The veteran skipper was in great spirits as he stepped ashore: "We're really pleased to be here. The trip has been fantastic, very valuable experience. We have spent a lot of time putting in and taking out reefs, checking over equipment, organising racing procedures and learning how we can make the boat go that little bit faster, all good stuff for the race. There is no doubt, we are going to be on form, and we will be one of the best organised crews." The crew will spend the coming days removing the multihull's engines as a final weight-saving modification, and completing minor repairs.
The second arrival was French ocean racing legend Olivier de KERAUSON aboard Geronimo, at 110 feet the world's largest racing trimaran. Geronimo and her support craft Ocean Alchemist left Brest on December 29th and have completed the 6,200 mile journey in 25 days. The trip has provided the ideal opportunity to test modifications made since the trimaran's Jules Verne Trophy-winning circumnavigation last year, and to finalise crew selection.
The new arrivals join Qatar 2006 (formerly Maiden II), which has recently undergone an extensive refit in Qatar. She was re-launched last week and is now in the final stages of preparation for the race. Part of this process involves the fitting of specialised camera and communications equipment, supplied by the race organisation, to allow high quality audio and video footage to be transmitted during the course of the competition and provide the viewing public with the best possible means of following the action. All competitors will receive this equipment in the next few days.
Steve FOSSETT's Cheyenne, holder of the outright around-the-world record, is expected to arrive in Dubai today, having travelled from Antwerp as deck cargo. After stepping her mast she will complete the voyage to Qatar under sail.
Joining event partner HSBC in supporting this exciting event is Qatar Marine Sports Federation (QMSF), who last week announced a co-operative agreement with race organisers Quest International Sports Events.
"QMSF has raised the country's profile as a destination for world class sporting events by hosting several of the fastest powerboat events out here," said Quest CEO Tracy EDWARDS MBE. "We're glad to have them on board the team organising the world's fastest yacht race, as their local knowledge and experience will prove to be invaluable in making this monumental event a success. Their appointment to assist us for Oryx Quest 2005 is indicative of the high regard and confidence that HH the Heir Apparent Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani has in them."