Oman Sail’s crew on the Sultanate of Oman’s giant trimaran Musandam-Oman Sail are determined to fly the flag for Oman in the Royal Ocean Racing Club’s classic Volvo Round Ireland Yacht Race by beating the two other Multi70s and defending their Round Ireland world record.
When the race starts in Wicklow on Saturday, Sidney Gavignet’s team will have their sights on defeating Phaedo 3 and Concise 10, the two other 70 foot trimarans competing for honours. Despite a win over Team Concise in the recent Myth of Malham Race, they will have to pull out all the stops to achieve their aim, according to Gavignet, but after some intensive preparations, they were savoring the opportunity to compete.
“We see this as the most important race of our season,” said skipper Gavignet who will share helming duties with Omani Fahad Al Hasni and Irish offshore heavyweight Damian Foxall over the two to three-day challenge.
“We do not know how we will get on against the other two but we really want to finish ahead of them both! They have done a lot of sailing this year and from the Myth of Malham, I’d say that Team Concise are sharp and we understand that Phaedo has had a complete refit with new 3D sails.
“But we know from when we set a new Round Ireland world record last year that this is a difficult course.
“We want to retain that record because achieving it meant so much to us and we were very happy to hear that the Round Ireland race has attracted the largest ever entry this year with teams motivated to beat our record. It feels like there’s been a renewal which makes us even more determined to win.”
The 704nm race clockwise round the Emerald Isle, as it is known, is a mix of coastal and offshore challenges so French navigator Jean Luc Nelias will have his work cut out while everyone is prepared for heavy weather along the way.
“Ideally it will not be too bad on the west coast – we do not want to be hammered by a massive low,” said Al Hasni.
“And if we could pick a breeze, we would go for fast reaching conditions because we are difficult to beat in that mode. We have good boat speed on Musandam-Oman Sail and a good crew especially with Sidney and Damian who seem to be able to put on extra knots!”
Gavignet will leave it until Friday when the team assembles in Wicklow for final training to announce his six strong crew for the race but his options will include debutant Raad Al Hadi, the 95kg powerhouse known as ‘Thunder’, after he participates in delivering Musandam-Oman Sail from Lorient to Wicklow.
Also available are Yasser Al Rahbi and Sami Al Shukaili who were on board for the record-breaking voyage in 2015 when Musandam-Oman Sail smashed the Round Ireland record completing the course in 40 hours, 51 minutes and 57 seconds, slicing four hours off a record that had stood for 22 years.
All have been in France competing in the J80 class at Normandy Race Week which has helped with refining boat handling skills and building on a strong team spirit in preparation for the Round Ireland Race and also for the 2016 Transat Quebec-St Malo race across the Atlantic in July.
by Oman Sail today