During the final showdown of Oman Sail's Mussanah Race Week, competitors yet again faced some challenging conditions as they battled it out for podium positions. The wind was a light 8-10kts and with a small chop, it took maximum focus and skill for the sailors to keep momentum throughout the two races.
This is the third annual Mussanah Race Week, and each year the level of the competition increases, this year playing host to some of the world's best talent.
Taking first overall in the Optimist fleet was Great Britain's Harry Bone-Knell who consistently demonstrated skill and determination throughout the event, "The conditions can be tough here, and if I wasn't leading at the start I found I made my gains through kiting and sailing fast on the downwind legs. I've had an awesome regatta, and I've really enjoyed sailing here."
It's great to see such close sailing in the youth fleet, these are the sailors of the future, and it is from this young enthusiasm that masters will grow. Coming in second overall was Oscar Lindley Smith (GBR), and taking third place was Mahesh Balachander from India.
Fionn Conway of Ireland showed some impressive knowledge and skill in the Laser 4.7, counting all first places, he was not only happy with his performance, but also with the venue, stating, "I don't think there is any other place to sail like this in the world."
Mussanah can present some tricky conditions at times, which are set to test the competitors, and it is those who remain continually aware, learn to read the patterns and get in phase with the shifts who manage to stay out in front.
Conway added, "In the second race I had to make some small adjustments to where I was putting my weight so that I could maintain boat speed through the chop."
It's subtleties like this that mean that there is always close racing in Mussanah and sailors must be continually aware. Coming in a close second place was Qatar's Mohamed Al Mohannadi and taking third was Ross Banham (GBR).
Once again the young team from Singapore put on an impressive performance. They have totally dominated the front of the Laser Radial fleet, throughout the week. They've consistently sailed clean races and tried to stay tuned in to the shifts. Jevyn Ong commented, "I'm delighted to win the regatta, it's been a great place for us to sail and it's been a really well organised event. Winning this has given me confidence for when I hopefully come back to compete in the Radial Youth Worlds later this year."
Whilst Ong took first, his team mate Amos Lim came in second, with UAE's Adil Khalid in third.
In the Laser Standard fleet Olympic Gold Medallist, Paul Goodison won the final race of the regatta, he stated that, "This gorgeous temperature and these light and tricky conditions are just great to sail in, the shifts mean that the competition is never over."
New Zealand's Andy Maloney took his third race win of the regatta, throughout the racing he has been hot on the heels of the overall winner Tom Burton from Australia. Maloney said, "After starting at the busy pin end I managed to cross the fleet when I tacked on to port, rounding the windward mark in second, I was in phase with the shifts from the gun which helped. I overtook on the downwind leg and hung on to first."
There has been some tough competition at the front of this fleet, with Olympians and world title holders fighting it out.
It was another day of fierce battling between Gurven Bontemps and Benjamin Amiot of France and Musab Al Hadi and Ahmed al Balushi from Oman, as they fought it out for first position in the F18, from beginning to end there has only been one point difference and the teams are clearly very equally matched on the water. Bontemps said, "We're very happy to have won overall, it's been so close for the whole regatta."
It really did come down to the final day in this fleet, Al Hadi comments on the intensity of the regatta, "This week we have constantly been fighting with the French, but it's been great, because we are so evenly matched. We managed to win the last race, so it's great to finish on a high in our home waters."
After their tough event, Bentemps and Amiot finished in first overall, with Al Hadi and Al Balushi taking a very respectable and well earned second, and French team Tangay Kervyn and Emmanuel Boulogne came in third.
Having won every race he sailed in, the RS:X honours went the way of Sweden's Adam Holm with Waleed Al Kindi coming through in second and Faisal Al Quataiti completing the podium.