(MENAFN - Muscat Daily) Oman Sail teams in the M34 and J80 class came up with impressive results at the Normandy Sailing Week that concluded at the port of Le Havre in France on Sunday.
While the Sidney Gavignetled M34 team came third (49 points) in a fleet of seven boats, the predominantly women crew on board Al Thuraya finished 12th in a fleet of 36 teams in the J80 class. Groupama 34, skippered by Franck Cammas, won the top honours in the M34 class with 21 points, while Interface Concept, led by Simon Moriceau, won the J80 event with ten points.
Daniel Souben led Courrier Dunkerque to second place with 42 points in the M34 class. Gavignet said, ''Things went well for Oman Sail at the Normandy Sailing Week. We wanted a podium place and we got one. We're happy with our new recruits. The Omani sailors were fantastic with the manoeuvres. I am happy with our progress. There was a great battle on the water with the other boats.'' Oman Sail M34 crew member Nasser al Mashari was satisfied with the experience.
''The standard of our crew is excellent. We did a good job during this event, our boathandling was fluid and the communication on board was good. We are ready for the Tour de France a la Voile (TDV). If we can keep these results going, then a podium finish in the TDV is within our reach.'' The TDV starts on July 4 in Dunkerque, France. Cammas complimented Gavignet's crew after the win, saying, ''We're happy with our performance, though we still have a few points we can improve on.
''The competition and Oman Sail, in particular, have made a lot of progress. In the TDV, it's likely to be a four-way battle with Courrier Dunkerque, the Omanis and Bretagne Credit Mutuel.'' In the J80 class, Oman Sail's Al Thuraya had only one man on board in Yasser al Rahbi, while the rest of the crew comprised women sailors, including British Olympian Mary Rook. Rook said, ''We had strong winds at the Normandy Sailing Week, and as we had practised boat-handling during training, we were able to focus on tactics and close-quarter sailing a lot more during the competition.
''For us, the highlight on Sunday was when we passed ten boats and caught right up with the leaders on one of the downwind legs - it was exciting for the team. We are all very pleased with our 12th-place finish. The team has made a lot of progress since the start of the season.''
Prior to the Normandy Sailing Week, Al Thuraya participated in the Si Ouest and Grand Prix Ecole Navale regattas. It now takes a ten-day break before participating in the European Championships in Barcelona, Spain starting on June 27.
Results: M34: 1 Groupama 34 (21 pts), 2 Courrier Dunkerque (41), 3 Oman Sail (49). J80: 1 Interface Concept (10), 2 Courrier Junior (22), 3 Gan'ja (27), 12 Al Thuraya (94