Menu

Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

In association with ISA Logo Irish Sailing

Foxall & Kenefick Perform in Persian Gulf

1st March 2015
2176 Views
Foxall & Kenefick Perform in Persian Gulf

#tourofarabia – Cork and Kerry offshore sailors continue a strong performance in the Persian Gulf this week with Damian Foxall's Oman sail/EFG crew outwitting Crosshaven's David Kenefick sailing on Team Averda to lead the Tour of Arabia. 'Brutal conditions' were reported over the course of the latest 1100–mile leg with two boats in the seven boat fleet pushing speedo logs up through the hull in slamming wave conditions. 

A third place in the final leg was enough to confirm Frenchman Sidney Gavignet and his mixed Omani and European team overall winners of EFG Sailing Arabia – The Tour for the second year in a row. EFG Bank (Monaco) were not the only champions in Bahrain on Saturday however with the new Volvo Ocean Race Rookie Award for the top two Under 30 sailors of the event going to Team Renaissance Omani sailor, Ali Al Balushi and British sailor from the University of Plymouth team, Richard Mason.

A course change from east to west for the 2015 edition resulted in 14-days of testing upwind racing on the six-leg, 760-nautical mile course from Oman to Bahrain. Noted for being one of the toughest on record, the 11 pro-am racing teams with crews from 21 different nations experienced a truly unique, highly competitive, cultural adventure.

Gavignet and crew; Damian Foxall (IRL), Alex Pella (ESP), Nicolas Lunven (FRA), Fabien Delahaye (FRA), Mohammed Al Mujaini (OMA), Abdull Rahman Al Mashari (OMA), and Abdallah Al Shukaili (OMA), sailed an impressive series but they didn't have it all their own way.

They were chased hard throughout by Marcel Herrera and his young student team from Plymouth University on Team Averda, who took second overall, and Zain Sailing Team from Kuwait headed by seasoned Tour competitor Cédric Pouligny with Gérald Véniard navigating, who finished third.

Gavignet was delighted with the result: "It feels good to have achieved the goal we set, we had a great atmosphere onboard, which I believe helped our performance."

"It is clearly harder and longer than previous editions. I believe the tougher it is, the more its reputation will grow particularly for pro Volvo Ocean Race teams looking for a training ground."

The three Omanis onboard the EFG Bank (Monaco) winning team, plus the Omani Renaissance crew and Navy of Oman team are testimony to Oman Sail's vision of developing the region's sailing talent and rekindling its rich maritime heritage through creating role models to inspire the next generation of sailors.

Kerry-born Damian Foxall, Ireland's greatest offshore sailor, was enthusiastic about the progress made: "This event is a good tool to validate the progress of the Omanis. In previous years the crews struggled to visualise what the life of a professional sailor could be like. Now I think they like the idea which helps them progress quicker."

As one of the toughest on record, the 2015 event has endorsed its status as a prime option for professional teams seeking winter training venues and for young aspiring offshore sailors seeking a race that will put them to the test. Volvo Ocean Race recognition of the event as a leading development race for young offshore sailors and the new Volvo Rookie Award for the top two Under 30 sailors has added another avenue of competition. This year's lucky recipients will be flown to Newport, one of the Volvo stopovers for a weekend to watch the in port and pro am racing.

"EFG Sailing Arabia – The Tour is tough, even for hardened Irish sailors like me," said Foxall. "But the Tour package makes life really easy for teams that want to just turn up and race. You can concentrate on the sailing and not have to worry about boat prep because there's a technical team on hand all the way."

Three members of the Chinese Volvo Ocean Race team Dongfeng used the event as a tool to enhance their performance. Kit Cheng from Hong Kong said: "It was tougher than Leg 3 of the Volvo, so for training purposes, it is perfect!"

Second placed Marcel Herrera, skipper of British boat Team Averda, was thrilled with his result: "This shows consistency and proves that last year wasn't just a fluke. I am very happy with our result."

The all-Omani team who finished fifth aboard Team Renaissance gave an indication of how the Omani sailors have progressed. Their best result was a second place on Leg 5 – the toughest in the five-year history of the event. Fahad Al Hasni, a regular on the Oman Sail MOD70 trimaran and skipper for EFG SATT, said: "We have improved such a lot as a team, and I have every reason to believe we'll be on the podium in 2016."

With more and more teams recognising EFG Sailing Arabia – The Tour as a prime event on the global circuit, this unique Middle East sailing adventure is on the brink of progressing to a new level with the potential of an even larger, more competitive fleet next year.

Overall Results

EFG Bank (Monaco) 12pts
Team Averda (UK) 21.25pts
Zain (KUW) 29.50pts
TU Delft (NED) 29.75pts
Renaissance (OMA) 39pts
Al Thuraya (OMA) 41.75pts
Bienne Voile (SUI) 42.75pts
GAC powered by DongFeng (CHN) 44.50pts
OMIFCO (OMA) 64pts
Royal Navy Oman (OMA) 69pts
IMCO (OMA) 70.25pts

Published in Offshore
Afloat.ie Team

About The Author

Afloat.ie Team

Email The Author

Afloat.ie is Ireland's dedicated marine journalism team.

Have you got a story for our reporters? Email us here.

We've got a favour to ask

More people are reading Afloat.ie than ever thanks to the power of the internet but we're in stormy seas because advertising revenues across the media are falling fast. Unlike many news sites, we haven’t put up a paywall because we want to keep our marine journalism open.

Afloat.ie is Ireland's only full–time marine journalism team and it takes time, money and hard work to produce our content.

So you can see why we need to ask for your help.

If everyone chipped in, we can enhance our coverage and our future would be more secure. You can help us through a small donation. Thank you.

Direct Donation to Afloat button

Featured Sailing School

INSS sidebutton

Featured Clubs

dbsc mainbutton
Howth Yacht Club
Kinsale Yacht Club
National Yacht Club
Royal Cork Yacht Club
Royal Irish Yacht club
Royal Saint George Yacht Club

Featured Brokers

mgm sidebutton
bjmarine sidebutton
xyachts sidebutton

Featured Associations

ISA sidebutton
ICRA
isora sidebutton

Featured Events

tokyo sidebutton
sovscup sidebutton
vdlr sidebutton

Featured Chandleries

CHMarine Afloat logo
osm sidebutton
viking sidebutton

Featured Sailmakers

northsails sidebutton
uksails sidebutton

Featured Marinas

dlmarina sidebutton

Featured Blogs

W M Nixon - Sailing on Saturday
podcast sidebutton
mansfield sidebutton
BSB sidebutton
sellingboat sidebutton

Please show your support for Afloat by donating