Skippering their fleet of Laser and Optimists through this week's tough conditions on the waters of Dubai, 32 sailors have just concluded a gruelling 5 day Sailing Clinic, organized at and by the DIMC.
The clinic was in preparation for the Dubai International Sailing Regatta taking place at the DIMC (Dubai International Marine Club) from 23-30 January.
In Dubai to take the young sailors through their paces, internationally renowned Italian coach Marcello TORCHI talked about the success of the UAE team in what has been only a short space of time.
"The Gulf enjoys a strong heritage of traditional dhow sailing, however, in modern sailing as a sport is only just starting, so the kids have had to work extra hard in order to achieve the impressive results that the UAE have seen."
said Torchi. With 22 years coaching experience in the Optimist category, Torchi has been holding clinics for the UAE team for three years and in that time has witnessed an exceptional rise in talent every year. "There is also the fact that as there are no countries near by that focus on sailing, the UAE sailors have had to overcome a disadvantage in that they lack the experience from repeated interaction found in international line ups- as in Europe for instance. This is why the Dubai International Sailing Regatta is of particular importance to the team. It gives them a chance to confront and test their capabilities against the best countries in the world - a must to gain confidence and experience."
Although these young sailors will certainly be looking for top place finishes during next weeks regatta, Torchi emphasized that in the highly competitive world of sailing, it's not necessarily the results in a race that counts, but the development of their technique that is the number one priority. "What we are focusing on during the clinic is individual targets for each of them in order to improve in all aspects of racing. This is a very difficult sport and they are continually learning. They are alone on the boat, the conditions keep changing and they have to think for themselves, visualize their strategy and consider the meteorology."
There is also the coaching of the coaches and this is something that Torchi is paying particular attention to. "After I leave here and the clinic is completed, it is important that the training techniques learnt is carried on. This is why we are actually working alongside the local coaches in order to ensure that this happens."
With several training and competition trips abroad, these young sailors are fortunate that they have the full encouragement from the Government of the UAE.
"The region is certainly heading in the right direction in developing a very strong youth program. More and more youngsters are being introduced to the sport through work shops being conducted by DIMC every year and they (DIMC) are to be recommended. This is important as in order to start seeing good results you have to start with the children very young. Combined with the best equipment, the financial security, the coaches, the infrastructure and the willingness to improve, the future of modern sailing in the region looks set to be exceptional."
The UAE Team comprise of sailors from the DIMC and the Emirates Heritage Club in Abu Dhabi.