Collection of the world’s top dinghy sailors and windsurfers prepare for Mussanah Race Week 2013

Saturday, 09 March 2013


Preparations for Oman Sail’s Mussanah Race Week are in full swing, with 51 Laser Standards set to be on the start line accompanied by a host of F18 catamarans, RSX windsurfers, and youth sailors in Laser Radials, 4.7s and Optimists, 222 competitors are arriving from 27 nations, making this the largest and most competitive fleet of Mussanah Race Week so far.

Preparations for Oman Sail’s Mussanah Race Week are in full swing, with 51 Laser Standards set to be on the start line accompanied by a host of F18 catamarans, RSX windsurfers, and youth sailors in Laser Radials, 4.7s and Optimists, 222 competitors are arriving from 27 nations, making this the largest and most competitive fleet of Mussanah Race Week so far. 

Olympic Gold Medalist Paul Goodison is one of the most experienced competitors, and he recognises that the growing success of this event is largely due to the professionalism of the organizers, the jury and the fantastic conditions which the venue has to offer, including consistent sea breeze, and warm air and water temperatures.

“Mussanah Race Week is set to be a huge success, the list of competitors includes a host of world championship holders, Olympic medalists and national champions, with such a line up the level of competition will be high. I am looking forward to a top quality event, in a great location.” says Goodison.

Alongside world famous names such as Paul Goodison, Andy Maloney and Tom Burton, a collection of the top youth sailors from Oman Sail’s Youth Programme will also be competing for a podium position in the Laser Radial and 4.7 classes, which act as feeder classes to the Olympic Laser Standard.

Abdul-Aziz Al Mashari, Oman Sail Youth Coach comments “The sailors are all very excited to be sailing in this event, they are looking forward to the opportunity to meet the top Laser sailors, and learn as much as they can from them, not only are they interested in seeing how the professionals sail, but they are also keen to see how they set up their boats and the preparation which they go through on land.”

This unique event, which offers 2 days of bespoke coaching clinics in the lead up to the race days, gives the competitors a chance to familiarize themselves with the conditions, as Goodison states ”This event is a good opportunity for me to scout out the venue, get to grips with the local conditions and prepare myself for the World Championships which Oman Sail will host later this year.”

And, whilst the professionals do this, the youth sailors will be able to witness them in action and be coached by them, which will add further inspiration to their own campaigns, thus nurturing the growing talent that Oman Sail is continuing to develop. By introducing a new generation to sailing the Youth Programme supports Oman Sail’s overall objective of promoting national pride by succeeding on the world’s sporting stage, promoting elite Omani sailors as role models to inspire the youth of Oman and ultimately winning a medal for the Sultanate in the 2024 Olympic Games. 

The 11 Omani youth sailors taking part in this event not only see this as an opportunity to compete against one another and to train and compete in Olympic classes but also as a chance to learn from the masters, while witnessing Olympic champions’ race preparation methods.

The Oman Sail youth team sailors, aged between 14 and 18 have only been sailing for a short time, no more than one year, but already they display talent and huge potential.

Al Mashari states how that is testament to their unwavering energy, enthusiasm and passion for the sport: “We have three training sessions per week, where the sailors are coached on various aspects of racing, and we conclude each session with a race. The team’s favourite conditions are strong winds and waves; they love the thrill of reaching and going downwind at high speed. If they see that there is wind on a day which we are not sailing, they will phone me up and plead with me to take them sailing.” With youth sailors already demonstrating this level of commitment to the sport, Oman is sure to provide some of the top sailors of the future.

London Olympics’ 2012 Race Officer Athanasios Papantoniou, internationally known as Sulis, will be returning to the event: “I was the Race Officer for last year’s Mussanah Race Week which was a fantastic event. It's growing this year, and as the Laser World Championships will be held in Oman at the end of 2013, a number of Laser competitors are entering in this years event so they can learn the conditions of Oman waters. The Race Management team that we built last year did a great job and improved themselves during the year, as they are part of the team at major events that are taking place in Oman, and throughout the rest of the world. I was the International Race Officer for major events (Worlds, Europeans) and three Olympic games in several classes (Lasers, 470s and 49ers) and also coaching Optimist 470 and Tornado gives me the experience for managing races which are consistent with the requirements of ISAF.”

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Editors note:
Oman Sail is a national initiative established in 2008 to contribute to the development of Oman and Omanis through the sport of sailing. The equal opportunity project runs sailing programmes for thousands of young Omani men and women, inspiring a new generation to discover sailing. It encompasses a national sailing squad and high achieving inshore and offshore racing teams, all of which benefit from world-class coaching and whose ultimate objective is to win an Olympic medal for Oman. The programme has pledged to teach 30,000 Omani children to sail by 2015 at seven sailing schools to be built along the coast. The goal is to rekindle Oman’s maritime heritage while raising the country’s regional and international profile as a high-end tourist and foreign investment destination, through competitive sailing at home and abroad. Oman Sail seeks to instil confidence and to teach valuable, transferable life skills to a generation of Omanis.

Last Updated ( Saturday, 09 March 2013 )