Oman Sail’s Class 40 team in con­tention af­ter clas­sic start to ex­cit­ing Rolex Fast­net Race

Muscat Daily - - PRESS RELEASES -

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.

Oman Sail’s skip­per Sid­ney Gav­i­gnet said, “The weather fore­cast is say­ing that 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.

“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.

Gav­i­gnet said, “Boat speed will be a fo­cus for us, keep­ing the pace up all the time dur­ing the ro­ta­tions. That is part of my job is to keep the guys go­ing, but they all have very good en­ergy. One thing is to take it easy when we need to.

“It is im­por­tant. It is a me­chan­i­cal sport so we need to pre­serve the me­chan­ics some­times, and we have to live with what we have. Some­times you have to be smart.”

Also speak­ing dur­ing preFast­net train­ing, Hasni said, “We are mak­ing progress with the boat, though we still have progress to make, but we are get­ting there. It is great to sail with Shukaili again and hav­ing Alex’s feed­back on the Class 40 will be re­ally good as well.”

The up­wind start and the short-tack­ing up The So­lent will have seen the four putting their train­ing rou­tines into prac­tice, with Gav­i­gnet and Hasni han­dling the boat on deck, while Shukaili and Pella man­age the trans­fer of wa­ter bal­last and sail stack­ing be­low.

At Sun­day’s com­pet­i­tive start, Oman Sail was judged to have crossed the line just be­fore the start­ing gun sounded, and had to re­turn and re-cross the line. De­spite giv­ing away sev­eral min- utes to their ri­vals, they were able to climb back into con­tention over the fol­low­ing hours.

For Gav­i­gnet and Hasni, the Fast­net is another step on the road to­wards the fo­cus of the Oman Sail Class 40 cam­paign in Novem­ber.

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