Young Omani sailors are celebrating success after a great team performance at the Kuwait Optimist Championship held in Kuwait City. The eight strong squad – all members of Oman Sail’s Omantel Youth Programme – overcame shifty wind conditions and strong currents to post impressive results in the competitive 35 boat fleet.

Al Moatasem Al Farsi led the way taking first place overall by a clear five-point margin, with Mohammed Al Qasmi just off a podium finish in fourth after three days of racing.

Al Waleed Al Oraimi and Saleem Al Alawi also finished in the top half of the fleet in 11th and 12th position respectively. Making their first trip abroad, Salim Al Alawi and Nibras Al Awaisi showed great potential, backed up by Osama Al Zadjali and Jihad Al Hasani.

Racing from the Kuwait Sea Sport Club, the young sailors faced teams from Kuwait, Egypt, Italy, Algeria, Tunisia, the UAE, Bahrain as well as a single entrant from Canada.

“This was our first event of the year and it was a good start with some encouraging performances from all in the team,” said Mohsin Al Busaidi, Oman Sail’s Youth Sailing Programme Manager.

“The wind was changing all the time and the current was very strong, which is a new experience for the sailors. They improved day by day and were able to overcome the challenges they faced, and at the end we got good results.”

And he added: “Our goal in participating in events like this is to test and evaluate the skills of the sailors and then create two youth teams so we always have a back-up team ready to take part in regattas around the world.

“When they race against young sailors from other countries we can spot our strengths and our weaknesses, so we have something to work on in our training camps.”

Al Busaidi also highlighted that the experience also benefitted the Oman Sail coaching team of Sulaiman al Wahaibi and Khalid al Araimi, the latter attending his first foreign regatta.