Zain Sailing team aims high in 2016 Sailing Arabia-The Tour race
– ‘Farr 30’ sailing yacht commissioned by Zain, Huawei and Clifford Chance
– 16-day, 760 nautical mile race begins in Dubai and finishes in Muscat
Zain Group, a leading mobile telecom innovator in eight markets across the Middle East and Africa, announces its participation, for the second year running, in the sixth edition of the EFG Sailing Arabia-The Tour (SATT) 2016 competition. This event is the Gulf region’s leading offshore race, and is organized by Oman Sail.
The Zain team which surprised many by finishing a sensational third in last year’s event and even winning one of the legs, has partnered again with global technology provider Huawei and global law firm Clifford Chance to race a high performance racing yacht – a ‘Farr 30’- which will carry the logos of all three partners. The Zain team benefits from the close support and patronage of Zain vice- chairman, Bader Al Kharafi who was a key part of the sailing crew last year.
The new 760 nautical-mile sailing route will begin in Dubai, UAE on 15 February, passing through Abu Dhabi, Doha, Khasab, Sohar and ending in Muscat, Oman on 29 February. EFG Sailing Arabia – The Tour delivers high level racing, attracting top amateur and professional sailors from four continents in one of the most beautiful sailing destinations. The Farr 30 is one of the most exciting boats on the professional sailing circuit and as a one-design event, the focus is on the skills: the intense racing stretches each crew to the full, testing their skill, teamwork and versatility.
The eight-person crew includes sailing novices from Zain and Huawei’s management ranks, together representing a very mixed level of sailing proficiency. They will be led by two sailing veterans, Cedric Pouligny, the skipper; and Gerald Veniard, the navigator, who are previous winners of the EFG SATT race. Between them these two veterans of the sport have competed in the sailing race in every year since its establishment, and they are both highly accomplished offshore sailors, with numerous Transat races, Tour de France a la Voile, and Route du Rhum achievements to their credit. They will race against teams from Britain, Switzerland, Monaco, Germany, The Netherlands, UAE and Oman.
Commenting on Zain’s participation in this annual event for the second time, Zain Group CEO Scott Gegenheimer said, “The remarkable third-place finish by the Zain sailing team in 2015 has spurred us on to seek further success in this year’s race. As a leading telecom brand that values team work, bold actions and a sense of adventure, we are delighted to again support this important cultural tradition of sailing in the region, with its environmentally friendly image, promotion of physical activity, technical precision and coordination.”
The 2016 EFG SATT race is expected to throw up a number of unique challenges for the Zain sailing team. As the traditional route has been redesigned to visit six of the region’s most prestigious sailing venues, it will create a more exacting test for the boat and crew in the form of strong and sustained headwinds in the early stages. In addition, the crew will have to overcome difficult currents along with other obstacles (fishing nets, unlit oil installations, and so forth), as well as all the shipping traffic in one of the world’s busiest waterways.
Supporting Zain’s participation in the sailing race are two key strategic business partners. Huawei, one of the world’s leading suppliers of mobile telecom equipment and smartphones, is marking its 16th year in the Middle East. The company is a major supporter of sport across the GCC, and has a strong interest in promoting sustainable business around the world. Clifford Chance is a leading global law firm, which has worked with Zain for decades. This year Clifford Chance marks 41 years in the Middle East, having advised on many high-profile transactions including several large sporting events.