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Pierre Casiraghi core crew aboard Musandam-Oman Sail as it retains Kieler Woche Welcome Race Record
The Sultanate of Oman’s flagship Musandam-Oman Sail might have missed breaking its own 2014 record of 1 hour 47 minutes and 22 seconds, by just six minutes and 56 seconds this morning at Kieler Woche’s famous opening Welcome Race, but the team, including Pierre Casiraghi, had such a good run that they were far from disappointed.

The seven-person crew, skippered by regular French Oman Sail skipper, Sidney Gavignet, included special guest and keen sailor, Pierre Casiraghi, vice president of the Yacht Club de Monaco and son of Princess Caroline of Hanover, seventh in line to the Monegasque throne. He was joined for the race by Boris Herrmann, one of Germany’s most famous offshore sailors, and Oman’s very own sailing icons, Mohsin Al Busaidi who was the first Arab to sail around the world non stop, and Ibtisam Al Salmi, an integral member of Oman Sail’s pioneering Women’s Sailing Programme.

Pierre Casiraghi was handed the helm of the giant, record-breaking trimaran soon after the start and helmed for most of the race. “It was really exciting – a really amazing opportunity– it was the first time for me on a boat like Musandam-Oman Sail, so it was truly exceptional.

“The MOD70 is very reactive and I was lucky to be able to helm a bit so it is good, you have to play with the main and keep the wind in the sails so that you don’t stop the boat when it heels over too much – the balance is very fine.”

The team was not as lucky with the conditions today as in 2014; a 15-knot westerly meant a lot of upwind sailing with just moments of fast reaching at a top speed of 26 knots.

Casiraghi continued: “It was amazing to slot into the crew, Sidney and the rest of the team were great to sail with. I would love to visit the Sultanate of Oman because Oman Sail has a really great development sailing programme and they cover so many different types of boats, I would be really excited to go and have a look.”

Sidney Gavignet was delighted that a team that had only spent a few hours sailing together before today’s start all enjoyed the 27 nautical mile sprint from Kiel to Eckernforde.

“Everyone really enjoyed themselves, Pierre (Casiraghi) was able to drive most of the time which was great. The team was new to the boat, except Moshin Al Busaidi and Ibtisam Al Salmi who did the delivery from Lorient, but it all gelled together pretty well especially towards the end. It was a great atmosphere on board and that is what is important.”

Ibtisam Al Salmi, who regularly races the Oman Sail J/80 and Farr30 for EFG Sailing Arabia – The Tour, but has not raced the MOD70 before was excited at the opportunity to race with some top professionals: “The race was really amazing, I really enjoyed it a lot and I learned a lot from the team today, it was a huge opportunity for me.”

Musandam-Oman Sail and the Oman Tourism Pavilion will be in Kiel all week as part of Oman Sail’s mission to promote to the German public the Sultanate of Oman as a tourism destination.

Next stop for the flagship will be the UK for Cowes Week.

Photo : Paul Wyeth/Oman Sail
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