DUBAI: Preparations for the 30th edition of the annual Aramex Dubai to Muscat Offshore Sailing Race, or Aramex D2M, are underway with 25 boats registered so far for the longest and most challenging contest in the region.
This year’s participants include last year’s winning team, Twister, who are returning to defend their title and going for three wins in a row.
The annual race starts on Saturday, Feb. 4, and covers 360 nautical miles (660 km) where sailors navigate the Arabian Gulf and Indian Ocean before passing through the Straits of Hormuz, to then cross the Gulf of Oman and finish at Marina Bandar Al-Rowdha in Muscat, the capital of Oman.
Participants often face challenging and sometimes treacherous conditions over the five days of sailing.
Matt Britton, last year’s winning skipper on yacht Twister, is sailing double-handed, meaning only two crew members, and preparing to make it three wins in a row.
“Myself and (co-skipper) Mitch are excited to be defending our Aramex D2M titles on our yacht, Twister,” he said. “We are racing for a hattrick of wins that is yet to be achieved in the race’s 30-year history. Our success has been achieved with the assistance of our two local partners, Al-Seer Marine and P&O Marinas.
“Having been involved with the race for 18 years, this year looks like the strongest fleet lineup ever assembled. Particularly notable is the growth of the Double Handed Class where only two sailors are on board, often one sleeping while the other is sailing.”
Looking back over three decades of Aramex D2M’s history, David Worrall, race director, said: “Without a doubt, Aramex D2M has served as a steadfast reminder for the international sailing community of the UAE’s long maritime history of competitive racing, and its commitment to developing an outstanding sporting culture. In 2024, DOSC will host the SB20 World Championships, building on the success and reputation of the Aramex D2M.”
Teams of amateur and professional sailors are expected to participate in the Aramex D2M with a mix of keelboats and multihulls from 27 foot (8.2 meters) to 100 foot (30.4 meters) in length.
The race is the region’s longest-running major offshore sailing event and provides a platform where sailors can test advanced equipment and technology, including readymade and custom sails by North Sails.
Additionally, several racers are using GPS navigation systems, by the Dubai-based company and Starlink partner Elcome, whilst multiple teams will be sailing Beneteau yachts.
Luxury brand Montegrappa will also be providing prizes to sailors for various contests taking place during the event.
North Sails, Elcome, Montegrappa and Beneteau are co-sponsors alongside title sponsor Arame, which last year managed complicated logistics for competing teams, including delivering a replacement rudder to a remote area in Oman. High-end watchmaker Ulysse Nardin is returning as the race’s official timekeeper.