Way to go Raya and Dee!

Making history at 2013 Rolex Fastnet Race…

Oman Sail’s Raya al Habsi was chosen by Rising Tide Leadership Institute Ambassador Dee Caffari to join the crew on Oman Air-Musandam MOD70 trimaran in this year’s 608 mile Fastnet race which started yesterday in Cowes, England ~ enabling her to become the FIRST Omani woman to race offshore and take part in the Rolex Fastnet Race. A record fleet left Cowes, England yesterday, with 347 starters from 20 countries for the 45th edition of the Rolex Fastnet Race (which first took place in 1925), with both men and women competing in the same race for the FIRST time. Meanwhile at Plymouth Yacht Haven crowds of press, friends and relatives of crew begin to gather, waiting for the boats to start arriving.

oman-air Fastnet

MOD70 Oman Air rounding the Fastnet Rock earlier today.

Raya feature

Raya commented before race start: “I am excited and I know maybe I will face hard times. But I am ready to face those times and do what I need to. I want to get to the end of the race and feel proud. I know very little about the ‘Mod70’ Oman Air-Musandam, but I know you have to be strong in body and strong in mind as well.”

Rolex Fastnet Race reports an intriguing dust-up is taking place between the world’s fastest competing yachts:

After an excellent start, the 40m trimaran, Spindrift 2, led the Multihull division along the south coast of England last night, but earlier this morning off Land’s End it was the Sidney Gavignet-skippered MOD70, Oman Air-Musandam, that had moved into the first place, despite being half Spindrift’s length. Crossing the Celtic Sea, it was then the turn of the 31.5m trimaran, Banque Populaire, to edge ahead. But at the Fastnet Rock, Spindrift 2, just managed to get her nose in front, rounding at 14.03:08 BST with the Armel le Cleac’h skippered Banque Populaire right on her transom.

“It is a great match,” enthused Spindrift 2’s co-skipper, Yann Guichard, this afternoon. “Right now, Banque Populaire is just 300m to windward and we are doing the same speed and the same angle.”

In theory the bigger boat should be faster, but Guichard says that in the 18-19 knot winds they have, the smaller Banque Populaire benefits from being lighter. “We are too heavy, so it is really close. We gybed first and she gybed just to windward, so it is like a match race – it is definitely not over yet.”

Click to follow the race!