Final preparations are underway at Mussanah Sports City as the world-class Omani facility prepares to welcome some of the best young international sailors to Mussanah Race Week 2018.

The Oman Sail organised regatta has gone from strength to strength since the first event in 2011, attracting a growing number of youthful yacht racers eager to take advantage of the idyllic January sailing conditions and the top-level coaching and training on offer.

This year’s eighth edition – which starts with coaching on January 11 and finishes with four days of racing concluding on January 17 – will see some 91 visiting sailors arriving from no fewer than 20 countries including Angola, Germany, Greece, India, Iran, Italy, Pakistan, Poland, Portugal, Thailand and Turkey. Almost one-third of the foreign sailors are female.

In addition, numerous Omani sailors – many part of the Omantel Youth Sailing Programme – will also be competing and hoping to repeat their success in 2017 when they won four gold medals in the seven category finals held.

French racing star Sidney Gavignet, a long-time associate of the Oman Sail initiative, will be running several of the workshop sessions during the week.

“We are looking forward to welcoming the many young sailors who will be joining us for what I am sure will be another exciting and rewarding Mussanah Race Week,” said Mohsin Al Busaidi, manager of the youth programme.

“The regatta is a marvellous opportunity to bring youthful sailors from around the world together in a friendly and competitive environment.

“The extensive expertise of Oman Sail in organising events like this, combined with the unrivalled facilities provided by Mussanah Sports City and the many workshop and coaching sessions laid on, make this an event that will be enjoyed and valued by all who take part,” he added.

Racing will be held in Optimist, Techno 293 and Laser Radial and 4.7 classes, with 12 races scheduled for each class. The largest single class is the Optimist category with 54 foreign sailors entered, who will provide a stern test for the many Omani competitors who will also be racing in the international dinghy.

Training will include an on-the-water focus on boat speed, boat handling, starts and race tactics, while shore-based sessions will cover rules, fitness, nutrition, race strategy, and sports psychology.

The venue for several international sailing events including the 2013 Laser World Championship and 2015 Laser Radial World Championship, Mussanah Sports City is located 85km north of Muscat and 60km from Muscat International Airport, and combines a beautiful coastal location with state-of-the-art regatta and visitor facilities.