The RORC recognised 230-mile Bank of Beirut Chairman’s Cup Race came to a dramatic conclusion on Tuesday, 27th November. A 40-knot rainsquall ripped through The Strait of Hormuz, just as the bulk of the IRC Racing fleet approached the finish line. Under pewter skies with thunder and lightening lighting up the steep mountain province of Musandam, it was an electrifying finish to the race. After three nights at sea, all of the yachts competing in the Bank of Beirut Chairman’s Cup Race are all accounted for and the feisty finale was in stark contrast to the majority of the race, where calm seas and gentle breeze had provided sublime sailing conditions for the best part of three days.
First to finish was the Royal Navy of Oman’s Farr 30, skippered by Qais Saif Al Marmari, which had chosen to sail well offshore for the majority of the race. The team made a big gain, especially on the second night, to open up a sizeable lead. However, the Royal Navy of Oman team had failed to keep inside a virtual mark of the course and shortly after the finish gracefully retired from the race. It was a noble gesture and the team was roundly applauded for their honesty.
In sharp contrast to the Royal Navy of Oman’s offshore route, Sonke Stein’s A35, Dust Devil stayed inshore in the Gulf of Oman and the tactic truly paid off, as Dust Devil took line honours and recorded the best corrected time under IRC to win The Bank of Beirut Chairman’s Cup. Sonke was understanderbly delighted to pick up the lion’s share of the cash prize; $22,000 generously donated by the Bank of Beirut for the first prize and line honours.
“Obviously we are delighted to pick up such a fantastic prize but we entered the race first and foremost to enjoy some great sailing with a good team of friends. We have decided to donate 10% of the prize money to charity. 5% will go to the PSPA, which is dedicated to the support of suffers of Progressive Supranuclear Palsy and 5% to an Omani charity, which will be decided upon after consultation with the regatta organisers and The Bank of Beirut. I would also like to thank everybody involved with the organisation of the race, it really makes a difference when the event is so well managed.”
Second overall after time correction was Oman Sail’s Farr 30, Renaissance. Skippered by round the world sailor, Ahmed Saif Al Marmar, the team also contained four members of last year’s team for the Tour de France à la voile and current MOD 70 Crew. All of the crew are prodigies of the Oman Sail programme and their excellent result shows the strength of sailing amongst Omani nationals.
There was heartache for the Two handed team from the Dubai Offshore Sailing Club of Matt Britton and Joel Bryant racing J/92, Privateer. The team had been in contention throughout but was caught out by the brutal windstorm within sight of the finish. Short-handed, they struggled to reduce sail and were forced to bare away and run with the wind, after sailing away from the finish, Privateer lost precious minutes and the delay cost second place by just 20 minutes, in a race lasting over three days. However their smart action in difficult conditions was recognised by the award of the Seamanship Prize for the race.
A record number of 13 Yachts competed in The Bank of Beirut Chairman’s Cup Racer. Race management team, GWM Racing used the RORC IRC system to award a share of the $50,000 prize fund, generously donated by The Bank of Beirut. All of the yachts that correctly sailed the course were given a $1000 share of the prize fund, which was very well received at the Prize giving.
Closing the third edition of the Bank of Beirut Chairman’s Cup, Chairman of the Muscat Regatta, Saleem Q. Al-Zawawi confirmed the dates for next year’s event:
- The UAE Sailing and Rowing Federation’s Dubai to Muscat Race will start Saturday 9 November 2013.
- The Muscat Regatta, inshore racing at Marina Bandar Al Rowdha, will start be held 14-15 November 2013.
- The Bank of Beirut Chairman’s Cup Race from Muscat to Khasab will start 16 November 2013.
All of these events are open to sailors from overseas for charter opportunities and more information: www.muscatregatta.com