- Oman Sail
Oman Sail is an exciting new initiative whose aim is to rekindle Oman's long and glorious maritime heritage. The structure, which was formed in 2008, operates with the support and guidance of the Ministry of Tourism and is achieving the aims of its charter through a carefully considered strategy, with plans that extend many years into the future.
In 2008 Oman burst onto the global sailing scene by announcing an Extreme 40 team competing in the second edition of the hugely successful iShares Cup. Crewed by World and Olympic champions, 'Masirah', as the boat was named, featured a specially chosen Omani sailor during each race. As well as promoting Oman as a premiere tourist destination to the high end demographic which sailing attracts, the series gave the budding Omani sailors real time experience at the highest level of sailing. With events in France, Germany, Italy, Britain and Holland, the Oman Sail team came a very credible fourth overall after such talented teams as Alinghi, BT and Team Origin. The 2009 iShares Cup sees Oman being the only team turning out 2 boats, one of which will be purely Oman branded and the second which will be representing Oman under various sponsors. The Oman boat 'Masirah' will again be skippered by Pete Cumming and helmed by Chris Draper. The second boat will be skippered and helmed by Loick Peyron, the French legend of sailing who recently returned from a Vendee challenge.
First Arab Around the World
As part of a wider project to help reignite Oman’s maritime heritage and inspire youngsters to take up sailing, Mohsin Al Busaidi left Muscat, Oman on an attempt to sail non-stop around the world on January 8 2009. 76 days later on 25 March 2009, the Sultanate of Oman welcomed him home as a hero as Mohsin entered the history books as the first Arab to sail non-stop around the world.
Musandam sailed over 24,000 nautical miles (44,000 km) during which Mohsin sailed deep into the harsh and hostile Southern Ocean as he passed the legendary capes of Cape Leeuwin, Cape Horn and the Cape of Good Hope. Since the start day on 8 January, 2009 the crew have endured storms, freezing conditions, a diet of only freeze-dried food and, unless it rained, no showers and the tiny cramped conditions of a racing multihull.
Up until 15 years ago, no one had ever completed a non-stop round the world journey onboard a racing multihull and still today it remains one of the hardest challenges a sailor can ever dream of tackling.
Start/finish: Muscat, Oman Boat: Musandam 75-foot (23 m) trimaran Distance: 24,287 nautical miles (44,980 km) Average speed over ground: 13.3 knots (24.6 km/h) Total journey length: 76 days, 1 hour, 12 minutes, 42 seconds Crew: Loik Gallon (Skipper) FRA, Thierry Duprey Du Vorsent FRA, Charles Darbyshire GBR, Nick Houchin GBR and Mohsin Al Busaidi OMA.
Arabian 100' Trimaran, Oman Sail's new flagship multihull
Currently being built in Australia and destined to be the first ever modern ocean racing boat to be assembled in the Middle-East, the first Arabian 100' trimaran will, when she hits the water in the winter of 2009, become part of a select group of the longest sailing trimarans ever built! She will join the Oman Sail Racing Team fleet as the largest sailing boat to be based in Middle-East region and, along with Musandam (ex-B&Q), form the embryo of a fleet of ocean racing boats based in the Arabian Peninsula. As announced recently, Musandam plans to depart for her first big ocean challenge in the new colours of Oman Sail on January 8 - aiming to get the first ever Omani around the world. The heart of Oman Sail is about getting Omanis out on the water, from beginners through the Oman Sail Academy to the highest level of ocean competition, and the new Arabian 100 trimaran will provide the team with unrivalled capacity to develop ocean racing in the Gulf and Indian Ocean. This new Oman Sail flagship has been conceived as the first member of a new One Design class (identical boats), rather than a one off boat. On purpose, Oman Sail has not opted to simply build a bigger and better boat, with records like the Jules Verne in mind, instead the new Arabian 100 will provide a challenging and exciting platform very suitable to the often lighter wind conditions in the region as well as the storms of the Southern Ocean and within reach of the sailing capabilities of the developing Oman Sail team in the coming years. If, as it is hoped, the Arabian 100 becomes the Class of choice for other developing sailing teams in the region, thereby avoiding the arms race seen in other big unlimited multihull classes, the One Design aspect will create close combat racing, whilst remaining in a context of controlled costs.
Proud heir of the Musandam world-record breaking trimaran, the Arabian 100' is an already proven concept, developed by multihull experts Nigel Irens (UK) and Benoît Cabaret (FRA). Oman's new flagship is a direct development of Francis Joyon's IDEC, round-the-world record holder and sistership to Thomas Coville's Sodeb'O, currently attempting to break IDEC's reference time, and new holder of the solo 24-hour record, both also designed by the Irens/Cabaret partnership. The Arabian 100' will differ from her counterparts, in terms of deck and interior layouts, since unlike the French trimarans she has been adapted to be raced by a full crew of up to five. When working on the blueprint of this new speed machine, the designers took Dame Ellen MacArthur's B&Q (now Musandam) as a reference and adjusted the general balance given the increased proportions of just over 100 feet (32 m). Relying on a long central hull that extends beyond the lateral floats, the Arabian 100' is safe at high speeds in rough sea conditions - her massive bow prevents dangerous nose-dives whilst sailing downwind, and thus allows for high average speeds over long periods of time. The sail plan, the "engine" of the boat, has been carefully designed to remain manageable even in stormy conditions, and the mast is stepped rather far aft in order to take some pressure off the forward sections (again to prevent nose-diving). To add clearance, the crossbeams are high above the water, ensuring the boat will not sustain any damage by repeatedly hitting the crests of waves - a phenomenon which has been known to become a speed-reducing factor for many ocean-going multihulls. Capable of speeds in excess of 35 knots (65 km/h), this giant trimaran is clearly among the fastest ocean racers ever conceived, yet her programme will not include the classic European based records or solo races, being instead focused on the development of ocean racing in, and from, the Arabian peninsula region, and extending out along historical trading routes to Asia and Africa. At the head of the Indian Ocean and the gatekeeper of the entrance to the Gulf, Oman looks south to Antarctica, and east to India and Asia. These are the playgrounds for the ocean racing part of Oman Sail, and it is hoped in future, professional ocean racing in the Gulf region in general as other countries in the region take up the challenges that the new Arabian 100 Class offer. The first Arabian 100 should be sailing by the winter 2009, and the production has been implemented to allow the construction of further identical boats for 2010 if the challenge is taken up elsewhere.
The Arabian 100 in figures Length: 105 ft (32 m) Width: 54 ft (16 m) across its 3 hulls Mast height: 115 ft (35 m) Maximum sail area (approx): 5,920 square feet (550 m2)
Building the Arabian 100' - process and timeline Major elements (central hull, floats and crossbeams) being built by Boatspeed, Australia using their highly successful "Custom Preg" system. The spars will be constructed in New Zealand by Southern Spars and the winch system will be supplied by Harken Italy.
Assembly to take place in Salalah in the south of Oman from May 2009. The assembly facility will be promoting apprenticeship and encouraging the sharing of technical knowledge, while at the same time showcasing Oman's forward thinking and opportunities.
Launch date winter 2009 2010 and beyond, series of record passages and event development in the Middle-East and Asia.
Oman Sail Academy
To ensure the long term success of the Oman Sail project, it is imperative that a constant stream of new Omani sailors are given the opportunity to get on the water with the best instructors available. There are currently a batch of young Omani's doing Yachtmaster courses in the UK who will then come back to Oman to be the backbone of the academy. Oman has several thousand kilometres of unspoilt coastline which can be developed into centres for sail training. Muscat will see the first academy with recruitment already in the final stages.
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.