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Mussanah Race Week in Oman - Day 4

by Oman Sail 16 Mar 2013 05:31 GMT 10-16 March 2013

Challenging conditions and hot competition

A healthy 10kts of breeze built after a short postponement, and sailors were able to enjoy another action packed day on the water during day 4 of Mussanah Race Week, Oman Sail's world class annual dinghy regatta. The racing continued to be close for the competitors from 30 different nations, however as the afternoon wore on, the breeze dropped off and the sailors' strength, concentration and patience was tested to the limit.

Internationally renowned coach, Chris Atkins, kept a close eye on the young Optimist sailors: "It was lovely to see the sailors demonstrating their new skills," stated Atkins "It was also clear that the fleet was led by those who had attended the clinics, which just goes to show that practicing hard and sharing knowledge really does pay off." With UK's Harry Bone-Knell leading the pack, Mahesh Balachander from India in 2nd and Oscar Lindley Smith from the UK lying in 3rd place, the racing continues to be intense.

Ireland's Fionn Conway put in another good performance in the Laser 4.7, winning both races of the day; "I had to work really hard in order to stay ahead of the Qatar boat, they were putting a lot of pressure on me, and it was tricky to sail in the light winds and bouncy waves at the very end of the afternoon. I made up a lot of ground on the reaches." Whilst Conway has a convincing lead on the scoreboard, racing is close on the water, and the young sailors' focus is being continually tested by Qatar's Mohamed Al Mohamed who is in 2nd, and UK's Ross Banham is in 3rd.

Still leading the Laser Radial fleet is Singapore's Jevyn Ong; "I had a good day, after being OCS at the start of the first race, I realised I had to watch the line carefully. I played the shifts and tried to sail clean races." The Singapore team have put in a strong performance throughout the regatta, and whilst there is clearly some quiet competition throughout the team they are all excited about the prospect of riding a camel, Ong commented: "I hope there are no protests this evening because I can't wait to ride a camel (at the evening's social event)- it's a once in a lifetime opportunity for me!" Close behind him is team mate Amos Lim from Singapore and in 3rd position is Adil Khalid from the UAE.

On the Laser Standard course the first race of the day went to Australia's Tom Burton, who maintains a convincing lead: "Fairly solid day for me, it got a bit tricky when the wind died towards the end, but I knew it would track left so I managed to stay ahead. The only issue is, I can't seem to get rid of Andy." New Zealand's Andy Maloney is hot on Burton's heels and holds on to 2nd place overall with UK's Paul Goodison retaining 3rd position.

The F18 class enjoyed the mid afternoon's fresh breeze, and yet again the leading two boats were jostling for pole position, with French team Gurven Bontemps and Benjamin Amiot narrowly claiming 1st position in the first race of the day, after Oman's home grown talent Musab and Ahmed led the night before. Racing has been fiercely close between these two crews throughout the week, and it looks like it will be a battle to the end. Amiot commented: "As the wind died in the second race, we were relieved that we had adjusted the rig settings on land earlier on in the day, it clearly paid off, and we were able to stay in front." The French team are in the lead, but there is everything to play for in the final day's racing, as Oman's Musab Al Hadi and Ahmed Al Balushi are right behind them in 2nd, closely followed by French team Tanguy Kervyn and Emmanuel Boulogne.

It was another tough day for the RSX Windsurfers, as they experienced winds just a bit too light to get planing in. Sweden's Adam Holm won the first race of the day, and the second race went to Oman Sail's Faisal Al Quataiti: "I was lying in 4th place, but as the leaders of the race over stood the lay line I managed to catch up, and rounded the windward mark in 1st place. Adam was just behind me on the downwind, so I had to keep pumping really hard, with him right there I told myself to just keep pumping, I was so tired and my hands really hurt, but I never give up." Adam Holm firmly holds on to 1st position, with Oman's Waleed al Kindi in 2nd and Faisal Al Quataiti also from Oman in 3rd.

Alongside the high profile racing of the main regatta, another 32 young sailors from Oman Sail's Community Sailing Programme took to the water for their own race series, bringing the overall total to 63 sailors from that programme. The Q'bas enjoyed the light winds of the morning, which steadily built throughout the afternoon. They managed to compete in 4 close races, with Timor Al Hassani winning, Abdulmajeed Al Hadhrani in 2nd, and Khalifa Al Seraihi in 3rd.

Oman Sail's Community Sailing Programme Manager Adel Al Abri stated: "The wind steadily built throughout the day, and there were a couple of capsizes in race 3, however, by race 4 the sailors had got to grips with the breeze, and they all managed to stay upright. They love the idea of racing, and it's great to be able to give them the opportunity to participate in a real regatta. We put a lot of responsibility on them, and they embraced it. We hope that events like this mark the beginnings of the performance pathway to the Olympics, and whilst we want them to be competitive, I always remind them that the most important part of this is that they have fun."

The evening's social event is a traditional Arabic experience featuring camel riding, dancing, henna designs and local Omani food. This is a great opportunity for the vising sailors to discover the array of pleasures offered by Oman.

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