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Musandam-Oman Sail creates a strong platform for the future development of Omani men and women
The crew of Musandam-Oman Sail came together just 30 days before the start of the Multi One Championship for MOD70s in July but after a learning curve scaling more than 13,000 racing miles, they have set out their stall for the future.
This was a job well done, said skipper Sidney Gavignet of their epic contest which started in New York with the KRYS Ocean Race across the Atlantic in July and finished in Genoa with a fourth place in the demanding MOD70 European Tour 2012.
“Our goal was to be in the mix, to be competitive and clearly we achieved that,” he said.
“We wanted to win one race here, one race there which we did. Some boats didn’t win either a race or a leg so we have played a big role in this event.”
The Musandam-Oman Sail crew, comprising a mix of Omanis and sailors from across Europe, were up against the most accomplished offshore professionals in the world but at the same time, steeped in Oman Sail’s innovative development programme, one of the most ambitious training programmes in sailing.
They swept to victory in the Cascais City Races, part of a series of short but thrilling exhibition races staged at each venue, and took a resounding win in Leg 4 from Cascais to Marseille where tactics and concentration counted for everything.
Improvements made from the start had been solid and significant, Gavignet said.
“If ten out of ten is a strong winning team, we would have been a four at the start. At the end I think we are a six. To go from 0-5 is easy then from 5-6 is more difficult and it gets more and more difficult after that. Our aim of course is to be ten.
“I am very happy about the progress we made, technically and as a team. We wanted to be on the podium and we didn’t quite do that but maybe if we had, the goals we’d set might have been wrong.
Gavignet was full of praise for his Omani crew Fahad Al Hasni, Mohsin Al Busaidi and Khamis Al Anbouri who were quick to learn and happy to help.
“Fahad is not the complete article yet but his attitude is superb,” he said.
“He is very happy to be on board and has made big progress in helming and trimming. He has a lot to learn but he is someone who in a couple of years could win selection with any of these top-flight teams if he keeps on learning.
“Khamis has also shown great spirit – he has not been given the easiest time and has battled with sea sickness. I remember seeing his eyes when we first reached 30 knots – he was like a rabbit in the headlights. But when he did the leg with us, I could see he was giving his best and that is so important.
“It is important because these guys have been given an unbelievable opportunity and they realise that. These boats are amazing and the guys are getting to sail them very early in their careers.”
Al Anbouri has only been a professional sailor for three years but his MOD70 experience on top of his Extreme 40 successes have placed him at the forefront of Oman Sail’s campaign to develop young Omani men and women through the sport of sailing.
“We can see the amount of progress we have made over the past three months and how the other teams became wary of us,” he said.
“Next time, we will do much better because we can build on the progress we made in this event.
“I feel very proud and happy to be part of this programme. I’m so grateful to Oman Sail for giving us the opportunity to race on this amazing boat – I feel really lucky.
“We have showed that if you work hard you can win. In the end, we came fourth but the difference between us and third place was very small which makes us hopeful for the future.”
After racing their final two races of the season for the Yacht Club Italiano Trophy in Genoa at the final stopover of the European Tour, Musandam-Oman Sail returns to Lorient for a refit.
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