Sunday, 21 April 2013
by Mohammed Al Eissa
Oman Air, the national airline of the Sultanate of Oman, and long-time partner to Oman Sail projects is to sponsor Musandam-Oman Air, Oman’s flagship Multi One Design 70 campaign for the upcoming action-packed 2013 season. Oman’s Ministry of Tourism also returns as a partner in the international campaign and will have a shore-based presence at a number of venues to promote the country as a high-end tourist and foreign investment destination.
The national airline is no newcomer to the sport having previously sponsored Oman Sail’s highly successful Extreme 40 campaign and Oman Sail CEO David Graham is delighted with the continuing relationship: “The partnership with Oman Air for the Multi One Design 70 season is incredibly exciting for Oman Sail. Our goal with this flagship campaign is twofold: to further the ability of our Omani sailors onboard and inspire young Omani sailors back home while raising awareness and promoting the Sultanate of Oman as a tourism and foreign investment destination in partnership with the Ministry of Tourism. In this we have common goals,” he said. “We are delighted to have Oman Air onboard for what is lining up to be an exciting new MOD70 racing season.”
Wayne Pearce, Chief Executive Officer of Oman Air, added his enthusiasm for the new partnership: “In line with Oman Air’s mission of promoting in-bound tourism to Oman, the national carrier is proud to be associated with Oman Sail, which positions the country at the highest possible level of elite discerning travellers.”
The 2013 Musandam-Oman Air MOD70 season kicks off with an intensive training session in April, before racing starts in anger with the Grand Prix Guyader, followed by the AR Men Race, both in France, and then the summer’s main event, La Route des Prince, which begins in Valencia, Spain, in June. Musandam-Oman Air will then sail to the UK for the Artemis Challenge during Cowes Week and the world famous Rolex Fastnet Race, before competing in the Transat Jacques Vabre that starts in France in November.
Well-known French offshore sailor, Sidney Gavignet, returns as skipper of the pioneering Omani initiative that uses the power of sport to contribute to the development of the Omani people with Thomas Le Breton (FRA), Mohsin Al Busaidi (OMA) and Fahad Al Hasni (OMA) all of whom competed on the MOD70 circuit last year. Newcomers to the crew include legendary British offshore sailor Neal McDonald and fellow Volvo Round the World Race veteran Damian Foxall from Ireland; both bring a wealth of knowledge to the team.
Completing the crew are Gilles Favennec from France and Ahmed Al Hassani from Oman who is replacing Ahmed Al Maamari who suffered a back injury. Al Hassani, who has come up through the Oman Sail programme on the F18 is excited to be joining the project: “It is a great honour to be selected for the MOD70 crew and to represent Oman on the international stage. I am really looking forward to what is going to be a very steep learning curve.
“Oman Sail has given me an amazing opportunity to grow within this sport and I have worked hard through the F18s to get this far. I hope that young Omanis at our sailing schools will be inspired to have a go. I started sailing late in life, but they have the opportunity to start early and perhaps one day raise the Omani flag at the Olympic Games,” he said.