Dubai : The annual Dubai-Muscat Offshore Sailing Race, organised by the Dubai Offshore Sailing Club, is set to start next Thursday.
Run along the coastline of Arabian Peninsular, it covers 360 nautical miles. The boats will pass through the shallows of the Arabian Gulf and into the deep waters of the Indian Ocean via the Straits of Hormuz, one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world.
The race ends in Muscat, the capital of Oman, at the Bandar Al Rawdah Marina.
Hot favourite for overall line honours is the 100-foot Hi Tech Trimaran Majan, skippered by round the world veteran Paul Standbridge. Half of the crew are from Oman and the boat is capable of speeds in excess of 30 knots. Majan should be flying around the course to a rousing reception in Muscat. Line honours for the monohulls should go to the all carbon TP52, Team Premier, skippered by Hannes Waimer with the highly experienced Peter Morton as navigator.
The first ever Dubai-Muscat Offshore Sailing Race was in 1992.
The 2009 edition of this Middle Eastern classic has been very well supported with far more entries expected than in previous years, a sign of the growing development of yacht racing in the region and the enthusiasm of the Dubai Offshore Sailing Club and its members.
There is a huge variety of yachts competing under the IRC handicap rule with hundreds of sailors of varying experience. Bint Oak is a 44ft sloop, skippered by Barrie Hamsworth who will be competing in his 15th race but his crew, bar tactician Bernie Masters, have never done the race before.
To follow the race as it unfolds, visit the Dubai-Muscat Offshore Sailing Race website: www.dosc.ae