The route’s total distance, unlike the previous seven editions, is comparatively reduced, but that aside, it is set to highlight the beautiful coastline of the sultanate as it would take the nine yet-to-be-decided teams from Salalah to Muscat from February 3-17.
With just nine one-design Diam 24 multihull boats to be offered for the regatta, the tactical shift to an all-Oman coastline off-shore route has been primarily done to showcase the rich tourism potential of the nation.
The teams will begin the regatta from Salalah with the first stopover at Duqm. The first off-shore leg will take teams from Duqm to Barr al Hikman (Masirah) followed by the second off-shore leg to Ras al Hadd (Sur). The third off-shore leg will bring the teams to Bandar al Khiran (Muttrah) while the grand finale will be at Muttrah on Feb 17.
In his comments on Wednesday, David Graham, Oman Sail CEO said, “In just seven years EFG Sailing Arabia – The Tour has become the region’s leading off-shore race and a popular winter destination for sailors from around the world.”
“The 2018 edition will again provide racing in idyllic conditions, and will also highlight Oman as a world- class destination thanks to a course that will take teams to outstanding areas of natural beauty located along a glorious Oman coastline.”
Over the 14 days the tour will feature eight venues, three off-shore legs, three coastal raids, and four in-port races, with the Diam 24 yachts disassembled and transported between venues on couple of occasions.
Salma al Hashmi, the Chief Marketing Officer of Oman Sail said, “Sailing Arabia-The Tour, Oman Sail’s flagship event in the Middle East, is undergoing a revamp. Next year, we are launching multihull one-design boats, introducing coastal racing, and staying in Oman.”
“The changes have been made on competitors’ feedback and the decision to introduce it in 2018 has been accelerated by current operational challenges between certain countries of the Gulf. To achieve the right balance, Oman Sail has modelled SATT on the highly successful Tour de France a la Voile and the race course will showcase the beauty of the country’s vast and varied coastline”, she added.