Muscat: Oman Sail’s Diam 24 team has continued its impressive run of form with a third place finish at the Grand Prix Guyader event in Douarnenez, France.
Thierry Douillard’s crew posted three wins on their way to a podium place among the highly-competitive 31-strong trimaran fleet.
The speed of the Oman Sail boat during the inshore races was impressive, as was their recovery during the long, offshore race which concluded the event. Light and patchy conditions consigned the team to the back of the fleet. But some determined sailing saw them claw their way.
“We had another good week,” said Douillard. “In the stadium racing we had a pretty solid day – we won three races and took a third, so we were leading our group. There was a strong breeze and we made some adjustments and were really happy with our speed.
“Then we had a tricky coastal race. There was no wind at first and when it came in from absolutely nowhere the group on the left got a massive lead. But we recovered well and took an eighth place. We cannot say it was a good result but the way we got back in the game was very positive,” he added.
Following victory in the season opening Grand Prix Atlantique event in Pornichet and a battling fifth place at the Spi Ouest France regatta, the GP Guyader result is a further positive step towards the ultimate goal of success in the high-profile Tour de France a la Voile in July.
After a fifth place in the French classic last year, Douillard is now aiming for a podium. Back on the helm is British Olympic sailor Stevie Morrison, with former match racing world champion and fellow Frenchman Mathieu Richard on navigation and tactics. Talented Omani sailors Ali Al Balushi and Abdulhaman Al Mashari completed the line-up in Douarnenez.
At the same time the Diam 24 development squad, which has trained and raced alongside Douillard’s team, secured a solid 20th place in the fleet, with two top-10 places. Led by French racer Cedric Pouligny, and featuring Omani sailors Yasser Al Rhabi, Raad Al Hadi, Akram Al Wuhaibi and Haitham Al Wuhaibi, the squad is showing continual progress.
Meanwhile, Oman Sail’s new Class 40 pairing of Sidney Gavignet and Fahad Al Hasni are overseeing repairs to their boat in Lorient after a dismasting during the first race at GP Guyader. Repairs permitting, the next chapter in the new Oman Sail initiative is planned to continue with the 2,500-mile Azores-and-back Les Sables-Horta Race in July, followed by the legendary Rolex Fastnet Race in August.
The Class 40 campaign marks the latest instalment in a six year relationship between Gavignet, a long-term partner in the pioneering Oman Sail national project, and his highly successful protégé Fahad Al Hasni, the duo having also raced together as part of the record-breaking MOD70 Musandam-Oman Sail trimaran crew.
Team A crew members:
1. Thierry Douillard
2. Stevie Morrison
3. Abdulrahman Al Mashari
4. Ali Al Balushi
5. Mathieu Richard
Team B crew members:
1. Cedric Pouligny
2. Yasser Al Rahbi
3. Akram Al Wuhaibi
4. Raad Al Hadi
5. Haitham Al Wuhaibi