Musandam-Oman Sail’s Omani crew completes first transatlantic crossing
Tuesday, June 26, 2012
The countdown has started to one of Oman Sail’s most exciting milestones after its new Multi One Design 70 Musandam-Oman Sail arrived in Newport, Rhode Island, ahead of the 2012 Krys Ocean Race next month.
Skipper Sidney Gavignet has crossed the Atlantic 25 times, but for two of the three Omani sailors Fahad Al Hasni, and Khamis Al Anbouri, the 3,700nm (6852 km) delivery from Lorient to Newport was their first transatlantic passage. Mohsin Al Busaidi has crossed the Atlantic once before.
“There were some challenging conditions but they coped with them well especially the Omani sailors who are more used to 45 degree temperatures,” said Gavignet who reported they had sailed through storms, thick fog and big seas during their nine days and three hours at sea.
The crew had spent just 24 days and one night on board the boat before they set sail but the delivery had been a big success and a boost to their confidence.
Gavignet said: “The jobs list is very small because we only had a few minor breakages and team spirit is very high so it shows that our preparations were good. We feel confident because we have done the best we could in the time we had.”
The delivery brought back memories for Mohsin of his historic journey in 2009 when he became the first Arab to sail around the world non-stop: “It brings me great joy and pride to see how far we have come in the four years since my first transatlantic passage on board ‘Musandam’ when Oman Sail first started. Back then I was the only Omani on board and today I am crossing the ocean with two other Omani teammates.
“Sailing on the new ‘Musandam’ is a very different experience. It’s way faster and keeps us all on our toes all of the time. At one stage I was helming the boat at night through fog in over 30 knots. We had almost no visibility! Crossing the Atlantic Ocean is filled with drama and adventure. We have some of the best offshore sailors on board with us and the whole team is learning from one another and working together in good spirit,” added Mohsin.
The trip was not without its’ drama, according to young Omani sailor Fahad Al Hasni who described his introduction to watch systems and freeze-dried food as being ‘in a different world’. “It was an adventure, facing big waves and storms and being on this boat for nine days was like living in a different world. I have never been nervous at sea though there was a time when I was helming in a big storm and our instruments were not working so I was worried I might capsize the boat.
“The best thing was meeting a kayaker who had left Newport five days before on his way to Brest in France. His water maker had broken so we were able to give him some water and spend some time talking with him. It was a good thing to be able to do.”
The eight-strong MOD 70 crew will be based at Newport Shipyard Marina from Thursday 28 June putting Musandam-Oman Sail through a series of safety and technical checks.
On July 2, they will line up alongside the four other high-speed trimarans for the 120nm prologue race to New York, where the finish line has been set on the Hudson River, with the world famous landmark Statue of Liberty as a backdrop.
For the following five days, the fleet will be berthed at New York’s North Cove Marina but since they will be in full race mode, crews will not be permitted to carry out any further work.
The racing starts in earnest on July 5 when the five trimarans go head to head in a speed match as a shakedown to the historic moment two days later when Philippe Lalliot, the French Consul in New York and Francois Cuillandre, the Mayor of Brest will fire the start gun of the first ever Krys Ocean Race from New York to Brest.
Musandam-Oman Sail MOD 70 crew list
Sidney Gavignet (FRA)
Ryan Breymaier (USA) (stand-in for Loik Gallon (FRA), who is injured)
Fahad Al Hasni (OMA)
Mohsin Al Busaidi (OMA)
Khamis Al Anbouri (OMA)
Jeff Cuzon (FRA)
Brian Thompson (GBR)
Thomas Le Breton (FRA)
Information on Oman Sail
Oman Sail is a national initiative established in 2008 to contribute to the development of Oman and Omanis through the sport of sailing. The equal opportunity project runs sailing programmes for thousands of young Omani men and women, inspiring a new generation to discover sailing. It encompasses a national sailing squad and high achieving inshore and offshore racing teams, all of which benefit from world-class coaching and whose ultimate objective is to win an Olympic medal for Oman. The programme has pledged to teach 30,000 Omani children to sail by 2015 at seven sailing schools to be built along the coast. The goal is to rekindle Oman’s maritime heritage while raising the country’s regional and international profile as a high-end tourist and foreign investment destination, through competitive sailing at home and abroad. Oman Sail seeks to instil confidence and to teach valuable, transferable life skills to a generation of Omanis.