Sailing Arabia rings changes

New route and off-the-rack team packages to intensify competition

Gulf News

Dubai: Changes to EFG Sailing Arabia — The Tour 2017 are set to broaden the annual race’s appeal with the announcement of a new route and the launch of attractive off-the-rack packages for new teams.

Five offshore legs, starting in Oman’s capital Muscat and finishing 763 nautical miles later in Dubai, combined with three in-port showdowns in Muscat, Doha and Dubai, will make the race more competitive.

The race will run from Muscat to Sohar and then Khasab to Abu Dhabi, Doha and back on itself to Dubai from February 14 to March 1.

Event organisers Oman Sail are also attracting new teams with packages comprising of bespoke branded Farr 30 yachts, on board safety equipment, communications, logistical support and even a crew if needed.

Three-time EFG Sailing Arabia — The Tour winner Sidney Gavignet said: “One of the things I enjoy most about the SATT challenge is putting a team together because to compete successfully over 10 days of intense one design racing requires a certain type of sailor,” he said.

“They need to have endurance and stamina and a little bit of aggression because the competition each year becomes stronger. For those that have never done EFG Sailing Arabia — The Tour before, it is a real voyage of discovery because we see some amazing sights.”

For entrepreneurial teams, the networking and business opportunities are far reaching with guest sailing opportunities, VIP Hospitality, networking events and large scale media support with US$6.95million total media value achieved in 2016.

“This is not just a sailing regatta — it is so much more,” said Fahad Al Hasni, skipper of the all Omani crew on Renaissance Services in 2016.

“Even though the Straits of Hormuz are home waters to us, the challenges are huge and we learn something new every time we leave port. Each year, we feel like we are hosting new visitors and guests who are wanting to find out more about the countries in our region and our culture and that makes us very proud,” he added.