Endurances races such as EFG Sailing Arabia – The Tour are familiar territory for Pindar skipper Nick Moloney but staying fit and fresh throughout the 15 day epic will be the crucial test that could win or lose his crew the race. Moloney’s crew are mainly Chinese sourced from the Dongfeng Race Team, which races for China in the Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15.
Most of the crew are successful Olympic class sailors who have made the switch to big boat racing with the ambition of forming an all-Chinese crew for a future edition of the Volvo Ocean Race.
This is their first entry in the EFG Sailing Arabia – The Tour, which was established by Oman Sail partly to showcase the GCC region for its fantastic sailing conditions and also to create the only Pan-GCC offshore sailing race of its kind, but the crew have trained together in the Round Hainan Regatta and the China Cup, and are both talented and ‘super competitive’. “They are all great sailors,” says Moloney who won the Jules Verne Trophy, sailing non-stop around the world in 2002 and competed in the Vendee Globe in 2005. “But as can only be expected some are still finding their feet offshore and so will have to adapt quickly to consistently finish on the podium.”
“Everyone is experienced on Pindar. We have a very solid team and the guys are going to love the Farr 30. They are like a big dinghy. Night sailing could be interesting and there will be a lot of it during the 760 nms course but that will be the same for most of the crews.
“Tactics will be difficult for anyone who hasn’t sailed the course, which is everyone this year because it is being run backwards! I am sure there will be serious thermal and geographical effects on the course and I doubt those who have done it before will help us, so I’m sure there will be some struggles but this is new to us and we love new challenges.”
Since EFG Sailing Arabia – The Tour was launched in 2011, the fleet has crossed the start line every year in Manama in Bahrain and finished up in Muscat, Oman with stops at Dubai, Ras-Al-Khaimah and Abu Dhabi in the UAE, as well as Qatar, but for the 5th edition, the route has been reversed which is set to raise its profile as a demanding endurance event for both professionals and amateurs. Moloney believes his experience racing big boats around the world in the Volvo Ocean Race, Vendee Globe and Jules Verne will be a big advantage in raising performance levels on Pindar.
“My experience in the Vendee Globe has given me a good understanding of sleep deprivation and how big an effect it has on performance,” he said.
“I will push the guys to sleep if needs be. They will all want to be on deck but I will be strong in forcing them to get their heads down because they have to stay fresh. Fatigue could lose us the race so rest is key.”
“If it is apples for apples, we will definitely be in the game. Every team in the fleet is a threat and if Sidney is the favourite that means we are underdogs and that will suit us.”
EFG Sailing Arabia – The Tour 2015 starts on Wednesday February 15th following three days of training and is likely to take around 15 days, with stopovers at some of the region’s finest marinas.
- Nick Moloney
- Ying Kit Cheng
- Liu Ming (Leo)
- Yuye Yan
- ChenChen Kong
- Henry Woodhouse
- Training sessions – 11-14th February, Muscat
- Leg 1 – 15th February, Muscat – Sohar
- Leg 2 – 17th February, Sohar – RAK
- Leg 3 – 19th February, RAK – Dubai
- Leg 4 – 23rd February, Dubai – Abu Dhabi
- Leg 5 – 24th February, Abu Dhabi – Doha
- Leg 6 – 26th February, Doha – Manama