Today the Bahrain Maritime Sports Association and Oman Sail revealed details of the second edition of Sailing Arabia- The Tour – the only yacht race around the GCC.
A press conference at Amwaj Marina, introduced the proud Bahraini sailing team, which will be skippered by both Sheikh Mohammed bin Daij and veteran sailor, Qassim Abdul Razzaq.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Daij Al Khalifa is a board member of Bahrain Maritime Sports Association and is responsible for leading the national team as it competes against eight others from the GCC and Europe in the grueling 1408km offshore race.
“We thank Oman Sail for organising the tour and bringing the neighbouring regions and their rich maritime heritage together, through the revival of the modern sport of sailing. We are pleased to have a Bahraini crewed team representing the Kingdom, especially as it is the first time we have participated in an offshore race,” Sheikh Mohammed said.
“This is in line with the Kingdom’s direction and support of such maritime sports as sailing, driven by the wise leadership of by His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa, Commander in Chief of the Bahrain Defence Force,” he said.
“I would also like to sincerely thank the sponsors of our team – General Organization of Sea Ports and the Economic Development Board of Bahrain.”
Sheikh Mohammed bin Daij, who will be taking the helm in selected legs of the race, commented that although the yachts only had a crew of seven, there would be 12 Bahraini team members, allowing additional sailors to carry the pride of their country.
Team Bahrain is: Sheikh Mohammed bin Daij, Qassim Abdul Razzaq, Sameer Showaiter, Ebrahim Abdulla, Abdulaziz Al Mahmeed, Ayman Almoyad, Ahmed Alnaar, Mahmood Galib, Mohamed Ghalib, Abdulla Janahi, Mohamed Gharib, Muhanna Al Dosari.
Now in its second year, the race is organised by Oman Sail in collaboration with a number of authorities from the Gulf region, with a concept that brings the Gulf States together in a unique race across the Arabian Gulf.
Alternative skipper Qassim described the opportunity to take part in SATT as ‘a dream’ and said:
“It is a great opportunity to reflect the local and regional sailing talents across the GCC. The tour sets a valuable scene to attract world class sailors into the region and test their skills in a unique and grueling offshore race”
The conference was also attended by Ali Fardan, General Manager of Amwaj Marina; Mohammed Al Eissa, regional PR manager at Oman Sail and crew members of Team Bahrain.
“We are very pleased to host the starting point of Sailing Arabia – The Tour again this year. The Tour showcases a number of state-of-the-art marinas across the region and their unique ability in hosting world class sailing events. The marine tourism industry and the sport of sailing are growing rapidly in the GCC, and SATT combines both in a great manner. We look forward to welcoming more teams in Bahrain this year and launching the starting leg of the Tour – it is going to be a great event,”Ali Fardan said.
Team Bahrain, with the support of its sponsors – the General Organization of Sea Ports and the Economic Development Board of Bahrain – will go head to head with four teams from Oman and other teams including Commercial Bank Group of Qatar, Team Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Team Ras al Khaimah of UAE and an entry from as far afield as France by team Courrier Dunkerque.
The race brings the GCC countries together not only through their maritime history, but also the related infrastructure being increasingly developed across the states, said Issa Ismali, Oman Sail’s Event’s Director in a statement for the press.
“SATT provides a winter alternative to the European offshore events, and the timing is perfect as a prelude to the European sailing season. Each leg will present different challenges to the sailors and many of the international sailors will be using SATT as a training ground.
“This is just the second edition of SATT and the event is already talked about by the international sailing community. The event has grown since its first year and in 2013 we aim to attract even more teams, both from the international sailing fraternity and from the region. The addition of the Bahraini team and other teams from the region are essential to the continued success of the event. SATT is a prefect platform for us to promote sailing – one of the fastest growing sports in the region.”
The race has attracted a host of international talent, proving that the region has something great to offer the wider world of international sailing.
SATT will start from Amwaj Marina on the 12 February, and will traverse the peninsula visiting seven marinas on the way – Doha, Abu Dhabi, Ras al Khaima, Musandam and Mussanah, before finishing in Muscat 15 days later. Over the five legs, the sailors will not only have to race off-shore overnight, but they will also have to do short, fast races in stopover venues close to shore for the public to watch.
The All Omani crew Team Muscat 2012, will be skippered by one of Oman’s most accomplished offshore sailors, Mohsin Al Busaidi. Mohsin made history when he became the first Arab to sail around the world non-stop and he will bring a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the team.
For the first time there will also be a unique all women’s team, Al ThurayaBankMuscat, led by British round the world sailor, Dee Caffari. The team, which includes four Omani women, will compete as part of the Oman Sail’s women’s programme, which was launched in October 2011.
The women have been under-going a rigorous selection and training programme, which has not only qualified them as professional dinghy instructors, but has seen the women become Oman’s first professional female sailors.
To follow Team Bahrain’s progress during SATT please visit the official event website www.sailingarabiathetour.com