Day three of Oman Sail's Mussanah Race Week saw the youth Laser 4.7s, Optimists and Q'bas take to the water, to join the Laser Radials, Standards, F18s and RSX Windsurfers on the race course.
Racing started in slightly lighter airs than the previous day, but a steady sea breeze soon built, and the competitors were fortunate enough to experience Mussanah's perfect conditions once again.
Twelve different nations throughout Europe and Asia are being represented by these young sailors, Mussanah Race Week provides the perfect platform to kick off a new season for them; an international regatta plus coaching camp. Whilst they enjoy Mussanah's steady conditions; 8-15 knot breezes, blue skies and beautiful open waters of the Persian Gulf, they experienced two days of coaching under the expert guidance of the coaching team that includes Olympic Gold Medalist Paul Goodison,
The sailors put their newfound skills and knowledge into practice and saw some close racing on the Optimist course, with a long upwind leg the sailors' concentration was tested, and they managed to round the first windward mark in close succession with one another. On the downwind legs the fleet spread out a little, with UK's Harry Bone-Knell taking the lead in all three of the days races. Mahesh Balachander of India put up a strong fight and came in 2nd and lying in 3rd overnight is UK's Oscar Lindley Smith.
In the Laser 4.7 class 13 year old Fionn Conway, representing Ireland took command of the fleet and is the overnight leader, he stated, "It's really good racing, there was a bit of chop which made it hard. My tactic was to stay hydrated and win the starts."
Fionn took part in the two day coaching clinics in the lead up to the regatta, he found "the coaching really paid off, Hugh [Styles] taught me some good downwind techniques."
Lying in second place is Oman Sail's very own Khamis Kadem Al Wahibi, who managed to win the first race. On equal points, in third position and winner of Race 2 is Mohamed Al Mohamed. The 4.7s are all looking forward to another challenging day on the water on the penultimate day, where they can continue to practice their new skills.
Also on the water were 32 Q'bas, sailed by the children of Oman Sail's Community Sailing Programme, Adel AL Abri - Oman Sail's Community Sailing Programme Manager stated, "The wind was perfect for these new sailors, this is only the second time they have come together for a regatta, it is fantastic for them to experience the atmosphere of a well run international regatta, they were thrilled to receive the event t-shirts and water bottles."
Despite these sailors having as little as 6 months of sailing experience, they demonstrated a good level of competence and a skill on the water, Al Abri and his team are dedicated to nurturing the young talent, he stated, "This regatta is all about learning and gaining experience for them, with an added bit of competition."
After an intense four races, Majid Al Mujaini finished in first place, with Mohamed Al Mujaini in second and Nooh Khalf Al Kharoosi in third.
There is tremendously fierce competition at the front of the Laser Radial fleet between two of the Singapore sailors. Jevyn Ong and Amos Lim have exchanged the lead several times today, whilst dominating the rest of the fleet. "My tactic was to sail a clean race, cover the other boats up the beat whilst trying to play the shifts,"
said Amos whilst his rival this week added, "I took a conservative approach and managed to sail consistent races, good results."
These two approaches to the same problem seem to have paid off in equal amounts, with Jevyn Ong narrowly holding the lead. Daoud Abdullah has had a strong event so far comfortably sitting in third place.
Holding firmly on to first place in the Laser Standard Fleet is Australia's Tom Burton. "I had a pretty solid day, fairly changeable conditions, occasionally picking up to hiking conditions, rounding the top mark in the top 10 is key, and finding decent passing lanes is the best way to make gains,"
said the World #1 Laser sailor. Maintaining a strong second place is New Zealand's Andy Maloney, right behind him in third place is Great Britain's Paul Goodison.
Another day of battling at the front of the F18 fleet saw Oman's Musab Al Hidi and Ahmed Al Balushi take the lead from the French sailors Gurven Bontemps and Benjamin Amiot. Al Hidi commented, "It was another tricky day for us, as it was a bit shifty and with catamarans you have to commit to one side of the course, but we were fighting until the very end and we managed to get in front, we'll have to continue to fight over the next 2 days."
Lying in third place are Tanguy Kervyn and Emmanuel Boulogne from France.
It was another two wins for Sweden's Adam Holm on the RSX Windsurf course, after a shaky start to the second race of the day, he rounded the windward mark in fourth, but through some vigorous pumping managed to work his way to the front of the fleet. Carrying his kit up the slipway, Holm commented, "I'm so tired right now, it's so hard for us in light wind, and with the swell we use up a lot of energy just balancing on the board, but this is really good for me and I'm really pleased with my results."
Oman's Waleed Al Kindi is putting in a good performance and is firmly lying in second place with Sinan Senevrensel of Turkey in third.
With two more days of racing to go, the podium positions are all play for.