The team consists of four young sailors - all aged 16 or 17 years - selected from the Omantel Youth Sailing Programme based on their performances at recent ranking race events in Oman.
They go into the world championship event fresh from an intensive seven-day training camp held in Poland to allow them to familiarise themselves with northern European sailing conditions. As part of the programme, they took part in races against sailors from several of the 41 countries with teams at the event. Representing three of the four Oman Sail schools, the team will start racing in Gdynia on Thursday in a 280-strong international boys’ fleet. Hussain al Mansoori and Salim al Alawi, both from Marina Bandar al Rowdha, along with Abdulmalik al Hinai (Al Mouj Muscat) and Ali al Sadi (Musannah), are aiming to qualify for the top Gold fleet category in the final series of races.
“We have worked hard here in Poland to prepare the team for what they will face when racing begins in Gdynia,” said Laser 4.7 coach Ahmed al Wahaibi. He added, “It is a very competitive fleet and the conditions are likely to be very different to those they are used to in Oman, but all four of our sailors have shown they can adapt and we know they have the skills and ability to produce some good results.”
Oman Sail Youth Sailing programme manager Mohsin al Busaidi added, “The recent Asian Sailing Championships in Jakarta demonstrated that our youth sailors can compete at an international level, and we are confident that they will do so again at the Laser 4.7 World Championships.”
The Baltic Sea conditions in Gdynia are likely to produce winds of 15-plus knots and 1.5m waves, a challenge for the sailors in their Laser 4.7 racing dinghies. Following registration and measuring, racing begins with a practice race today and continues until Tuesday.
Also racing in Gdynia is the Oman Sail 49er team of Musab al Hadi and Waleed al Kindi, competing in a competitive 92-strong international fleet at the 2018 European Championship.
On the first day of racing on Sunday, the dynamic duo posted third and fifth place finishes in their group to sit in a highly creditable 16th place overall after three races, ahead of many Olympic level sailors including 2017 European 49er champions Dylan Fletcher and Stuart Bithell.
Hadi said, “We started the European Championships after having a really valuable and useful training camp alongside the Laser 4.7 team. We were able to use much of what we learned there on the race course and we are happy to have made a good start.” Kindi said, “There are some of the world’s best 49er sailors here in Gdynia, so we know the competition will be fierce. Musab and I have only been sailing together for seven months so we know we still have much to learn, but we will do our best to earn a good result for Oman.” The 49er European Championship continues until Friday.