Young sailors from all four Oman Sail schools will gather in Sur this week for the fifth edition of the Oman Sailing Championship, the highlight of the national youth racing season.

A total of 130 sailors – many of them new to the sport – will race each other over the course of the eight days of the championship held at the state-of-the-art Sur Sailing School, which is funded by Oman LNG as part of the company’s social initiative.

The Sur sailors will be joined by fellow racers from the other three Oman Sail schools – Al Mouj Muscat, Marina Bandar Al Rowdha and Mussanah – all of whom are part of the Omantel Youth Programme. Aged 10 to 17 years old, the young sailors will compete in either the Optimist or Laser 4.7 dinghy classes.

Also taking part for the first time ever, and bringing an international flavour to the event, are five young sailors from India.

“The Oman Sailing Championship has gone from strength to strength each year, and is a great opportunity for our young sailors to test their skills against each other in a friendly and competitive environment,” said Rashid Al Kindi, Oman Sail’s national sailing team manager.

“It is also a pleasure to welcome for the first time competitors from India, and I am sure they will also enjoy and benefit from the mix of training and racing on offer as part of the event.

“This is the fifth year the Oman Sailing Championship has been hosted, and every time we have seen an increasing number of talented youngsters out on the water demonstrating their abilities,” added Al Kindi.

The sailors will be divided into two groups, with the first made up of 35 youth club or new sailors. Sailing Optimists, the group will begin two days of training on August 1st, followed by a further two days of racing and a prize giving.

A larger, more experienced group of 95 sailors – 58 in the Optimist Class and 37 racing the Laser 4.7 – will benefit from four theory and practical training days prior to four days of racing that will end on August 8th – which will decide the outcome of the championship.

A dozen coaches drawn from all four Oman Sail schools will be taking part in the event, with 24 members of the race management team organising the racing.

International race officer Abdul Rahman Arshad will lead a clinic for Oman Sail instructors and supervise the overall championship event.

The coastal city of Sur is a highly appropriate location for the championship as it occupies a place at the heart of Oman’s maritime heritage and is famous for building traditional wooden dhows, an industry dating back more than 1,000 years in the Sultanate.