Oman Sail’s Class 40 team in contention

Muscat: A day into the renowned Rolex Fastnet Race and Oman Sail’s Class 40 team were locked in a close-fought battle near the front of the record-breaking fleet.
Data from trackers on each yacht showed Oman Sail holding sixth place in the 26-strong Class 40 category early on Monday morning as they approached The Lizard peninsula, the southernmost point of mainland Britain. A fleet of 368 yachts — the largest since the biennial Fastnet Race began in 1925 — started from The Solent on Sunday morning. The classic 605-mile race delivered classic conditions, with an upwind start in 15 to 20 knots and bright sunshine.
The race takes the fleet from England’s south coast to the Fastnet Rock off southern Ireland, then back across the Irish Sea to the finish in Plymouth.
Speaking shortly before the start, Oman Sail’s skipper Sidney Gavignet said: “The weather forecast is saying it will be upwind conditions all the way to the Fastnet, and downwind all the way back from the Fastnet to Plymouth. “Our goal is to get to the finish in one piece, and enjoy the race and keep learning. It is all about taking one step at a time and progressing.”
And he added: “I almost don’t want to speak about results. For us it is about sailing a clean race and feeling that we have got the maximum from the boat — that would be a good result.”
Gavignet is racing with his regular Class 40 co-skipper Fahad Al Hasni, and they have been joined for the Fastnet Race by the Omani sailor Sami Al Shukaili and Spanish Class 40 specialist Alex Pella. All previously raced together on the MOD 70 Musandam-Oman Sail trimaran.
“Boat speed will be a focus for us, keeping the pace up all the time during the rotations,” said Gavignet. “That is part of my job too to keep the guys going, but they all have very good energy.