#muscat – An Irish yacht looks set to break the monohull record for the longest offshore yacht race in the Arab region writes Louay Habib. The record has stood for 13 years. Yesterday afternoon, the wind speed picked up significantly in the Gulf of Oman, propelling Adrian Lee's Cookson 50, Lee Overlay Partners at record breaking pace.
"The Strait of Hormuz was an impressive sight with the mountains of Musandam in clear view, it was a spectacular exit from the Arabian Gulf and what followed was a dramatic introduction to the Indian Ocean." reported Adrian Lee via satellite phone. "A storm blew in from astern and with the wind speed touching 30 knots, we were often at over ten knots of boat speed and surfing down waves at over 16 knots, what a ride! The storm seemed to pass but the wind hardly decreased, we are trucking along, but dead down wind, so we have had to put in a few big gybes, which the crew have executed with great precision, morale on board is fantastic."
Race Organisers, GWM Racing have reported that 3 yachts have retired with all the crew safe and well. Fawzi al Sultan's Kuwaiti team on Dolce Vita put into port just after Ras Al Khaimah and the Emirates team on Adel Lootah's Jadi made safe haven at Fujairah.
XS35 catamaran, Blackwater skippered by Matt Vukelich has also retired. "We had a tough beat to leave the Strait of Hormuz, with 18 knots of wind on the nose it was pretty bumpy on board." Reported Matt via Thuraya satellite phone. "We were just looking forward to coming off the wind, for what would have been a fantastic ride, when one of our rudders broke. As required by the rules of the race we had a spare, which we fitted but we decided to retire from the race as a precaution. We are disheartened to say the least but happy no one got hurt and we all had a great time!"
The monohull record for The Dubai to Muscat Race was set in 2000 by Twister, skippered by Marco Graziano. In strong winds and a significant sea state the UAE registered J/105, Twister was often sailing with just a heavily reefed mainsail and completed the course in 2 days 3 hours 52 mins 31 secs.
Lee Overlay Partners need to finish the race by 14:52 and 30 secs to become the first overseas yacht to hold the record for 13 years. Today at 0940 local time, Lee Overlay Partners was 20 miles from the finish but the wind speed was dropping dramatically.
Eric Laing's Beneteau 57, Yours Truly was the first yacht to finish the race in the Club Class. Finishing in the early hours of this morning, the UAE based team have won the class for the second year in a row.
The 22nd Dubai to Muscat Race is organised under the auspices of the Royal Ocean Racing club. HH Sheikh Khaled Bin Zayed Al Nehayan was the guest of honour for the start. The 360-mile race is the longest offshore yacht race in the region and is organised by The United Arab Emirates Sailing and Rowing Federation in association with the Ministry of Sports Affairs, the Sultanate of Oman.