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Mussanah Race Week in Oman - Day 3

by Oman Sail 15 Mar 2013 07:59 GMT 10-16 March 2013

Day three of Oman Sail's Mussanah Race Week saw the youth Laser 4.7s, Optimists and Q'bas take to the water, to join the Laser Radials, Standards, F18s and RSX Windsurfers on the race course. Racing started in slightly lighter airs than the previous day, but a steady sea breeze soon built, and the competitors were fortunate enough to experience Mussanah's perfect conditions once again.

12 different nations throughout Europe and Asia are being represented by these young sailors, Mussanah Race Week provides the perfect platform to kick off a new season for them; an international regatta plus coaching camp. Whilst they enjoy Mussanah's steady conditions; 8-15 knot breezes, blue skies and beautiful open waters of the Persian Gulf, they experienced two days of coaching under the expert guidance of the coaching team of Olympic Gold Medalist Paul Goodison, and world renowned coaches Hugh Styles and Chris Atkins. Joining the visiting sailors is the homegrown Omani talent that has been developed through Oman Sail's own sailor development programmes.

"The international flavour of the coaching clinic is especially valuable to all the sailors", commented Chris Atkins. "It generates additional challenges and learning, it provides an out-of-country experience that will help future international success, and it rewards with new friendships."

Today the sailors had their first opportunity to put their newfound skills and knowledge into practice. There was some close racing on the Optimist course, with a long upwind leg the sailors' concentration was tested, and they managed to round the first windward mark in close succession with one another. On the downwind legs the fleet spread out a little, with UK's Harry Bone-Knell taking the lead in all three of today's races: "Downwind was the bit where I managed to overtake people, Chris gave me some good tactics for this in his coaching sessions; working hard and kiting, and how to set the dagger board at the right height." Mahesh Balachander of India put up a strong fight and came in 2nd and lying in 3rd overnight is UK's Oscar Lindley Smith.

In the Laser 4.7 class 13 year old Fionn Conway, representing Ireland took command of the fleet and is the overnight leader, he stated: "It's really good racing, there was a bit of chop which made it hard. My tactic was to stay hydrated and win the starts." Fionn took part in the two day coaching clinics in the lead up to the regatta, he found "the coaching really paid off, Hugh taught me some good downwind techniques." Lying in 2nd place is Oman Sail's very own Khamis Kadem Al Wahibi, who managed to win the first race. On equal points, in 3rd position and winner of Race 2 is Mohamed Al Mohamed. The 4.7s are all looking forward to another challenging day on the water tomorrow, where they can continue to practice their new skills.

Also on the water were 32 Q'bas, sailed by the children of Oman Sail's Community Sailing Programme: Adel AL Abri – Oman Sail's Community Sailing Programme Manager stated: "The wind was perfect for these new sailors, this is only the 2nd time they have come together for a regatta, it is fantastic for them to experience the atmosphere of a well run international regatta, they were thrilled to receive the event t-shirts and water bottles." Despite these sailors having as little as 6 months of sailing experience, they demonstrated a good level of competence and a skill on the water, Al Abri and his team are dedicated to nurturing the young talent, he stated: "This regatta is all about learning and gaining experience for them, with an added bit of competition." After an intense 4 races, Majid Al Mujaini finished in first place, with Mohamed Al Mujaini in 2nd and Nooh Khalf Al Kharoosi in 3rd.

Issa, Oman Sail's Director of Events: "It was great to have the youth sailors on the water today, they are Oman's talent of the future, working towards our aim of being represented at the Olympics 2020. With so many youth sailors taking part in this professionally run event, we hope that this will further help us in gaining ISAF recognition."

There is tremendously fierce competition at the front of the Laser Radial fleet between two of the Singapore sailors. Jevyn Ong and Amos Lim have exchanged the lead several times today, whilst dominating the rest of the fleet. Amos commented: "My tactic was to sail a clean race, cover the other boats up the beat whilst trying to play the shifts." Jevyn Ong stated: "I took a conservative approach and managed to sail consistent races, good results." These two approaches to the same problem seem to have paid off in equal amounts, with Jevyn Ong narrowly achieving the lead. Daoud Abdullah had a strong event so far with a comfortable third place.

Holding firmly on to first place in the Laser Standard Fleet is Australia's Tom Burton; "I had a pretty solid day, fairly changeable conditions, occasionally picking up to hiking conditions, rounding the top mark in the top 10 is key, and finding decent passing lanes is the best way to make gains." Maintaining a strong 2nd place is New Zealand's Andy Maloney, right behind him in 3rd place is UK's Paul Goodison.

Another day of battling at the front of the F18 fleet saw Oman's Musab Al Hidi and Ahmed Al Balushi take the lead from the French sailors Gurven Bontemps and Benjamin Amiot. Al Hidi commented: "It was another tricky day for us, as it was a bit shifty and with catamarans you have to commit to one side of the course, but we were fighting until the very end and we managed to get in front, we'll have to continue to fight over the next 2 days." Lying in 3rd place are Tanguy Kervyn and Emmanuel Boulogne from France.

It was another two wins for Sweden's Adam Holm on the RSX Windsurf course, after a shaky start to the second race of the day, he rounded the windward mark in 4th, but through some vigorous pumping managed to work his way to the front of the fleet. Carrying his kit up the slipway, Holm commented: "I'm so tired right now, it's so hard for us in light wind, and with the swell we use up a lot of energy just balancing on the board, but this is really good for me and I'm really pleased with my results." Oman's Waleed Al Kindi is putting in a good performance and is firmly lying in second place with Sinan Senevrensel of Turkey in 3rd.

General Albert, Executive Director of Oman Sail comments: "This is a magnificent spectacle, it clearly shows the progress that Oman Sail has achieved and that Mussanah Race Week is very close to being in the racing calendar of the world's top sailors."

With two more days of racing to go, the podium positions are all play for.

mussanahraceweek.com/en/

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