The 2020 EFG Sailing Arabia – the Tour has officially opened in Salalah. Over 15 days between 26 January and 8 February, a strong international and local contingent will use the prime winter conditions in the Sultanate to push both speed and heart-rates to the max in thrilling close quarter racing in five diverse locations along the coast of Oman.
Since it started in 2011, EFG Sailing Arabia – The Tour has attracted some of the biggest names in sailing to experience the prime sailing conditions and beauty of the region. The tenth edition will see a strong international and Omani contingent in showcase of speed and skill over 15 days between 26 January and 8 February in five diverse locations along the coast of Oman.
Eight teams, made up of sailors from Oman, France, Switzerland, and Spain will race on board the matched fleet of DIAM24, the same boats used in the Tour de France à la voile.
The 2020 EFG Sailing Arabia – The Tour, which is organised by Oman Sail, will feature three in-port races, five coastal raids, and one offshore leg. In a route reversal from 2019, the 2020 edition will begin in Salalah, a lush sub-tropical city in Oman’s south. The origins of the Sultanate’s second largest city dates back to 100BC and it has a rich maritime history, being an important port for the frankincense and silk trades.
Following a coastal raid and in-port race along the coastline of Salalah, the teams will make their way up the coast, with stopovers in Duqm, Masirah Island, Sur and Ras Al Hadd, before a two-day title decider in Muscat.
The 2020 EFG Sailing Arabia – The Tour officially opened at the award-winning Salalah Airport on Saturday 25 January. Oman Airports said: “We at Oman Airports are extremely proud to be working with an iconic event such as the EFG Sailing Arabia – The Tour and to be the naming partner for one of the two fully Omani crewed teams.
“The EFG Sailing Arabia – The Tour is a perfect fit for Oman Airports. As the event showcases the beauty and breadth of Oman, the sailors and organisers will be supported by Oman’s world-class airports in Salalah, Duqm, and Muscat. We wish all the teams and competitors the very best for the next few weeks.”
For the first time in the ten-year history of EFG Sailing Arabia – The Tour, there are two all-female teams, Helvetia Purple and DB Schenker, spearheaded by Omani sailors Ibtisam Al Salmi and Marwa Al Kaifi. The pair are both highly experienced in racing on board the DIAM 24 and impressed with two race wins in last year’s Tour Voile.
Two teams, Oman Airport and Renaissance, will be comprised solely of Omani sailors, emphasising the talent being developed in the Sultanate.
The full teams and skippers are: Group Atlantic – Clement Cron (France), Helvetia Purple – Pauline Courtois (France), Helvetia Blue – Pierrick Letouze (France), Team Royan Atlantique – Thimothé Polet and Gautier Tallieu (France) [co-skippers], Oman Airport – Hussein al Jabri (Oman), EFG – Sofian Bouvet (France)
Renaissance – Akram Al Wahaibi (Oman) and DB Schenker – Audrey Ogereau (France).
Courtesy of ONA.