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The waterfront of Italy's most romantic city will become even more attractive towards the end of the week as ten teams arrive for the first date of the iShares Cup Tour. The iShares Cup has been described as the sailing equivalent of cricket's Twenty20 cup and takes place on Extreme 40 catamarans, one of the fastest and most exciting classes in the sport. Amongst the ten teams will be two from Oman, Masirah and Renaissance, with both sporting the branding of Oman as well as Omani sailors.

Masirah is the flagship of the Oman Sail project in the iShares Cup and successfully competed last season and took fourth place overall in the season finale in Amsterdam. It was at this event that also saw the crew of Masirah display the colours of Oman on the podium for the first time. This season sees the crew of Masirah hoping to improve on their position from last year with a final position in the top three. As one of the only boats in the iShares Cup with the same crew as last year they will prove a strong team to beat.

Renaissance is the second Extreme 40 representing Oman and is already creating headlines due to the inclusion of 'Mr Multihull', Loick Peyron, as skipper and helmsman. Renaissance represents the development of global commerce based in Oman and is sponsored by local companies Renaissance Services and Suhail Bahwan Group. Loick Peyron was chosen to skipper Renaissance because of his status as one of the world's best and most renowned sailors. He and his crew of fellow international sailors spent several months sailing their Extreme 40 with Masirah off Muscat and has become a spokesman for Oman and her natural beauty. Joining Loick Peyron on Renaissance are Julien Cressant, Peter Greenhalgh and Greg Homann.

Joining both international crews in Venice will be two Omani sailors who have spent the past year training on the Extreme 40's to bring themselves to an international standard. Mubarak Al Battashi and Khamis Al Anbouri both have Naval backgrounds and completed a thorough selection process to gain their places on the boats. They will alternate the boats they compete on as the iShares Cup travels from Venice, Italy to the other venues on the tour.
 
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