For centuries Oman has been the gateway to the Gulf, the first stop on the long merchant routes from India and Africa. The towering cliffs of Musandam overlooking the Straits of Hormuz were once a pirate’shaven but now guard the narrow channel through which most of the Gulf’s oil is exported. Oman’s dramatic mountain scenery and fierce summer heat present an austere forbidding landscape. The Omanis are a seafaring people, independent tribesmen who have never been colonised. The Omani Empire once encompassed parts of Africa and the Indian subcontinent but wars and the advent of steam ships killed its maritime trade and the country lapsed into a century of obscurity from which it only recently emerged. With an area of 271,949km, Oman is the second largest country on the Arabian peninsula.. The country is divided into five main geographical regions: the Batina Plain and Hajar Mountains in the north; the Naj Desert; Dhofar in the south and Musandam, the rocky peninsula which is divided from the rest of Oman by a 70-km strip of the UAE. The main areas of population are the northern coast and the southern Salala plain, which only in 1982 were lined by a surfaced road. Temperatures in Muscat vary between 20 d c and 43 d c. The Dhofar is the only region in Arabia to experience a summer monsoon.
Six Senses Zighy Bay is First Omani Port on Sailing Arabia the Tour 2013
Six Senses Zighy Bay announces its third collaboration with Oman Sail’s Sailing Arabia – the Tour (SATT) 2013. Starting from Manama, Bahrain and ending in Muscat, Oman, the route will traverse the Arabian Peninsula with Six Senses Zighy Bay as the first stop entering Oman. Touring through four nations and seven marinas, Sailing Arabia the Tour sails over 1,408 kilometres in only 15 days, modelled after the internationally renowned Tour de France à la Voile, one of the world’s most famous offshore sailing events. Sailing Arabia – The Tour, was established by Oman Sail in 2011 to promote one of the region’s fastest growing sports and reignite the Gulf’s rich maritime heritage.
Six Senses Zighy Bay will host the sailors and crew from Thursday, 21st February until departure from port on Saturday, 23rd February, 2013. The stopover culminates with an in-port race and prize-giving event directly on the beach of the resort in true Omani hospitality. General Manager Axel Jarosch raves, “The leg from Ras al Khaimah to Zighy Bay is one of the toughest of the race. We are privileged to welcome the fleet closer to home, and what better place than in the midst of the Musandam’s breathtaking landscape and unparalleled luxury of Six Senses. We are all very excited, and all eyes will be looking to the spinnakers at the finish line on our doorstep.”
Up to fifteen Farr 30-model boats are allowed entry; length of 9.43 metres, width of 3.07 metres, height of 14 metres, weight of 2.05 tons and draft of 2.1. Each boat is manned by six sailors, but only one winner will take home the trophy in Muscat. Last year’s maiden voyage of the all-women team skippered by renowned British sailor Dee Caffari propelled the regatta further into the Arabian limelight. This year adds more anticipation with recently confirmed new entries from Royal Navy of Oman and Team Messe Frankfurt, in addition to some of the teams that participated in the 2012 edition.
The sophomore edition of SATT had the fourth leg of the 2012 regatta sailing into Zighy Bay at 09:32 on 23rd February, nearly 24 hours after leaving Ras al Khaimah and traversing the Strait of Hormuz in complete darkness. Greeted with at sunrise with the magnificence of the Hajar Mountains and shoreline of the Musandam Peninsula, the leaders of the leg sailed neck-in-neck with one another in a final push toward the finish at Zighy Bay. The tension was ripe, and the trophies were ultimately awarded to French team Courrier Dunkerque and the Qatari flagged Team Commercial bank claiming first and second respectively.
A lavish Omani feast was hosted the following day at Six Senses’ Shua Shack, and attended by dignitaries from throughout the Sultanate, including Her Excellency Maitha Bint Saif Al Mahfouqi, Undersecretary at the Ministry of Tourism. The feast was followed by an in-port demonstration from the racing fleet, allowing invited media to float aboard the boats with the crew. This year promises even more competition and awards from the sailing experts at Oman Sail and Oman’s Leading Resort, Six Senses Zighy Bay.*