Muscat – October 19 2016: Oman emerged as the leading nation at the Abu Dhabi Open Regatta last week after some impressive individual performances from members of the National Squad and the promising youth sailing team, sponsored by Omantel.

Al Moatasem Al Farsi, representing Oman Sail’s Mussanah Sailing School swept to an emphatic victory in the Optimist class, which started out with 45 entries from UAE, Britain, Australia, Netherlands, Greece and Switzerland.

After five races across three days, Al Farsi, who won the National Sailing Championships in Oman earlier this year, had scored three first places to finish a hefty six points ahead of nearest rival Abdulaziz Al Hammadi from UAE.

The challenge for all Oman’s sailors was significant with the team facing shifting winds especially on the second day and racing in tidal winds, in stark contrast to Oman where the prevailing conditions are stable winds and next to no tidal flow.

Mohammed Al Alawi from Al Mouj Muscat Sailing School came fourth in the Optimist Over 12 class while Alla Al Amrani, also from Mussanah Sailing School finished seventh. Oman’s leading girl Samiha Al Riyami from Al Mouj Sailing School, won the girls division beating Nederlands Mathilde Oldeman into second.

Oman fielded representatives in five classes, from the Optimist class for Under 12s to the full Olympic Laser Standard class which was won by Oman’s leading dinghy sailor Ahmed Al Balushi, topping the eight strong leaderboard after a close contest with Saif Ibrahim Al Hammadi from UAE.

Mansoor Al Mahrouqi came third in the Laser Radials, in a field of 14 with national Squad member Ibtisam Al Salmi in 12th and Abdul Malik Gharib Al Hinai finished in an impressive second place in the 23 strong Laser 4.7 after winning two of his five races.

The objective of Oman’s participation in the Abu Dhabi Open Regatta was to allow Oman’s up and coming young sailors to network and interact with sailors of a similar age and interest from other countries and to measure their performances against other teams.

It was also good practice and excellent preparation for future events, such as the Arab Sailing Championships in Abu Dhabi in December and the ISAF Youth Worlds in New Zealand starting on Friday 16 December.

“This was a very good event for the team, both in how they performed and also the extent to which they were tested because they had to learn control in the shifting winds and round the marks in difficult tidal conditions,” said Mohsin Al Busaidi, Youth Sailing Development Manager.

“But they made good progress. We were the strongest nation at this event and that was despite the fact that some sailors were new to their classes and had had a break from training.

“We need to keep pushing to improve. We are at the start of a long journey to Olympic success and we know there are no shortcuts, but I see some real talent coming from our four sailing schools and that is really encouraging.”

Oman Sail has an internal ranking event on 18 November and is also planning to send their most talented youngsters to Abu Dhabi again for further training.