In this edition of Go Yachting we take you on a pan-Asia tour of sailing events, starting with the Sailing Arabia – The Tour 2012. A six leg Tour of the Arabian Peninsula starting in Bahrain and finishing in Oman, taking in Qatar and the UAE along the way.
Then we head to Australia for the 2012 Etchells World Championships where a highly competitive fleet of 75 boats compete for the World Title.
Finally we arrive on the tropical island of Samui for an update on one of Asia’s favourite boutique regattas, the 2012 Samui Regatta.
Sailing Arabia – The Tour 2012
In early 2011, Oman Sail established the first international sailing regatta, that joined together the nations of the Gulf in a competitive race around the region. Sailing Arabia – The Tour was born.
Six teams participated in the first edition of The Tour. The 2012 edition developed on last years success with a total of 8 teams, including the first all-female team and sailing celebrity Dee Caffari.
Members of the 2011 winning team, Team New Caledonia, returned to compete this year alongside teams from Bahrain, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, UAE and France.
The 2012 route traversed the Arabian Peninsula, starting from Manama in Bahrain, and ending in Muscat in Oman. 14 days. 4 nations. And 760 nautical miles of sailing.
The aim of Sailing Arabia – The Tour was to establish a course that would complement events such as the Tour de France a la Voile, making Oman and the Arabian Peninsula a legitimate winter venue in the world’s sailing calendar.
The route is stunning. Stopping at seven marinas along the way, each leg offers a diversity of sailing experiences and challenges, mixing passage races with in-port sailing.
The day time starts produced some exciting startline action and as the races progressed, teams spread out, opting for different tactics with the hope of gaining a jump on the others.
Despite attracting global sailing events in recent years, such as the Extreme Sailing Series in Oman, the Arabian Peninsula is relatively unknown for its sailing. Sailing Arabia – The Tour aims to put the region on the map, showcasing the unique sailing conditions and stunning natural scenery that the Gulf has to offer.
As day turned to dusk, and dusk to night, tactics became important as crews attempted to gain places in the dark.
A first for the Tour, the all ladies team was skippered by record-breaking round-the-world yachtswoman Dee Caffari. And while attracting plenty of attention from the media, the team put in a good and consistent performance, just missing out on the podium with a fourth place overall.
The success of the 2012 Tour was evident with skippers and crews having enjoyed the sailing, the competition and the camaraderie.
Also in this episode:
2012 Etchells World Championship – The 2012 Etchells World Championship welcomed 74 boats and crews to the waters of Sydney, Australia. Organised by the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron, conditions were a mixed bag over the 6 days, with racing having to be cancelled on Day 2 due to large seas and heavy winds.
A variety of crews took part, including past champions and seasoned sailors. The Etchells fleet are trying to encourage more young sailors, and this was evident at the Worlds with two 12-year-olds amongst the international crews.
After an intense 9-race battle, the podium places went to three Australian teams.
With the sailing pedigree of Jon Bertrand, Tom Slingsby and David Giles of Team Triad, it was never going to be easy. But the hometown team Iron Lotus, of Tom King, Ivan Wheen, David Edwards and Owen McMahon, came out on top to take the overall win and be crowned 2012 Etchells World Champions.
New, old hands for Samui Regatta – The boutique Samui Regatta, one of the most popular tropical regattas on the Asian Circuit, is readying up for the 2012 edition with some new old hands on the helm. The Regatta’s Principal Race Officer for many years, Simon James, has taken over stewardship of the Samui Regatta for 2012 and the future.
In 2011, the Regatta celebrated it’s 10th anniversary and plans for this year are to continue the popular traditions of a beach-based Regatta headquartered at long-term host, Centara Grand Beach Resort Samui.
No doubt the Regatta will continue to grow from strength-to-strength and its popularity soar as the new, old hands of James steers it through its next decade.