Oman Sail team celebrate top five Fastnet Race finish in competitive Class 40 division

Pictures of the Sultanate of Oman Class40 race yacht skippered by Sidney Gavignet during the start of the 2017 Rolex Fastnet Race Credit Lloyd Images

Oman Sail’s Class 40 team are celebrating a competitive top five finish in the challenging Rolex Fastnet Race after completing the 605-mile course in a little over three days.

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In the international class of 26 level-rated yachts – part of a record-breaking Fastnet fleet of 368 race boats – Oman Sail were amongst the leading pack in the early stages along Britain’s southern coast and across the Irish Sea.

On the run back from the iconic Fastnet Rock off Ireland’s southern coast the team picked up another place to cross the Plymouth finishing line in fifth.

“It was an interesting race and we are making progress,” said skipper Sidney Gavignet. “Fifth is a finishing place with which we can be satisfied. It is another step forward for us – not a big one perhaps, but a step forward.”

Gavignet and his regular Class 40 co-skipper Fahad Al Hasni were joined for the race by Omani sailor Sami Al Shukaili and Spanish Class 40 expert Alex Pella.

“For everyone it was a good experience,” said Gavignet, “especially for Sami who had never raced a long offshore on this boat before. And I am very, very pleased Alex was with us, his experience with the Class 40 has helped us make progress.”

This is the second major event for Gavignet and Al Hasni as they build towards the 3,000-mile two-handed Transat Jacques Vabre race from Le Havre to Salvador in Brazil, the culmination of their season in November.

“It would have been good to have done even better, but we can be pleased with our result,” said Al Hasni. “Every time we find out more and more about the boat, and what we can do to make us go faster, so the Fastnet has been a great success on that front.

“Having Sami onboard was good as we are old crewmates from the MOD70 and from Team Renaissance on EFG Sailing Arabia – The Tour, and Alex was able to give us a lot of information on the Class 40.”

The French yacht V And B won the Class 40 division in the Fastnet, ahead of Imerys, Campagne De France and LMAX Normandie, with Oman Sail close behind after more than three days of intense racing.