Oman Air Majan, the Arabian 100-class racing yacht sponsored by the national airline of the Sultanate of Oman, shattered two world records today, setting new times for both the solo and fully-crewed circumnavigation of Britain and Ireland.
The yacht, skippered by Sidney Gavignet, completed its 1,787 nautical mile anti-clockwise voyage in 4 days, 15 hours, 9 minutes and 47 seconds, beating fellow Frenchman Thomas Coville's previous, four-year-old record by a staggering 1 day, 15 hours, 30 minutes and 44 seconds*.
Having set sail from Lizard Point, off the coast of Cornwall, at 18:55:08 BST (17:55:08 GMT) on Thursday 19th August, Oman Air Majan followed an anti-clockwise route and crossed the finishing line at 10:03:55 BST (09:03:55 GMT) on Tuesday 24th August. This incredible achievement also means Sidney has beaten the existing fully-crewed record time by 1 hour and 7 seconds. This record was set by Steve Fosset, onboard Playstation in 2002.
Sidney Gavignet, who is also preparing for Oman Air Majan's participation in the forthcoming transatlantic race, the Route Du Rhum, was clearly delighted, saying:
"I am incredibly happy. This record around the British Isles is the cherry on the cake for all the team at Oman Air Majan and Oman Sail.
"I've learnt so much from the boat. We made some good sail choices and I feel really happy with the setup onboard. I still have a lot to improve, managing my sleep onboard and making sure I eat enough to keep myself in the best possible shape for the challenge ahead. The Route Du Rhum is going to be a huge race for us and I need to raise the level of my performance again for this event.
"The record attempt was a massive challenge and I have enjoyed every minute of it. Huge congratulations to the whole team - we've done it!"
This record is the latest in a series of major achievements for Sydney Gavignet, who has circumnavigated the world four times. He is also playing a key role in developing sailing as a sport in Oman.
Oman Air's partnership with Oman Sail has seen the 100-foot carbon-fibre multihull take on the airline's name, before being showcased with full Oman Air branding at the Cowes Week regatta earlier in August. Through its sponsorship, Oman Air aims to celebrate Omani seamanship, raise awareness of Oman as a sailing destination and promote the airline's outstanding products and services.
Oman Air's Chief Officer, Corporate Affairs, Philippe Georgiou, says:
"Sidney Gavignet's achievement in sailing Oman Air Majan around Britain and Ireland in record time is remarkable and we would like to express our warmest congratulations to him. That Sidney has been able to break the previous record by such a huge margin is a tribute to his skill, determination and commitment, and to the exceptional support of his colleagues at Oman Sail.
"We at Oman Air are both proud and thrilled to be sponsoring Oman Sail and Oman Air Majan's participation in the Route du Rhum. It has been exciting to witness the preparatory stages and we now look forward to the start of this very special event and to the chance to promote the airline and its unique destination, the Sultanate of Oman.
"We wish Sidney Gavignet every success in building on his record-breaking Round Britain and Ireland achievements and in taking Oman Air Majan to the finish line in Guadeloupe in the fastest possible time."
*Subject to ratification by WSSRC