[singlepic=1128,250,170,,left]Vela e multiscafi – Muscat – Che l’interesse del Medio Oriente verso la vela sia in crescita non è certo una novità, e le notizie che giungono dall’Oman non fanno che confermare quella che ormai è più di una sensazione.
Dopo aver esordito nell’iShare Cup 2008 a bordo dei catamarani Extreme 40, l’Oman Sail ha infatti concluso l’acquisto di B&Q, il maxi trimarano con cui Ellen Mac Arthur ha stabilito il suo record sul giro del mondo. Data al multiscafo una nuova livrea e un nuovo nome – Musandam – un equipaggio ha iniziato ad allenarsi in vista di una prima circumnavigazione del globe che avrà inizio durante il mese di gennaio.
Contestualmente allo sforzo agonistico, il management del sailing team ha da poco annunciato di aver avviato i lavori di costruzione di un maxi trimarano, nato sulla base dei disegni tracciati da Nigel Irens e Benoit Cabaret per Sodeb’O e IDEC, detentore il primo del record di percorrenza nelle dodici ore, il secondo del record sul giro del mondo senza scalo. L’imbarcazione, lunga cento piedi, sarà costruita in Australia e verrà leggermente modificata rispetto al progetto originale nel tentativo di creare una nuova classe monotipo da lanciare nei ricchi mercati medio orientali.
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Video courtesy Oman Sail.
ARABIAN 100, OMAN SAIL’S NEW FLAGSHIP MULTIHULL
[Oman Sail Press Release] Currently being built in Australia and destined to be the first ever modern ocean racing boat to be assembled in the Middle-East, the first Arabian 100 trimaran will, when she hits the water in the winter of 2009, become part of a select group of the longest sailing trimarans ever built. She will join the Oman Sail Racing Team fleet as the largest sailing boat to be based in Middle-East region and, along with Musandam (ex-B&Q), form the embryo of a fleet of ocean racing boats based in the Arabian Peninsula.
As announced recently, Musandam plans to depart for her first big ocean challenge in the new colours of Oman Sail on January 8th – aiming to get the first ever Omani around the world. The heart of Oman Sail is about getting Omanis out on the water, from beginners through the Oman Sail Academy to the highest level of ocean competition, and the new Arabian 100 trimaran will provide the team with unrivalled capacity to develop ocean racing in the Gulf and Indian Ocean.
This new Oman Sail flagship has been been conceived as the first member of a new One-Design class (identical boats), rather than a one-off boat. On purpose, Oman Sail have not opted to simply build a bigger and better boat with records like the Jules Verne in mind – instead the new Arabian 100 will provide a challenging and exciting platform very suitable to the often lighter wind conditions in the region as well as the storms of the Southern Ocean, and within reach of the sailing capabilities of the developing Oman Sail team in the coming years. If, as it is hoped, the Arabian 100 becomes the Class of choice for other developing sailing teams in the region, thereby avoiding the arms race seen in other big unlimited multihull classes, the One Design aspect will create close-combat racing whilst remaining in a context of controlled costs.
Proud heir of the Musandam world-record breaking trimaran, the Arabian 100 is an already proven concept, developed by multihull experts Nigel Irens (UK) and Benoît Cabaret (FRA). Oman’s new flagship is a direct development of Francis Joyon’s IDEC, round-the-world record holder, and sistership to Thomas Coville’s Sodeb’O, currently attempting to break IDEC‘s reference time, and new holder of the solo 24-hour record, both also designed by the Irens/Cabaret partnership. Although the Arabian 100 will differ to her counterparts in terms of deck and interior layouts, since unlike the French trimarans she has been adapted to be raced by a full crew of up to five.
When working on the blueprint of this new speed machine, the designers took Dame Ellen MacArthur’s B&Q (now Musandam) as a reference and adjusted the general balance given the increased proportions of just over 100 feet (32 metres). Relying on a long central hull that extends beyond the lateral floats, the Arabian 100 is safe at high speeds in rough sea conditions – her massive bow prevents dangerous nose-dives whilst sailing downwind, and thus allows for high average speeds over long periods of time.
The sailplan, the “engine” of the boat, has been carefully designed to remain manageable even in stormy conditions, and the mast is stepped rather far aft in order to take some pressure off the forward sections (again to prevent nose-diving). To add clearance, the crossbeams are high above the water, ensuring the boat will not sustain any damage by repeatedly hitting the crests of waves – a phenomenon which has been known to become a speed-reducing factor for many ocean-going multihulls.
Capable of speeds in excess of 35 knots (65 kph), this giant trimaran is clearly among the fastest ocean racers ever conceived, yet her programme will not include the classic European based records or solo races, being instead focused on the development of ocean racing in, and from, the Arabian peninsula region, and extending out along historical trading routes to Asia and Africa. At the head of the Indian Ocean and the gatekeeper of the entrance to the Gulf, Oman looks south to Antarctica, and east to India and Asia. These are the playgrounds for the ocean racing part of Oman Sail, and it is hoped in future, professional ocean racing in the Gulf region in general as other countries in the region take up the challenges that the new Arabian 100 Class offer.
The first Arabian 100 should be sailing by the winter 2009, and the production has been implemented to allow the construction of further identical boats for 2010 if the challenge is taken up elsewhere.
The Arabian 100 in figures
Length: 105 ft – 32 metres
Width: 54 ft – 16.50 metres across its 3 hulls
Mast height: 115 ft – 35 metres
Maximum sail area (approx): 5,920 square feet – 550 square metres
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