Muscat: Two Omani sailors are celebrating their success in one of the Mediterranean’s most prestigious and popular yacht races. Oman Sail yachtsmen Sami Al Shukaili and Mohammed Al Mujani were among the crew aboard DHL Adelasia Di Torres, which has won its class in the classic Giraglia Rolex Cup offshore race.
The two were invited to join the crew of the Italian yacht after meeting during Oman’s Sail flagship event EFG Sailing Arabia – The Tour (SATT) earlier this year.
In SATT, Arabia’s No. 1 offshore event, Adelasia Di Torres made their debut finishing in a respectable fifth place while Al Shukaili was a member of the Team Renaissance crew which finished second.
The 241-nautical mile Giraglia Rolex Cup saw a 209-strong fleet race from Saint-Tropez in France to Genoa, Italy, rounding the symbolic Giraglia rock and lighthouse off Corsica’s north coast as part of the course.
With light winds dominating the entire route, the Sardinia-based DHL Adelasia Di Torres took a little over 53 hours to complete the race, but still won its 50-strong class by over two hours on handicap corrected time.
“Mohammed and I have had an amazing time with the whole crew, and it is great to have been able to share in the success”, said Al Shukaili, a senior member of the Oman Sail programme which aims to promote Oman’s maritime heritage and create a generation of high achieving sailors.
“The co-operation between Sardinia and Oman has been very successful, everyone knew their role and understood each other. It has been a great opportunity for us to grow professionally.”
Just before the offshore classic the DHL Adelasia Di Torres crew had further success, coming second in a three-race inshore regatta in Saint-Tropez which was also part of the Giraglia Rolex Cup. The combined results gave them a clear win in their class in the overall event.
The success of the Italo-Omani combination could now see a further development of the sailing alliance in the future, according to skipper and owner Renato Azara.
“When we did well in the inshore races I thought a win in the offshore was possible. I would say that 95 per cent of our success was in having a great team. It was a perfect result, there is no better.
“Sami and Mohammed were fantastic and did a really good job, always with a smile on their faces, always looking around, always helping the crew out and keeping the boat going metre by metre. The chemistry is really great and I hope to sail with them, as well as other Oman Sail sailors, in the future. They are good people, and good sailors.”
And he added: “Sardinia can become a real destination for Omani sailors, and we would like to develop a great partnership with Oman Sail in the Mediterranean. This is only the start for us and we would like to do much more in the future.”
The Giraglia Cup race was first held in 1953 as a joint venture between the Yacht Club Italiano and Yacht Club de France, in part aimed at improving Franco-Italian relations following the Second World War. It has been known as the Giraglia Rolex Cup since 1997, this year marked its 35th edition.