Tuesday, 1 February 2011
Commercialbank Group skippered by Cedric Pouligny with Mohsin Al Busaidi shown crossing the line in the early hours of the morning in 2nd place. Image copyright Mark Lloyd/Lloyd Images/Oman Sail.
by Ingmar Jense
Team Commercialbank Group came second by only five minutes after 16 hours of racing.
Oman Sail’s Renaissance, skippered by Saleh Al Jabri, has taken a win in the first leg of Sailing Arabia-The Tour from Bahrain to Qatar. After almost 16 hours of racing through the night Saleh and his team finished 5 minutes ahead of the second placed Team Commercialbank Group. In third place was New Caledonia, the French team that won the Tour de France a la Voile in France in 2010. Following them was the third team from Oman, representing the Royal Navy of Oman. Team GAC Pindar and Team Ras Al Khaimah took fifth and sixth places respectively.
As the sun rose over Doha the teams entered The Pearl-Qatar to be greeted by friends, colleagues and commuters on their way to work and enjoying the distraction of the six boats coming in. The crews were very happy to be back on dry land and were looking forward to warm showers and dry clothes.
A jubilant Saleh Al Jabri was unsurprisingly elated, ‘“As an Omani I’m extremely proud that team Renaissance won the first leg of the inaugural Sailing Arabia – The Tour. My crew is predominantly young Omanis who are developing into professional offshore sailors, thanks to the help of our sponsors. In particular, Renaissance Services who have a clear commitment to nurturing young Omani talent”.’
The six teams will have one day in Doha before they set off for the longest leg of the race, across to the UAE capital city of Abu Dhabi. During this time they will clean out he boats, replenish them with food and drinks, and do any maintenance from the first leg. The weather forecast will be similar, with fresh winds of 10-15 knots and short waves. The teams will enjoy the wind coming more from behind them, which means they will be able to achieve higher speeds. The boats will also be more stable so crews can look forward to getting some well-earned rest over the two days they will be at sea.
1st: Oman Sail Renaissance
2nd: Team Commercialbank Group
3rd: New Caledonia
4th: Royal Navy of Oman
5th: GAC Team Pindar
6th: Team Ras Al Khaimah