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Update on D2M: 14 February 2021

Dear Muscat Race Skippers,

With the recent Oman border closures and hotel quarantine requirements, combined with the current Covid situation in UAE, it is now no longer practical to plan to hold the Dubai to Muscat Offshore Race in its standard format.

At present, we still hope to hold a long distance sailing event on the weekend of 26th March, 2020. We have received approval from the UAE General Authority for Sport for the D2M, albeit with a few conditions that we still need to fulfil such as approval from the Dubai Covid Crisis committee and the lifting of the current event ban.
Therefore, we have two options under planning for a Shortened Course D2M as a two-night sailing challenge:

Preferred Option: Mini D2M, Dubai to Musandam.

  • Sail up to Musandam and around ‘Jazirat Musandam’ and through the ‘Gap’, then back to Dubai.
  • Distance 220 nm. Duration 48+/- hours.
  • Dependencies:
    • Requires support from the Oman Authorities to enter Oman territorial waters and from UAE authorities on the customs and immigration.
    • Stopping in the Musandam and going ashore will not be permitted except for emergency situations.
    • EPIRB’s are NOT compulsory.

Long distance race within Dubai and Northern Emirates.

  • Depart from DOSC on Thursday afternoon, 25th March 2021.
  • Sail a course that is designed for race boats to finish Saturday morning and cruising boats Saturday afternoon.
  • Dependencies: The current event ban in Dubai to be lifted.

If you are interested in participating in either shortened course option please notify us by email on D2M@doscuae.com  and devrimanadol@yahoo.com  so that we can have an indication of numbers. 

We will make a final decision in early March on which, if any, option can be arranged. This decision will of course be reliant on how the Covid situation develops and clarity on whether the event ban will be eased for late March or kept in place.

Best regards,

Devrim Anadol

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Notice about the 29th edition of the Dubai to Muscat Race

Dear Potential Muscat Skippers and Crew,

The most important change to recent years is that DOSC has agreed to take over the management of the race whilst the organising authority remains the Sailing and Rowing Federation (SARF). An initial DOSC race committee has been convened – see below.

The Oman Ministry of Sport has given formal written permission to continue with the race planning and we will continue to talk with all the Omani authorities to determine what procedures will be required.

The Notice of Race for the 29th edition of the Dubai to Muscat Race is under final preparation and will be issued shortly.

Clearly there will be Covid-19 restrictions regarding the race and as we will be leaving UAE waters, there may be a necessity to have Covid PCR tests prior to departure and again on arrival back in Dubai. There will likely be similar Covid testing requirements in Oman in addition to those in Dubai.

The intention is to run the race routing as normal and we are in discussion with the various authorities to make this happen. However, if Covid 19 regulations dictate, there may need to be alterations to the final finish point and we will accommodate as necessary.

We intend to start the race on Friday, Feb 26th and the time limit for arrival in Muscat will be Wednesday March 3rd at 18.00.

As with previous years we have formed a race committee of volunteers to spread the workload for race organization.

We will continue with the safety sub-committee to oversee the scrutineering and acceptance of yachts to race.

DOSC is seeking a volunteer to take over the role of Race Director, who will coordinate our race management team and take overall control of the race, ensuring  all time schedules are met with the various permission authorities.

If there are is anyone who could take on this vital role then please contact me immediately.

Our aim is to encourage as many boats to start as possible, subject to the entrants meeting the required Offshore Special Racing Regulations (OSR Cat 3 with life raft). We want to make the event attractive to all entrants from the UAE, the Gulf Region and even further overseas to provide positive benefits to potential sponsors. Increased start numbers means better photo coverage, press coverage, and TV coverage at a level commensurate with potential sponsorship expectations.

The organizing committee is encouraging all those wishing to enter the race to participate in at least one DOSC Offshore Race and/or one of the 24 hour races in this year’s DOSC calendar as that provides excellent exposure and experience. Skippers are reminded to purchase the necessary safety equipment well ahead of time, and for crew to become familiar with the procedures for sailing at night and for longer passages.

As with previous editions, to support more yachts making it to Muscat, we aim to have a RACE RESTART at the “Gap” in the Musandam for those who have been becalmed or fall behind. Prizes will be offered to the Restart race to encourage and reward boats that reach the finish line in Muscat. This may also suit the cruising fraternity who prefer to take a short break at anchor after completing the first race to the Corner, before resuming racing.

Marina Bandar al Rowhda in Muscat have confirmed we can use their marina for the finish. They will be offering free berthing again and the usual ‘refurbished’ bar and restaurant facilities.

Last year’s Professional Race Manager, Simon James has confirmed his availability as Race Officer and we are in discussion to finalise arrangements, subject to Covid travel restrictions.

We will send out regular emails from now until February 2019 that will help prompt potential competitors and keep them informed on a regular basis of all aspects of the race organisation and allow them to plan their participation in the race.

DOSC will host information nights at the club at various times prior to the race day , where all aspects of the race can be discussed in an open forum. The first information night will be Monday 14th December in the DOSC Loft at 19.00. This will assist less experienced offshore skippers in making a positive decision about entering the race.

The MAIN ADVICE IS TO PREPARE EARLY, PLAN AND PURCHASE THE REQUIRED SAFETY EQUIPMENT, MAINTAIN YOUR BOAT AND TRAIN YOUR CREW to give you the best possible chance of making it to the start line and the finish line.

If you need any help or advice then please feel free to contact Phil Ellerby at any time.

If any of the Skippers are in need of crew then please get in touch and we will try and marry you to available crew.

If you know of people in the area who are a little intimidated by the thought of racing to Muscat then please tell them to enter the race but join the cruising fleet and sail to Muscat. They will enjoy all the organizational benefits of the race management but with a more relaxed voyage. Any potential cruisers should contact Phil either by email or mobile; all details below.

Finally, if anyone knows of any other skippers in UAE, the region, or further afield, who might potentially be interested in entering the race, please forward them Phil’s contact details.

Kind regards,

Phil Ellerby
m: +971 (0) 50 6242750
Email   phill@eim.ae

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Finishing Is Winning

‘Finishing is Winning’

The Dubai to Muscat Offshore Sailing Race 2020 Review

By DOSC Sailing Manager Mitchell Webb

This week, now that the crews and boats are all safely back at DOSC, the Sail On Sunday takes the opportunity to reflect on what will, in time, prove to be a pivotal year in the history of the Dubai to Muscat Offshore Sailing Race.

As you may well be aware, we are Dubai Offshore Sailing Club. ‘Offshore’ is a word that you see as you pass through the Club entrance. It is a word that is core to our history. And it’s a word that is integral to the Club’s DNA. After all, a significant number of the boats that have berthed in the DOSC marina over the course of our history arrived in Dubai after sailing long distances.

The Dubai to Muscat Offshore Race is the longest, toughest and most challenging sailing race in the region today. A blue-ribbon event on every serious sailor’s bucket list, the race has an infectious personality that draws sailors back time and time again. With a course that runs from the Arabian Gulf to the Gulf of Oman past the infamous Straits of Hormuz, sailors are out of sight of land for much of the race and yet their strategy is wholly influenced by the geography around them; mountains and khors dictate where to find wind while the sweeping curve of the Omani coastline and the bays and headlands of the Iranian coast create sea breezes, wind bends and shut offs. Famed as a light airs race, crews invariably face every wind strength from all directions. And, after starting in sight of one of the world’s most impressive urban skylines, there is an inescapable lure to the finish when the crews find themselves embraced by the old-world charm of Muscat.

Due to recent political tensions, the status of the race was uncertain for a long time. With the backing of the UAE and Omani Authorities, in addition to support from many stakeholder organisations, the race began to take shape with only a few weeks to go. The fact that this year’s Dubai to Muscat race happened at all is a result of the wise leadership of His Excellency Sheikh Khalid, President of the UAE Sailing & Rowing Federation. We are grateful for His Excellency’s vision and unwavering support of the sport of sailing.

Our gratitude also goes to the tireless efforts of David Worrall who, as every competitor knows, devotes a huge amount of effort to ensure the success of the race every year, backed by a great team that includes Phil, John, Kat, Andy, and the race committee, Nick, Simon and Mike. The race would not have gone ahead without the efforts of the organising team who, as testament to their hard work, got 15 boats out on the start line. Coming from such uncertainty, this was a fantastic turn out and a credit to the organisers, skippers and crews.

From a fantastic 15 starters, 12 boats made it to Muscat. Without diving into the history books, I can only assume that this must be amongst the highest ratio of finishers since the race started 28 years ago.

When it comes to the Dubai to Muscat Race, the credo ‘Finishing is Winning’ stands strong. Most sailors enter a race to win or, at least, to do well. It is hard to explain the emotion of finishing this race; gratitude and relief are obvious on the faces of all those disembarking in Muscat, along with pride in having managed to stay the course. At some point between crossing the finish line and stepping off onto the dock there is a realisation that overcoming all the challenges of the race, both on a personal level and collectively as a crew, overshadows any placing or position. Personally, the memory of having to retire from the race two years ago was much more of a motivation to win than coming second last year.

I could write all about the ins and outs of this race but it seems everybody was glued to the tracker so you know what happened!

With 12 boats having reached Muscat there are 12 winners of this remarkable race and that’s the real story. This amazing spectrum of boats, crews, nationalities, sailing backgrounds all united by one shared purpose, now bonded by one shared camaraderie: 2020 Finishers.

Maverick, becalmed with no real hope of imminent breeze to set off again, retired and motored on to Muscat. The Race itself offers an exclusive opportunity to smooth the logistics of sailing to Muscat in order to explore this beautiful coastline. For the crew of Maverick, the destination was a greater focus and reward than the journey. Skipper John Ashcroft will no doubt be happy to speak to any other skippers about the benefit of simply getting to Muscat and experiencing some amazing cruising.

After Pascells Wager suffered a broken mast track halfway round, the majority of sailors finding themselves in this situation would have turned around for home. Not these two! PW motored into Dibba, made repairs and then continued on by sail and motor to Muscat. Rod and Jen, your grit and determination makes you winners.

Last year’s winners Exodus made the best of both worlds by sailing a great race before spinning the boat back around to explore the sensational Musandam Peninsula. Past master of both the race and cruising, Skipper Phil Ellerby is another fountain of information on both opportunities.

Binker, Natika and Shona all suffered the agony of early retirements last year. No doubt that fueled their collective determination to reach Muscat with a sure sense of satisfaction – which subsequently created quite a competitive Club Class Race! Hats off to these boats for sheer dogged perseverance!

Having participated twice previously, Rusalka reached the finish line at the third attempt taking Line Honors! She finished in an impressive two days, 16 hours, 35minutes and 10 seconds, successfully winning her class. Skipper Gerald supported by Lars are certainly beginning to discover the capabilities of the most stunning boat in the fleet.

The First 27 ‘Totoro’ and the Corsair F28R ‘Sabotage’ represented two of the smallest entries in the race for many years. To the untrained eye, these two teams forwent comfort, space and privacy to compete, but when you meet these crews it is clear that they are passionate about their ships. Both should be rightly proud to finish the race in tougher conditions than most.

At the sharp end of the race were El Seraya and Pink Diamond, both of whom were ‘in it to win it’. These two boats cement the credibility of the Race by maintaining the highest level of competition. Well prepared, well experienced and well sailed, these are two names you should expect to see on the trophy in coming years. In fact, there’s little chance of either team giving up until they do!

Twister, the first ever boat to win the race Doublehanded. This is an achievement Matt and I are incredibly proud of and one that could not have been achieved without the support of our colleagues, friends and family. To be honest, winning the race hasn’t actually sunk in yet; at

the heart of it, we’re just two mates who had the privilege to sail to Muscat and back – and who will remain forever thankful for the opportunity to do so. Finishing was winning.

The three retirees also deserve be mentioned. It was a mammoth effort to get AS Saif to the start line for the skipper and crew and it is such a shame that additional challenges cut their race short. The presence of a Volvo 60 not only strengthens the credibility of the race, it creates a magic feeling for the everyday sailors who get to line up on the start line alongside a world famous ocean racing yacht.

Sheikh Suhail at the helm of Dubai Dragonfly led the multihull class on multiple occasions and was sailing beautifully before retiring, one to watch for future races.

Two-time race winner David Worrall onboard Shahrazad faced very early equipment failure. A cruel blow to the man who puts so much into making the race happen. Regardless, as someone who knows from personal experience that Offshore Racing is never plain sailing, David pragmatically accepted his fate; in fact, he positioned his boat in Dibba and gladly aided and assisted the return crews, all of whom are very grateful.

We all hope to see these boats back on the start line next year!

Because we are publishing this piece on International Women’s Day 2020 we would like to dedicate special mention to six inspirational sailors. Although there is a long way to go to improve female participation in Offshore sailing, half of the boats that reached Muscat did so with a female crew member on board. Even more impressively, there were 11 women starting the race – with 50% male-female crew on board the Volvo 60.

Pia (on board Binker) and Jen (on board Pascells Wager) sailed shorthanded with only three and two crew in total respectively. A defiant feat of endurance, and a showcase of sailing talent.

Sabien (on board Rusalka) and Eva (on board Maverick) reached Muscat on the two biggest boats, both equally sharing the trimming, helming and watch keeping as integral members of both crews.

Chloe (on board Totoro) and Rita (on board Sabotage) reached Muscat as crew on the two smallest boats in the race, a tough journey for any sailor.

Congratulations to the female sailors, especially those who finished the race. You race as equals and, while you may not care for individual acclaim, your achievements and stories will no doubt inspire more female sailors to take part and go on to achieve their own goals, in both sailing and life beyond. Today we celebrate women’s achievements, #EachforEqual