Dame Ellen's B&Q leaves Cowes for Oman under a new name and new colours
Almost three years after Dame Ellen MacArthur broke the world record for a solo circumnavigation of the globe, her trimaran B&Q is embarking on its own new adventure as it set sail from Cowes yesterday on a three week voyage to its new home in The Sultanate of Oman.
The 75-foot trimaran was brought by The Sultanate earlier this year, and renamed Musandam after the Musandam Peninsula, as part of a wider project to reignite Oman’s maritime heritage and help promote the Sultanate as a world class sailing destination.
Under the guidance of OC Group, a team of eight young Omanis have been based at the UK Sailing Academy in Cowes since April for intensive sail training, and three of the Omani team – Abdullah Said Al Busaidi, Moshin Ali al Busaidi and Mohammed Khalfan Al Obaidani – will be joining Frenchman Loik Gallion, skipper, as well as Jean-Sébastien Chénier Proteau and Charles Darbyshire in sailing the trimaran back to Muscat, the capital of Oman.
As Musandam prepared to set sail from Cowes, the Royal Yacht Squadron fired a gun salute in honour of her departure.
“Dame Ellen said of the project: ‘I feel huge pleasure, mingled with some sadness, that the trimaran is leaving for Oman – the sadness being that I will not be with her during the next chapter of her life, but the pleasure is knowing that she will be out on the ocean again.”
“I would say that Musandam is a perfect boat to take to Oman, because, although fast, she is an amazingly seaworthy vessel and will look after all who sail on her. I am thrilled that her new skipper is Loik Gallon, a very close friend of eight years. We have been through a lot together and I have total faith in his abilities.”
Often referred to as ‘Old Arabia’, The Sultanate of Oman is supposedly one of the best-kept secrets in the Middle East with nearly 3,000km of coastline spanning three different seas. Exposed to the tail winds of the Indian monsoons, Oman’s geographical position on some of the world’s most important trade routes between Asia and Africa means the trimaran will follow routes of ancient mariners whose ancestors sailed to India, China and East Africa.
Oman Sail also owns an Extreme 40 which is currently positioned well in the European Extreme 40 iShares Cup circuit with two races in Kiel and Amsterdam to go. In addition to the project, Oman is developing a number of marinas so that it can become a sailing destination of choice.
For further information, visit www.omansail.com .