AL MOUJ MUSCAT

New kids on the block in 2016, the highly rated Team Al Mouj finished in second place behind winners EFG Bank Monaco and now have their sights set on the ultimate prize. Backed by the Sultanate of Oman’s leading leisure and lifestyle destination in Muscat, they have a new skipper in 2017 with Frenchman Christian Ponthieu stepping into Nico Lunven’s shoes after being part of the promising 2016 campaign. Gilles Favennec returns as trimmer and Erwan Le Roux takes on the role of navigator while Sultan Al Balushi who in 2012 became the youngest Omani to qualify as an internationally certified sailing instructor and Nawaf al Ghadani, Chief Instructor at Oman Sail’s Sur Sailing School proudly fly the Omani flag. Sponsors Al Mouj (The Wave, Muscat) are one of Oman sailing’s most ardent supporters with a string of trophies engraved with their brand and recognition for their waterfront development, marina, golf course, shops and offices spreading across the world.

  • Christian Ponthieu, skipper
  • Gilles Favennec
  • Gregory Gendron
  • Erwan Leroux
  • Sultan Al Balushi
  • Nawaf al Ghadani
  • William Harris

TEAM AVERDA

Andrew ‘Hammy’ Baker has stepped in as skipper of Team Averda in 2017 for Marcel Herrera who is now team manager. Twice since 2011, the team has been runner up (once as Team Messe Frankfurt and again as Team Averda), but both Andrew and Marcel are convinced that the team of fledgling offshore specialists, all leading the way amongst a new generation of young solo sailors, has what it takes to nail a win in 2017. Andrew Baker and Robin Elsey are both graduates of Britain’s Artemis Offshore Academy with Solitaire Bompard Le Figaro campaigns in 2015 and 2016 under their belts. Team Averda made a strong start in 2016, winning the opening in-port races in Dubai and then the first leg from Dubai to Abu Dhabi and finished 3rd overall after coming 6th in the short final leg from Sohar to Muscat. A well organised and ambitious contender, Team Averda is sponsored by Averda, the largest integrated waste management service provider in the MENA region.

  • Marcel Herrera, team manager (injured and offsite)
  • Andrew “Hammy” Baker, skipper
  • Dave Kenefick
  • Ed Davison
  • Ollie Mellor
  • Robin Elsey
  • Liam Gardner

BIENNE VOILE

Named after the crew’s home town in Switzerland and back in the Gulf for their third attempt on the EFG Sailing Arabia – The Tour title.  Bienne Voile is an amateur team of talented recreational sailors who mostly train and race on a lake at Neuchatel. The team is put together by skipper Lorenz Mueller and features a wide age range from teenager to sexagenarian and an even wider range of professions including a physicist, architect and physiotherapist. They boast 15 Tour de France a la Voiles and a few Fastnet Race caps between them. Bienne Voile first competed in 2015 coming 7th which they repeated the following year with their two best results coming in the legs from Sohar to Muscat and from Abu Dhabi to Doha where they finished 4th. Committed to a rotation policy to offset fatigue over the two weeks, they start out with the biggest squad in the fleet.

  • Lorenz Mueller
  • Thierry Bosshart
  • Michael Schoedon
  • Robert Hartmann
  • Lorenz Kausche
  • Barbara Brugger
  • Elianne Böni
  • Philipp Brugger
  • Stephan Ammann
  • Bettina Heydrich
  • Jann Schüpach
  • Karin Nordstoem
  • Damian Suri
  • Dominique Müller-Devaux, Team manager
  • Katharina Rodharth, Speaker

DB SCHENKER

Dutch Olympic sailor Annemeike Bes will be standing in for British sailing superstar Dee Caffari as skipper of the all women crew on DB Schenker comprising 50% Omanis and 50% European. They include Volvo Ocean Race meteorologist Libby Greenhalgh, Caffari’s teammate on Team SCA in the 2015 race and Hannah Diamond, a former member of the British Olympic sailing squad. Ibtisam Al Salmi one of the Middle East’s first professional female sailors is one of four Omani sailors on board as well as Marwa Al Khaifi and Tamadher Al Balushi, both sailing instructors for Oman Sail, who competed in SATT with Caffari last year. This will be the 5th time an all-women’s crew has participated in EFG Sailing Arabia – The Tour with a 4th in 2014 their best result. In 2017, their mission is to inspire other women from the GCC states by showing what Omani women can achieve. The team is backed by German transportation and logistics firm DB Schenker who are first time sponsors of EFG Sailing Arabia – The Tour.

  • Annemeike Bes, skipper
  • Mary Rook
  • Hannah Diamond
  • Libby Greenhalgh
  • Hajer Al Balushi
  • Ibtisam Al Salmi
  • Marwa Al Khaifi
  • Tamathir Al Balushi

ADELASIA DI TORRES SAILING TEAM

Brand new team from Italy, put together by Costa Esmeralda based ship-owner Renato Azara, a keen sailor and managing director of Sardinia Yacht Services, the world-renowned crew and yacht management agency on the Emerald Coast. In his first season with his M37 ‘Adelasia di Torres’, he won the Formenton Trophy Regatta in the racing division, took a class win in the Rolex Middle Sea Race and a third place overall in the ORC group.  Azara will be joined by Caterina Nitto who has 20 years of experience as a long-distance sailor, sailing instructor and captain of ships, sailboats and motorboats. Duccio Colombi, founder and owner of Phi! Number and winner of 11 Italian Championships in different classes, two European Championships and four World Championships, will be bringing his professional experience to bear on this largely amateur but determined crew who are also new to Farr 30 racing.

  • Renato Azara
  • Caterina Nitto
  • Duccio Colombi
  • Enrico Zennaro
  • Evero Nicolini
  • Alessandro Santangelo
  • Maurizio Loberto

EFG BANK MONACO

French duo Thierry Douillard and Mathieu Richard are charged with responsibility for maintaining EFG Bank Monaco’s proud tradition of winning EFG Sailing Arabia – The Tour three times. They replace skipper Sidney Gavignet who is having knee surgery, but have big reputations of their own with Douillard, who skippered the Diam 24 Oman Airports by Oman Sail in this year’s Tour de France a la Voile, finding success on the America’s Cup, Extreme Sailing Series and World Match Racing circuits and helmsman Richard, one of the most distinguished skippers on the World Match Racing Tour. Fabien Delahaye and Guillaume Le Brec from France return to defend their title while Omanis Raad Al Hadi and Haitham Al Wahaibi, both Oman Sail sailing instructors, are also on board, having recently completed the Dubai to Muscat Race and bringing all important local knowledge to the campaign. Backed by the event sponsor EFG who have supported four SATT campaigns and helped the event earn its status as the most highly regarded sailing event in the region.

  • Thierry Douillard, skipper
  • Mathieu Richard
  • Fabien Delahaye
  • Guillaume Le Brec
  • Raad Al Hadi
  • Haitham Al Wahaibi
  • Gabriele Olivio

TEAM RENAISSANCE

Team Renaissance, skippered by Fahad Al Hasni who first competed in the inaugural Sailing Arabia – The Tour back in 2011, is sponsored by the Omani multinational oil and gas company and comprises 90% Omani talent with French navigator Guillaume Berenger returning to the campaign. Last year, they finished in fourth place just one point off the podium, after posting second places in both the second leg from Abu Dhabi to Doha and the last one from Sohar to Muscat. The Team Renaissance crew features some familiar faces from Oman including three of Al Hasni’s teammates from Oman Sail’s MOD70 Musandam-Oman Sail, Sami Al Shukaili, Ali Al Balushi and Yasir Al Rahbi, all of them experienced SATT campaigners. Abdulrahman Al Mashari, a member of Team Renaissance last year and Akram Al Wahaibi will also be on board. This will be Al Hasni and Renaissance’s 7th SATT, the best result coming in the inaugural race in 2011 where they finished second.

  • Fahad Al Hasni, skipper
  • Abdulrahman Al Mashari
  • Ali Al Balushi
  • Guillaume Berenger
  • Akram Al Wahaibi
  • Sami Al Shukaili
  • Yasir Al Rahbi

TEAM ZAIN

Kuwait-based Team Zain first contested EFG Sailing Arabia – The Tour in 2015 as part of a corporate team building programme but now, the focus is on achieving an inspirational result for the company which provides mobile and data services to more than 45 million active individual and business customers across eight Middle Eastern and African countries. The team is unchanged from last year with French skipper Cedric Pouligny and navigator Gerald Veniard back in charge and heading up a crew who are drawn from Zain’s 7,000 strong workforce. Back in 2015, they responded to a company questionnaire asking for interest in taking part in EFG Sailing Arabia – The Tour and a few months later, eight of them were competing for the first time, finishing to great acclaim in 3rd place. Last year, they were 5th but are determined that better preparations in 2017 will result in more consistent performances both offshore and inshore and another appearance on the podium.

  • Cedric Pouligny, skipper
  • Charbel El Mir
  • Frederic Miller
  • Gerald Veniard
  • Michael Miller
  • Michel El Khabbaz
  • Olivier Gimmig
  • Rukesh Sharda