Muscat: Musandam-Oman Sail's ambitious summer season got off to an encouraging start with a victory over MOD70 rival Team Concise in Britain’s 2016 Myth of Malham following a close fought contest.
At the finish line in Cowes, just 12 minutes separated the two high speed trimarans despite some testing light airs that ruled out any sustained pace, with Sidney Gavignet’s highly-rated crew of Damian Foxall and navigator Jean Luc Nelias, Fahad Al Hasni, Sami Al Shukaili and Yassir Al Rahbi posting a time of 20 hours and 53 minutes.
Before the 256nms race from Cowes to the Eddystone Lighthouse and back, Gavignet was keen to see the team step up their performance from training mode to achieve a good result. Their win, he said at the finish, had been earned as a result of good teamwork and solid concentration.
“The Myth of Malham is now ticked off. All our plans were well executed by the team, we made very few mistakes and our focus was good. It has been a pleasure achieving the win by doing a good job together,” Gavignet said.
“We need the whole crew to be 100 percent focussed and that means thinking about racing from the minute they get on the plane to travel to the race until the moment they cross the finish line.
“We treated this as a world championship because we need to aim high and maintain our intensity to the end, with victory as our driving force.
“I hope Fahad and the boys will manage to keep the intensity up for their J80 regatta which starts in the coming days,” he said.
The next stop in the Oman Sail programme is 2016 Normandy Sailing Week in Le Havre, France, where Oman Sail’s J80 men’s team of Fahad, Sami, Yassir and Raad Al Hadi, will be one of three Omani crews in contention over three days of competition from June 3.
Also in action are Oman’s J80 Ladies team, led by Dee Caffari with Anne-Mieke Bes, Ibtisam Al Salmi, Tamathir Al Balushi and Marwa Al Khaifi aiming to improve on their superb 2015 performance where they finished 8th from a field of 32 entries.
The third team to be flying the flag for Oman Sail in France are the Diam 24 crew on Oman Airports by Oman Sail who will use Normandy Sail Week as the fourth event in their preparations for the Tour de France a la Voile in July.
Ali Al Balushi, Abdulrahman Al Mashari, Pierre Leboucher and co-skippers Stevie Morrison and Thierry Douillard have been competing in northern France since the end of March with results steadily improving and the opportunity in Le Havre offers another chance to get up to speed in the class before they make their TDFV debut on July 8.