Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Voyages: Oman Sail take Dame Ellen's B and Q/Castorama for another lap

Oman is a desert country, but according to the Oman Sail website it is also a country with a long maritime history - at one time controlling much of the trade around the coast of the Indian Ocean. So what better way to "rekindle Oman's long and glorious maritime heritage" than to put together a fleet of high-performance multihulls and pull together a busy calendar of events. And not just any multihulls, but the cool B&Q/Castorama trimaran aboard which Dame Ellen MacArthur captured the round-the-world solo record. The boat has now been re-named Musandam (after a coastal peninsula in northern Oman) and modified to accomodate the crew of 5 for their circumnavigation.

As I write this, the Oman Sail crew skippered by Loik Gallon are passing between the North and South islands of New Zealand, more than a third of the way through their circumnavigation.

Cool video of the freshly-painted Musandam:

As a reminder, B&Q/Castorama is 22.9m in length, has a beam of 16.2m and weighs in at 8,300kg. Her mast is 30.6m high. Designed by Nigel Irens and Benoit Cabaret of Nigel Irens Design, her hulls were built at Boatspeed in Australia, mast and spars by Southern Spars in New Zealand, sails by North Sails in the United States (finished in France) and foils in the UK.

Dame Ellen MacArthur departed from Ushant, France on November 28th, 2004 and returned on February 7th, 2005 for an elapsed time of 71 days, 14 hours, 18 minutes and 33 seconds, taking 1 day, 8 hours and 35 minutes of the previous record held by Francis Joyon.

The Oman Sail website has lots of detail on the round-the-world voyage, including the usual route tracker so you can see where the crew are sailing at any time, and blogs from on board, all powered by the OC Vision web-hosting service.

Its good to see B&Q/Castorama getting out again for another lap. That's trimaran cool!