As reported earlier today on Raceboatinternational.com, Sheikh Hassan bin Jabor Al-Thani has stepped down as the president of the Qatar Marine Sports Federation, which held the inaugural Qatar Cup offshore racing event in Doha, the country’s capital city, in conjunction with the Offshore Powerboat Grand Prix series earlier this month. The Qatar Marine Sports Federation recently merged management with the Qatar Sailing Federation, and the sailing organization’s current president Khalifia Al Suwaidi will chair the newly combined board of directors. Al Suwadidi will handle the organization’s day-to-day operations.
The inaugural Qatar Cup was the QMSF’s most recent powerboat racing event. Photo courtesy/copyright Pete Boden/Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.
“Due to restructure, I decided to move out of QMSF as president as I needed to free myself to my family and my racing carrier, which I will be announcing the plan for in the near future,” Sheikh Hassan wrote in an email to media contacts and friends. “As far as QMSF obligations and contracts, all contracts will be honored and racing schedule in Qatar will not change. I would like to thank you all for supporting me during my time in QMSF and I hope you will continue the support of the new board.”
Insiders David Holley, the chief executive officer of Peters & May, a global powerboat and yacht shipping logistics company that has been deeply involved with powerboat racing programs in Qatar, and Marc Granet, the driver of the Miss GEICO 44-foot offshore racing catamaran and a close friend of Sheikh Hassan, urged offshore racers and fans not to make assumptions about what the leadership change might mean to the future of the organization.
“Before anybody jumps to any conclusions as regards to the announcement from QMSF, it’s a simple business restructure that allows our good friend Sheikh Hassan to spend some more time with his family and focus on his racing,” Holley wrote in an open message on his Facebook page. “QMSF will continue as planned.”
Granet, who exchanged text messages with Sheikh Hassan for most of the morning, said the Sheikh is far from out of the Qatar powerboat racing picture.
“Hassan still very much involved in offshore powerboat racing and the driving force behind Qatar’s Marine powerboat racing programs—this is just a change in day to day QMSF management structure,” Granet wrote on his Facebook page. (Sheikh) Hassan will now be able to focus more on getting back in the boat , managing his offshore racing team—Spirit of Qatar—and most importantly time with his young family.”