The initiative, organised by Oman Sail and Tour sponsors EFG International, allowed the youngsters, aged between 9-13 years old, an opportunity to meet this year’s competitors and chat to skipper of the EFG Bank (Monaco) boat, Sidney Gavignet – one of France’s most respected and well-known offshore sailors, and winner of Legs 1 and 3.
Gavignet shared his sailing adventures and told the children about how he first started sailing as a child, giving them the inspiration to perhaps take up the sport of sailing one day. Following the interesting chat with Gavignet, the youngsters were taken down to the marina and given a tour of the highly-tuned EFG Bank (Monaco) racing boat to meet crewmember Mohammed Al Mujaini where he explained the roles of the crew and their responsibilities on the boat while racing.
“Sailing has the power to connect the community and teach valuable skills to people of all ages. Oman Sail aims to encourage more people to take up sailing, either as a leisure pursuit or as a career. We are working together with EFG International to rekindle the region’s maritime heritage and make sailing accessible to the youth across the region.”
She added, “EFG Sailing Arabia – The Tour visits eight of the best-equipped marinas in the Gulf and offers local children an up-close look at the life-changing possibilities created through sport allowing them to meet some of the inspiring local and international figures who represent their countries around the world.”
George Catsiapis, Managing Director of EFG International, said, “As the title sponsor of EFG Sailing Arabia – The Tour, the sport has always been close to our hearts and we are proud to support this activity by introducing the youth to sailing. We firmly believe that sport can teach valuable life skills such as leadership and teamwork, while also building confidence and sparking creativity.”
The youngsters left the marina full of enthusiasm and bid the crews farewell as they prepared for the relatively short 60nm Leg 4 sprint from Dubai to Abu Dhabi. Although it will be a relatively straightforward passage, a lively north-westerly breeze is expected and will result in a fast leg.