Zain hopes to make a mark on SATT debut

MUSCAT: Kuwaiti team Zain Group has announced its maiden participation in the 2015 EFG Sailing Arabia-The Tour (SATT), the Gulf region’s leading offshore race organised by Oman Sail that will be held from February 15-26.

The 700 nautical-mile sailing route will start in Muscat, pass through Sohar, Ras al Khaimah, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Doha and will conclude in Manama, Bahrain.

The 12-man crew will be led by two sailing veterans, Cedric Pouligny, the skipper, and Gerald Veniard, the navigator, who are previous winners of the SATT.

Between them, these two veterans of the sport have competed in all four editions of this sailing race so far 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.

The crew includes Bader al Kharafi, deputy chairman of Zain Group, and several other sailing amateurs from Zain’s management ranks, representing a mixed level of sailing experience.

Commenting on Zain’s debut in the annual event, Zain Group CEO Scott Gegenheimer said, “We recognise that sailing has an important cultural legacy in the region and we are a keen supporter of promoting this. Sailing, with its environmentally friendly image, is an ideal way for us to showcase our core values.”

Gegenheimer added, “The SATT is a world-class event and a massive challenge for an amateur crew. It will give us exposure to racing against world-class opposition on a beautiful sailing route. This is the fifth edition of the race and Zain plans to be a fixture in the event for many years to come. I wish the crew safe sailing and good luck.”

Oman Sail CEO David Graham welcomed Zain Group to the competition, saying, “It is pleasing to see established corporate entities join many others from the region in this world-class sailing race. The SATT has grown in stature over the past five years because it is a well-run event in beautiful scenery that offers sailors, both professional and amateur from all over the world, a chance to train and compete in fantastic conditions.”