Sultanate’s nature regales regatta sailors

Muscat, Feb 18 – International sailors who had come for the 8th Edition of EFG Sailing Arabia — The Tour 2018 had an opportunity to see the beauty of Oman from a different perspective. The races were held in Salalah, Duqm, Masirah, Sur, Bandar al Khayran and Muttrah. “It was a wonderful race around the beautiful Omani Coast. It was a new concept, everybody enjoyed the setting and was able to enjoy the inside of the country. It was a good experience,” said Thierry Douillard. He was with all the participants of EFG Sailing Arabia 2018. Since 2013, Thierry’s EFG Bank Monaco have been the winners of all the Sailing Arabia Tour but 2018 saw another winner — Beijaflore. The third place went to Averda, led by British two-time Olympian Stevie Morrison.
Beijaflore came up with an impressive scorecard by winning a third of all the 24 races and finishing in a podium position in all but seven races.
The skipper of Beijaflore, Valentin Bellet said, “It was the first for me and my team to be here in Oman and it was exciting. It was amazing for us to discover Oman’s features. As for sailing, it was perfect condition for us.”
Valentin Bellet’s polished outfit took the spoils in the Gulf classic, revamped for 2018 to feature a fleet of super-fast Diam 24 trimarans doing battle in five long ‘coastal raids’ and five short, intense stadium race series at venues all over Oman.
The wind is what determined the journey for the sailors, but it was the natural features of Oman that created the excitement for the regatta participants.
“We had strong wind in Salalah as well as Sur and some light wind in Duqm and in Muscat,” explained Douillard, adding that he has been with Oman Sail for the last ten years so not new to Oman.
But what was remarkable was sailing with nature’s glory.
“We sailed with the turtles, snakes and dolphins. We had this experience in Salalah and Sur.”
The new format demanded strength, skill and tenacity from the eight international crews competing for the coveted top spot while also showcasing Oman’s natural beauty.
The video can be watched on
www.omanobserver.om and @omanobserver

Lakshmi Kothaneth