Oryx Quest 2005 reveals sponsors, skippers and boats in Qatar at press event in Qatar

Quest International Sports Events (QISE) has unveiled the major elements of the Oryx Quest 2005, the round-the-world sailing race for the world’s fastest maxi multihulls that starts in Doha in February 2005.

At a launch ceremony in Qatar yesteday, three of the world’s leading offshore skippers confirmed that they would be at the start in Doha on 5 February, HSBC announced a multi-million dollar title sponsorship investment and the Gulf State of Qatar reaffirmed its strong partnership with the Oryx Quest 2005.

Skippers Loick Peyron, Tony Bullimore (Team Daedalus) and Olivier de Kersauson (Geronimo) were at the announcement to confirm that they will be contesting the first QISE-organised event, along with the maxi-cat ‘Qatar 2006’, the identity of whose skipper is still to be confirmed. Cam Lewis (Team Adventure) and representatives from ‘Cheyenne’ were also in attendance in anticipation of joining the fleet for the first major sailing event to start and finish in the Middle East.

HSBC – one of the world’s leading banks – outlined its multi-million dollar commitment to the Oryx Quest, taking title sponsorship with by far the company’s biggest sponsorship deal in the region to date. HSBC’s endorsement not only brings financial support to this innovative event but also the kudos and credibility of the backing of a major international brand.

The Gulf State of Qatar announced its support of the Oryx Quest 2005 in October last year. The presence of HE Sheikh Abdulla bin Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani representing the Crown Prince HH Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani at the ceremony further underlines this backing as the country seeks to establish itself as a leading venue for international sports events.

Making announcements at Doha’s Diplomatic Club, Tracy Edwards MBE – QISE Events Director – said: “We feel that today’s event marks the official start of the Oryx Quest 2005. The outstanding package of sponsors, partners, sailors and boats that we are able to confirm today, has taken a lot of hard work by many people to pull together. I am hugely grateful to all of our backers for the confidence and commitment that they have shown in the Oryx Quest 2005.

“We are all looking forward to February and, although there’s a lot of work to be done before then, we can confirm that thanks to the calibre of our partners and supporters, the Oryx Quest 2005 is going to be a truly world-class event.”

“This event struck us as crisp, modern and dynamic,” said Robert Gray, Chairman of HSBC Financial Services Middle East. “We have a rich tradition in the Middle East, and are celebrating our 50th anniversary in Qatar this year. We have forged close links with Qatar on many levels over the past half century, and we are proud of our significant presence in Qatar, and the fact that we are the largest and highest profile international bank in Doha. This event provides us with a wonderful opportunity to demonstrate what HSBC really means in Qatar, and in the region.”

The dignitaries at the event unveiled the exclusive Oryx Quest Trophy, designed by William & Son and created by William Asprey. Standing at 56cm high, the stunning trophy is in sterling silver and silver gilt with diamonds, the finest lapis lazuli, Mother-of-Pearl and enamel. Also confirmed at the launch were the official start date, 5 February 2005, the race route and the nomination of the Qatar Foundation as the official charity of the Oryx Quest.