(MENAFN - Muscat Daily) Oman became the centre of attention at the world's largest sailing event and northern Europe's biggest summer festival Kieler Woche recently after Oman Sail's flagship MOD70 set a new race record which drew German visitors to the Oman tourism exhibition pavilion in their thousands.
Over the space of nine days, the Baltic Sea port played host to crowds in excess of 3mn and many of them, alerted to the buzz created by Musandam-Oman Sail when it smashed the 44.3km Kiel Week Welcome Race record from Kiel to Eckernforde by almost 20 minutes, paid a visit to the Omani pavilion to find out more.
The Lord Mayor of Kiel, Ulf Kaempfer, was one of those who went sailing on Musandam- Oman Sail, teaming up with a mixed international crew led by skipper Damian Foxall which featured three Omanis - Mohsin al Busaidi, Sami al Shukaili and Yassir al Rahbi - and two German sailors - Timmy Kroger and Anna-Maria Renken. ''It was awesome,'' he said afterwards. ''What a thrilling boat. I steered about half an hour and apparently I was not too bad.
We did ten knots plus and were by far the fastest boat in the fjord! ''Before I was given the helm though I had to grind and trim the foresail with the Omani sailor Sami. All in all, it was a great experience that I would not have missed for the world. ''This Musandam-Oman Sail project is like a mirror of Kieler Woche. It stands for a colourful internationality and I had a great time on board with all of them. ''Kiel was very pleased to have Oman Sail here this year with such an exciting multihull.''
The MOD70 proved a real headturner despite the presence of 2,000 other boats and tourism officials from Oman Sail and Oman's Ministry of Tourism in Germany reported a brisk footfall in the exhibition pavilion and plenty of questions about Oman. ''If you judge our popularity by how many Omani dates we handed out and how many hands and feet we tattooed with Omani henna, we can pronounce Kiel a great success because the queue for our henna artist snaked around the pavilion almost every day and in just four days, we got through 10kg of dates,'' said Huda Sultan, venue manager and Oman Sail's head of marketing.
''The most common questions revolved around where Oman is and how does one get there, and we were prepared with maps and montages to show them the answers. We even had details of Oman Air flights between Oman and Germany so no stone was left untur