Sailing Arabia — The Tour to set sail from Al Mouj

MUSCAT: The Arabian Gulf will be showcased as race track when the fleet of the 2017 EFG Sailing Arabia – The Tour sets sail from Al Mouj Muscat on Tuesday. As the only annual event in the world to offer a mix of inshore and offshore competition, the stakes are high for the eight skippers and their crews but for the organisers, Oman Sail, the 763nm race offers the chance to roll out the red carpet for the teams and their supporters to highlight the region’s vast array of natural and cultural assets.
Oman Sail and its partners have put together an eye-catching range of activities from a tour round Muscat’s stunning Al Bustan Palace to some lively and fun beach clean ups and the CEO Challenge in Doha for captains of industry who want a slice of the competitive inport action. Al Mouj Muscat will host the start with officials at four stopovers in Sohar, Khasab, Doha and Abu Dhabi competing for the honour of who can deliver the warmest welcome.
The opening ceremony at Al Mouj Muscat will set the scene when the SATT skippers are introduced for the first time against a backdrop of Oman’s lifestyle destination before receiving a flag from the guest of honour Sayyid Badr bin Hamad Al Busaidi, Secretary General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, ahead of the first in-port race.
Nasser bin Masoud al Sheibani, CEO, Al Mouj Muscat, said, “The premium race EFG Sailing Arabia — The Tour 2017 is a great opportunity for us to showcase the tourism potential of Oman. While the mix of professional, amateur sailors and crew participating in the race from across the globe have been spreading the good word about Oman, the international media coverage has always been complimentary. The route makes it possible for sailors to discover Oman’s natural beauty during the race. The starting point at Al Mouj Marina offers stunning view of our marina front properties, blue waters and enroute the majestic mountains.”
He added, “We are delighted to be part of this top-notch event with Al Mouj Marina chosen as a venue. Home to Oman Sail, Al Mouj Marina, our premier marina facility has 124 modern floating marina berths, the first of 400, accommodating yachts from 10 to 40 metres. Understanding that tourism is a key contributor to the GDP, Al Mouj Muscat Oman’s premier lifestyle destination has always been organising and hosting international sport events. Al Mouj Marina, of course, has been providing an international focus to Oman by regularly attracting elite international sailing events.”
The importance of protecting the beauty and resources of the coast and waters around the Gulf will be given a full airing in a segment devoted to marine conservation focussing on beach clean ups in Khasab and Muscat in partnership with Averda, the integrated waste management company, with the support of the Environmental Society of Oman (ESO).
In Sohar, at the end of the first leg, crews will be treated to a cultural day at the International Maritime College Oman where traditional Omani food will be served and traditional dances performed to the accompaniment of traditional folk songs and music. Dr Hilal Al Hadhrami, Dean of the International Maritime College Oman (IMCO) said it was an honour to host the stopover. “Having participated in SATT 2015 as a competitor, IMCO was, and still is enthused by the event,” he said.
“It brings together top sailors from around the globe and provides the region with a perfect platform to showcase the beauty and hospitality of the region. Although IMCO has been unable to compete since 2015, we eagerly await the event and are very proud to be able to participate in a small manner and support the sailors during the Sohar stopover,” Dr Al Hadhrami added.