By Sports Reporter/Doha The fourth edition of the EFG Sailing Arabia – The Tour, the Gulf region's only annual long distance offshore sailing event is scheduled to start from Bahrain on February 9 and is expected to arrive at Pearl Marina Doha in time for the National Sport Day celebrations on February 11 . After a successful edition in 2013, this year's race returns with EFG International , the leading global private banking group, for exhilarating 15 day, 760 nautical mile Gulf coast challenge. The tour will be contested in identical Farr 30 one-design keelboats, calling in at eight stopover world class marinas in four nations, from Bahrain to Qatar and the United Arab Emirates with the finish in Oman's beautiful capital city, Muscat, on February 24 . Local sailing enthusiasts in Qatar will be able to catch the world-class action with in-port racing off the coast of Doha . Last year, Team AISM, skippered by Bertrand PacÉ, eight time winner of the Tour de France À la Voile, an annual yachting race around the coast of France , was crowned 2013 champions. The 2013 edition hosted top echelon international skippers who rated the regatta among the best in the world. They included Olympian and winning Volvo Ocean Race skipper Sidney Gavignet who was at the helm of the sponsor's campaign entry EFG Bank ( Monaco ); British yachtswoman Dee Caffari , the first woman to sail single-handed and non-stop around the world in both directions as skipper of the all women entry Al-Thuyara Bank Muscat; Omani Mohsin al-Busaidi, the first Arab to sail non-stop around the world and rising star and skipper of Team Abu Dhabi, Adil Khaled , who competed in the 2008 Olympic Games and the 2011-12 Volvo Ocean race. Keith Gapp , Head of Strategy and Marketing at EFG International , said that no persuasion was needed following last year's highly successful debut sponsorship. "EFG sponsors a number of high profile sporting events worldwide with sailing one of our focal points; and this event is unique among them. We fully endorse Oman Sail's commitment to youth mentoring, training and the significant strides being made to reignite the rich maritime heritage of the Gulf region," Gapp said. Welcoming the announcement of the fourth edition David Graham , Oman Sail CEO said: "It's hugely exciting to look forward to the fourth edition of the race and to confirm the dates. Each and every year the tour has set a new standard for the region and I expect the same of the 2014 race. Oman Sail has worked hard to bring nations together through sailing and create a sporting property that attracts global interest for potential competitors and sponsors."
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