Multi 50s. As their SEly trade winds back E then they should accelerate still further away from the boats behind them.

Italian Vendée Globe skipper Alessandro de Benedetto was on typically excellent form when he spoke to Race HQ in Itajaí from his trusty Team Plastique. He and his co-skipper Alberto de Monaco are enjoying their race against their friends on Energa and Initiative Coeur.

It is a sunny day and we are taking the advantage to be at the helm all the time, to exploit our capacity to sail faster than the autopilot. Energa are a faster boat and it is difficult to keep them behind us, Magic and Gutek are faster, and so is Initiatives Couer. So we are really taking this chance to always be at the helm and push. It will not be easy to stay ahead of them, but we will try and do out best.

The Polish duo Magic and Gutek on Energa were tidying up after an encounter with an unspecified sea mammal or big fish, lying just five miles behind the Italians on Team Plastique. Gutek reported:

After our collision with a with UFO we seem to be all OK after our keel inspection. We washed out all the blood from cockpit. After an inspection with the GoPro we’re sure the keel is OK, no traces of yesterday’s collision. Huge relief… Fish are flying like crazy, but only at night. Temperature – hot!!! Very hot! We wish we’d like some good lightwind sails, but for now we need to go with what we have.

In Class 40 Jorg Riechers and Pierre Brasseur on second placed Mare are waiting for the Doldrums for their chance to pounce on long time leaders GDF SUEZ, sailed by Sébastien Rogues and Fabien Delahaye.

Everything is good on board, we are in good shape and the wind is building, we should catch up some miles on GDF SUEZ soon. I still have some pain in my back with the bruising I got when I fell during the first night out from Roscoff. It will pass.” Riechers said today.

“And looking at the Doldrums we can certainly see an option. We have an idea of what we are going to do but we are not saying what.”

Class40 ‘ are still in the NE’ly trade winds passed or passing the Cape Verde islands, most at least 80 miles to the west. Only Phoenix (Duke – Alran) passed through the islands without losing out too much. But now the target seems to be 29 ° W for the most favourable passage which is good for those in the west but those to the east will have to run deeper and slower or maybe make two gybes to get down. So that is the choice for the chasing pack but the leaders seem to have it taped,

Philippe Legros, co -skipper Cheminees Poujoulat: “Congratulations to the MOD70s. They were fast. I sailed with Roland Jourdain at first and they are really fantastic boats. I congratulate them for their performance. Our boat is going well but we are bit down after the Doldrums option which sees us feeling it now, trying to pick up the pieces, to keep getting the rankings and be going backwards, but we are happy to be here and keep attacking. In front of us there is a long, straight line of 1000 miles but after that there is a Cabo Frio where there might be some options, a few potholes perhaps and after that still three or four hundred miles of coast. The Multi 50s have chosen to stay near the coast, but the weather files change , it is not really clear whether it will be as good an option for us when we get there. The gap to MACIF? Well I’d love to say that we can catch up, but in fact we are not really seeing it as possible right now. But nothing is wrong with the boat, it works perfectly, and so there is no reason not to continue to push very hard.”

Sounds in English:

Brian Thompson (Caterham Challenge)
http://www.transat-jacques-vabre.com/sites/default/files/audio/son/brianthompson_catheramchallenge_20131119.mp3

Alessandro Di Benedetto (Team Plastique)
http://www.transat-jacques-vabre.com/sites/default/files/audio/son/alessandrodibenedetto_teamplastique_20131119_uk.mp3

Michelle Zwagerman (Croix du Sud)
http://www.transat-jacques-vabre.com/sites/default/files/audio/son/michellezwagerman_croixdusud_20131119_0.mp3

 

See latest postions for the fleets:
http://www.transat-jacques-vabre.com/fr/classement
2011 Title Defenders
Monohull 60′:
Virbac-Paprec
Jean-Pierre DICK & Jérémie BEYOU
15days 18h 15min 54sec
Multihull 50′:
Actual
Yves LE BLEVEC & Samuel MANUARD
17days 17h 7min 43sec

Class 40′:
Aquarelle.com
Yannick BESTAVEN
& Éric DROUGLAZET
21days 17h 59min 8sec

Follow the race:
Internet
Live tracking updated every 30 minutes.
Race Tracker URL: http://tracking.transat-jacques-vabre.com/en/

Sidney Gavignet (FRA) and Damian Foxall (IRL) on the MOD70 Oman Air – Musandam crossed the finish line of the Transat Jacques Vabre finish line off Itajai, Brasil at 20h 04m 09 sec local time (22h 04m 09 secs) 5 hrs and 15 seconds after the winner Edmond de Rothschild (Sébastien Josse and Charles Caudrelier). The duo took 11 days 10 hours 04mins and 09 seconds to complete the 5,450 miles (theoretical course) between Le Havre and Itajaí, at an average speed of 19.71 kts. They actually sailed 5968 miles at an average of 21.77 kts.
Oman Air- Musandam

Oman Air- Musandam

Sidney Gavignet (FRA) with co skipper Damian Foxall

The Transat Jaques Vabre 2013. Le Havre – Itajai, Brazil The Oman Air Musandam MOD70 skipper Sidney Gavignet (FRA) with co skipper Damian Foxall (IRL). Shown here in the race village prior to the race start. (Photo by Mark Lloyd / Lloyd Images

Gale force winds sweeping in from the Atlantic over the weekend in Le Havre have forced the race committee to postpone the start of the 11th edition of the Transat Jacques Vabre. Initially scheduled for Sunday 3 November, the start will now be on Monday at 14:15 CET for the IMOCA 60, Class 40 and Multi 50 fleets.

The Transat Jaques Vabre 2013 Oman Air - Musandam by Mark Lloyd

The Transat Jaques Vabre 2013. Le Havre – Itajai, Brazil Pictures of the Oman Air Musandam MOD70 skippered by Sidney Gavignet (FRA) with co skipper Damian Foxall (IRL). Shown here in the race village prior to the race start. (Photo by Mark Lloyd / Lloyd Images)

Oman Air-Musandam will line up with fellow MOD70 Edmond de Rothschild for a 20 nautical mile prologue on Monday starting from the northern-most point of the race start line and racing up the coast and back, before returning to the dock in Le Havre to wait for their official start, currently planned for Wednesday 6 November.

The prologue results will define the starting time on Wednesday, so winning will be important, but as Oman Air-Musandam’s French skipper Sidney Gavignet pointed out: “Most importantly, the idea for the prologue is not to make a mistake and break something before the start of the race. We want to sail clean and simple and I think Edmond de Rothschild is on the same page as us.”

Co skipper onboard, Damian Foxall, Ireland’s most celebrated offshore sailor and recent winner of the Volvo Ocean Race onboard Groupama, explained the weather situation that has prompted the race committee’s decision: “We are into a typical November situation with intense lows following each other across the Atlantic and bringing a lot of wind to the North of France, the Bay of Biscay and the race course area. The tidal current is very strong as well, so for six hours twice a day we have wind over tide, which really makes the sea state very difficult and dangerous.

“For the race committee it is a case of finding the least dangerous and difficult window to get the fleet off safely. The start will be upwind and bouncy – there is a really big sea out there and it is really a case of finding the safest moment. The goal of trying to finish all the classes together is really out of the window now, the main thing is to get everyone started safely,” he added.

Looking forward to Wednesday’s MOD70 start, Sidney Gavignet said: “It is going to be very hard for the whole Transat Jacques Vabre fleet until we reach Finisterre – Biscay is very rough with a 4-5metre swell. We will have a strong upwind start to the race, but the committee is open to delaying more if necessary. The conditions at this time of the year are constantly changing and evolving. Their decision to delay is a good one.”

In the meantime, the Oman Air-Musandam duo is looking forward to getting cold and wet again on Monday: “We went out last Tuesday to sail the area a bit and to stay fresh and sharp and we are looking forward to going out again on Monday. We have been sitting around for a week so it is time to get back out there and stay fresh!” said Foxall.

News ashore for the Sultanate of Oman’s Ministry of Tourism “DISCOVER OMAN” exhibition is excellent with thousands of people passing through to sample the traditional coffee and dates on offer and to watch the henna artist in action. “In just one day last week, 1,000 people entered the Visit Oman competition. The numbers of people we are seeing at our exhibition has exceeded all our expectations. We are very excited by the favourable reaction of the French public. This is a very important tourism market for the Sultanate of Oman,” said Salma Al Hashmi, marketing and communications director for Oman Sail.

Oman Air-Musandam team for the Transat Jacques Vabre 2013

Oman Flag and the Oman Air Crew onboard MOD70 Oman Air-Musandam

Oman Flag and the Oman Air Crew onboard MOD70 Oman Air-Musandam (Photo by Mark Lloyd / Lloyd Images)

Sidney Gavignet (FRA) skipper

Sidney is one of the most highly respected French offshore sailors with multiple Volvo Ocean Race and America’s Cup campaigns to his name, including a VOR win in 2005-06 onboard ABN AMRO. He joined the Oman Sail project in 2010 as skipper of the 105ft trimaran, Oman Air-Majan, on which he broke the Round Britain and Ireland record. In 2011 he joined the Oman Air Extreme 40 team before switching his focus to the MOD70 project for 2012. He led the team for the 2012 MOD70 European Tour and returned as skipper in 2013. With 20 transatlantics, of which three were double-handed, four round the worlds, two Solitaire du Figaro races, one transatlantic record and a Volvo Ocean Race win, he brings much experience to the team.

Sidney Gavignet bio

m8996_sg-bio

Damian Foxall (IRL) co skipper

Damian is one of the world’s greatest offshore sailors and Ireland’s most accomplished yachtsman. He is a Volvo Ocean Race veteran in his own right with four campaigns behind him, including the recent Groupama victory in 2011-12.

He won the Barcelona World Race in 2007-08, raced with the K-Challenge America’s Cup team in 2004. With 30 years of ocean and dinghy racing experience, 350,000 nautical miles, 18 transatlantics and nine round the world events to date he makes a solid co skipper on the Oman Air-Musandam team.

m8997_damian-foxall-bio

 

Oman Air - Musandam by Mark Lloyd

The Transat Jaques Vabre 2013 Oman Air – Musandam by Mark Lloyd / Lloyd Images