Could another round the world race for giant multihulls be in the offing?


Could we seeing the first signs of a resurgence of the round the world racing in multihulls? Yes, just maybe, especially if it receives a shot in the arm from a high-speed multihull America’s Cup.

These photos show the latest fledgling multihull masterplan. It’s the so-called Arabian 100 being assembled in Oman, and it’s part of a Mark Turner/OC Group orchestrated project. The boat is a modification of the 105ft Nigel Irens-designed Sodeb’O, built for Thomas Coville’s so far unsuccessful solo round the world attempt. It will be simpler – no rotating wingmast, for example – and have a bigger cockpit so it can be crewed by between five and seven people.

The parts of the Oman 100 were built at Boatspeed in Australia and are being assembled in the Omani port of Salalah in the shed that the Sultan of Oman uses to maintain his fleet of boats. The project is ultimately funded by the Sultan of Oman and a cohort of 18 Omanis will be recruited and trained to sail on board.

The long-term plan is to encourage like-minded countries to build the one-design trimaran and create a long-distance circuit. “We have some expressions of interest,” Ingmar Jense from Oman Sail tells me, “some in the Middle East and a couple in Asia. Europe is not our focus.”

He adds: “Possibly we could enable a non-stop round the world race like The Race [the defunct round the world event in multihulls that ran in 2000] – there’s no reason why that wouldn’t be an option.”

A second boat could be available in any case after Thomas Coville has another crack at the solo record this winter. Sodeb’O is capable of racing on an equal one-design footing with a new rig and some deck modifications.