Sultanate of Oman’s Musandam-Oman Sail set for celebrity line up in return to Kiel Week - Oman Sail's MOD70 Musandam races in the Eckernförde race at Kiel week 2014
The Sultanate of Oman’s flagship Musandam-Oman Sail heads north to Kiel, Germany, in June to Kieler Woche, Northern Europe’s biggest summer festival, to showcase the speeds that are earning the team worldwide recognition and to promote the country as a tourist destination to the German public.
The MOD70 crew, skippered by Frenchman Sidney Gavignet, is fresh from setting a new Round Ireland Record, a triumph that sits well next to the Round Britain and Ireland Record achieved in 2014 with the same 50% Omani team.
The MOD70 will attend Kieler Woche from 20-28 June and the crew, intent on shaving a few more seconds off the Kiel Week Welcome Race Record that they smashed by almost 20 minutes last year, will welcome Boris Herrmann, Germany’s best-known offshore sailor onboard, along with Pierre Casiraghi, youngest son of Caroline, Princess of Hanover and seventh in line to the Monegasque throne.
A keen sailor, Casiraghi recently finished 9th at the Melges 32 World Championships, and raced with Boris Herrmann on the European flagged Esimit Europa 2, winning line honours at the Giraglia Rolex Cup last year.
“I love sailing, it’s my passion. I can’t wait to sail on Musandam-Oman Sail and discover this spectacular MOD70. I am sure it will give me an amazing experience, different from what I experienced on Maserati or on the TP52. It’s a real privilege to be able to sail in Kiel for the first time in such fantastic conditions next to all these great names of sailing,” said Pierre Casiraghi, who is also Vice President ‎of the Yacht Club de Monaco.
The celebrity guest sailors will line up alongside Omani equivalents Mohsin Al Busaidi and one of the Middle East's first professional female sailors Ibtisam Al Salmi. Both are products of Oman Sail’s award-winning development programme who have gone on to achieve success and notoriety in their home country and beyond for their sailing endeavors.
The Lord Mayor of Kiel, Ulf Kaempfer, who was on board last year during Kieler Woche, is also set to return in 2015 for a high-speed spin around the inner fjord with the team.
Skipper Sidney Gavignet, just back from completing a leg of the Volvo Ocean Race with Chinese entry, Dongfeng, is delighted to step back onboard the MOD70: "It is great to be back and we are looking forward to trying to take a little more time off the Welcome Race Record that we broke last year (weather permitting of course!) and have an exciting crew with Boris Herrmann joining us and Pierre Casiraghi, alongside our own Omani stars with Ibtisam Al Salmi and Mohsin Al Busaidi coming to Kiel this year."
Activities off the water are just as important in 2015 with a new Oman tourism pavilion set to make its European debut to entice some of the 3 million crowds who visit Kieler Woche to wander in and find out more about the Sultanate as a tourist destination.
They can expect a highly experiential tour since it resembles an Omani fort on the outside and a bustling colorful souk on the inside, divided into six different areas representing different regions of the Sultanate, complete with ethnic artifacts and activities. These will include the most popular attractions from 2014, in particular the henna artist and the pottery and weaving craftsmen.
Musandam-Oman Sail’s visit to Germany, which is linked to Muscat in Oman via a direct Oman Air flight service, marks the start of a three-month German sailing season for Oman Sail.
Kiel Week will be followed later in the summer by the Extreme Sailing Series event in Hamburg in July and the Bullitt GC32 Racing Tour in Kiel shortly after where Leigh McMillan’s formidable multihull crew will take aim at both 2015 titles to add to their impressive collection.
“Last year, Kiel Week was incredibly successful for us on a number of fronts,” said Salma Al Hashmi, Director of Marketing and Events at Oman Sail.
“Our flagship MOD70 Musandam-Oman Sail was a massive hit especially when it took the Welcome Race Record and we loved having our German guests on board to share in this success.
“Our Oman tourism exhibition pavilion was also a big hit and attracted visitors in their thousands which gave us a great opportunity to promote our country to sailing enthusiasts, tourists and even business men and women who were keen to find out more. We are excited about having this second opportunity to build on that success.”
Photo : Sander van der Borch