Friday, 14 January 2011

Sailing Arabia - The Tour of the Gulf, starts 30th January 2011

Oman Sail's Renaisaance, a Farr 30, competing in the Tour de France à la Voile 2010. Image copyright JMLiot/Tour de France à la Voile.

by Oman Sail Media Team

On the morning of Sunday 30th January six boats will depart Manama, Bahrain to race to Muscat, Oman. It will mark the start of the inaugural Sailing Arabia–The Tour, a new race for the region.

Organised by Oman Sail, the race will bring together several Gulf countries with sailors being represented from each of them. After starting in Amwaj Marina in Manama, the teams will race to The Pearl Marina in Doha before crossing to Abu Dhabi. After a short rest the teams will sail along the coast of the UAE to Al Hamra Marina in Ras Al Khaimah. From here they will race further towards Musandam where they will round the tip of Oman and into Zighy Bay Six-Senses near Khasab. The final run will see them stop in Musannah Marina ahead of a short sprint down to the finish at The Wave, Muscat. The whole race will take 14 days with sailors sleeping onboard on several legs as they sail through the night without stopping.

Oman Sail's Farr 30s. Image copyright Mark Lloyd/Lloyd Images/Oman Sail.

The Concept is simple - to bring Gulf States together in a race around the Arabian Peninsula. Along the way the race will promote one of the region’s fastest growing sports, showcase commercial opportunities in sponsorship engagement and encourage the development of this region as an international stage to host high profile sporting events. Sailing Arabia-The Tour will join sailing events such as the Volvo Ocean Race, the Extreme Sailing Series and the Indian Ocean 5 Capes race as well as the Asian Beach Games and the upcoming FIFA World Cup.

Nouvelle-Caledonie, the eventual winner, and others competing in the Tour de France à la Voile 2010. She will also compete in Sailing Arabia - the Tour of the Gulf 2011. Image copyright JMLiot/Tour de France à la Voile.

Based loosely on the demanding and internationally renowned Tour de France à la Voile, held annually in France, Sailing Arabia-The Tour will be a true test of sailor’s skills. Raced on the same one-design boats as the Tour de France à la Voile, sailors will not only have to race offshore overnight, but they will also have to do short, fast races in stopover venues close to shore for the public to watch.

Oman Sail's Farr 30s. Image copyright Mark Lloyd/Lloyd Images/Oman Sail.

Many of the sailors competing have a lot of experience behind them with sailors such as Mohsin Al Busaidi, the first Arab to sail around the world, Ahmed al Ma’amari and Abdullah Al Busaidi, both around the world sailors, and Saleh Al Jabri, Chief Instructor at Oman Sailing School and former Captain of the Jewel of Muscat. ‘We this event we are really seeing a group of sailors who have worked hard to be able to compete in an event such as this.’ Saleh said after training at the Wave, Muscat. ‘The competition will be tough, with the winners of the Tour de France à la Voile taking part as well as the team from Bahrain, GAC Team Pindar, we will have to work hard form beginning to end. Bring it on- we’re ready!’

Oman Sail's Farr 30s. Image copyright Mark Lloyd/Lloyd Images/Oman Sail.

Sailing Arabia-The Tour will also give massive opportunities for sponsors to engage with a totally new demographic in the region and give business platforms at venues along the way. The first tour has already attracted interest from financial, logistics and lifestyle companies who all see potential in involvement. A trifecta of banks has also taken the unique sponsor created by an event which involves and unites the region. These banks are represented at three of the stops Commercial Bank in Qatar, United Arab Bank in the UAE and National Bank of Oman for the three Oman stops in the Tour. GAC Logistics are sponsoring one of the competing boats as well as coming onboard as the official shipping and logistics partner. Art Marine will use its Pan-Gulf network to leverage the event as a race support partner.

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