Four Extreme 40s, including 2008 iShares Cup entries iShares and Oman Sail, will be taking part in the inaugural Arabian Extreme 40 Challenge, which begins today. The two-event series kicks off with racing in Dubai from 27-29 November, then moves to Muscat, Oman, from 2-4 December.
The Arabian Extreme 40 Challenge will be run by OC Events, and supported by Oman Sail, as an exhibition event designed to demonstrate the amazing catamarans racing in the Arabian Gulf for the first time, with a view to possibly creating a professional Arabian Series in future. Following the same short, sharp format as the hugely successful iShares Cup European Series, racing will take place in Dubai from the Mina Seyahi, before heading to Muscat for the second event (2-4 December) for the Oman Air trophy, in conjunction with the official launch of the Oman Sail project on 2 December.
Some of the world’s best yachtsmen and women will be taking part, including a host of seasoned Extreme 40 competitors from the iShares Cup. British double Olympic gold medallist Shirley Robertson — and winner of the first 2008 iShares Cup event in Lugano, Switzerland — takes the helm of Oman Air, while top French multihull sailor Karine Fauconnier will be onboard Team Aqua, owned by Dubai-based businessman Chris Bake. Olympic Bronze medallist Chris Draper will skipper Oman Sail — who this season finished fourth in the iShares Cup, in their first year of competing — and British Olympian Hugh Styles will be helming iShares.