Oman’s sailors are doing us proud, with two teams currently placed second and third for one of the yachting world’s top prizes.
It’s been a thrilling race across the challenging Arabian Gulf for the fleet of yachts competing in this year’s EFG Sailing Arabia – The Tour 2017.
After setting sail from Al Mouj Muscat on February 13 in the 763-nautical-mile race, the eight skippers and their crews headed to picturesque Sohar on the first leg of the challenge, followed by Khasab in Musandam, Doha in Qatar and Abu Dhabi in the UAE. The final and longest leg of the race ends at the Palm Jumeirah in Dubai. The only annual sailing event in the world to offer a combination of inshore and offshore racing, the EFG Sailing Arabia – The Tour 2017 has been organised by Oman Sail since its launch in 2011.
Speaking at the start of the race last month, Nasser bin Masoud al Sheibani, the chief executive of Al Mouj Muscat, says the race is a great opportunity to showcase the tourism potential of Oman.
“While the mix of professional, amateur sailors and crew participating in the race from across the globe have been spreading the good word about Oman, the international media coverage has always been complimentary.
“The route makes it possible for sailors to discover Oman’s natural beauty during the race.”
With the race ending this week, it’s been a closely matched battle on the high seas, with just four points separating tour leader and reigning champion EFG Bank Monaco from Team Al Mouj Muscat. The battle for third place is expected to be just as thrilling, with Oman’s Team Renaissance edging Kuwait’s Team Zain by only 4.25 points.
“With Team Zain so close to us, we need to make sure they stay behind us,” Team Renaissance skipper Fahad al Hasni said on Sunday as the yachts were about leave for the final leg to Dubai from The Pearl-Qatar.
Meanwhile, Team Al Mouj Muscat crew member Sultan al Balushi said: “We are really proud about where we are but it’s not over yet. People keep telling us that second is a good place to be but we believe we can be first and that’s what we’re going to fight for.”
Good luck to Team Al Mouj Muscat and Team Renaissance!
Photo Credits: Oman Sail
*As of February 27
1. EFG Bank Monaco
Skipper: Thierry Douillard
2. Team Al Mouj Muscat
Skipper: Christian Ponthieu
3. Team Renaissance
Fahad al Hasni
4. Team Zain
Skipper: Cedric Pouligny
5. Team Averda
Country: Great Britain
Skipper: Andrew Baker
6. Adelasia di Torres
Skipper: Renato Azara
7. Bienne Voile
Skipper: Lorenz Mueller
8. DB Schenker
Skipper: Annemeike Bes