Mohsin Al Busaidi's sea adventrue

T-Mag Saturday 23/January/2016 21:21 PM
By: Times News Service
Mohsin Al Busaidi's sea adventrue

Falling for the Game
I heard about sailing for the first time when I was working in the administrative department of Royal Navy of Oman. The Navy sailing team’s skipper was in search of talented Omanis who could be groomed into sailors. He asked me if I’d be interested in sailing. I said, yes, even though I didn’t know what sailing was at the time.

Up to that point, I had been under the impression that people only went to the sea for fishing. Sailing was a new term for me. But I soon fell in love with the sport. There was no smell of diesel or ear-piercing sound of the boat engine. It was quite natural. The first week’s training at Musanna Naval Base brought out the best in me.

I soon set out on my first sailing trip from Musanna to Sur and spent three days in the sea on a Zigma 38 boat. I learned how to use the wind. It was the beginning of a long journey.

Early Challenges
Though I was going to the sea every day, my family members were not fully convinced since I never brought fish home. “Where was the fish if you were in the sea whole day?” my mother would ask me. In order to make her happy, I began to buy fish from Muttrah market before returning home after training.

Biggest Moment in Your Career
In 2007, the Ministry of Defence initiated the process to select an Omani sailor who would go on an around-the-world expedition prior to the launch of Oman Sail. Around 80 potential candidates from Army, Navy, Air Force, and Police were called for screening. Major General (retired) Albert Whitley, who is currently the executive director of Oman Sail, talked about the importance of the trip and difficulties one would face during the long sail. Half of the people backed out.

A rigorous selection process followed in which 40 people spent one week each in desert and the sea. The team was further pruned to seven before going to the UK for training. After the training, we sailed from London to Muscat, as part of the final selection process. It ended on a happy note for me, as I became the chosen one. It was the high point in my career, and I still cherish
those moments.

Journey of a Lifetime
I began my around-the-world journey in Oman Sail’s Musandam boat along with Frenchmen Loik Gallon, Thierry Duprey Du Vorsent, and Britons Charles Darbyshire and Nick Houchin. We sailed over 24,000 nautical miles deep into the harsh and hostile Southern Ocean.

We passed the legendary capes of Cape Leeuwin, Cape Horn, and the Cape of Good Hope. Since the start day on January 8, 2009, we endured storms, freezing conditions, and a diet of only freeze-dried food. I did it for my country.

Around 2,000 people arrived to receive me when we successfully returned to the Port Sultan Qaboos on March 25, 2009. I was overwhelmed when I saw my family after 76 gruelling days. I didn’t expect such a huge crowd. But the biggest surprise accolade was the medal I received from His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said.

Career Regrets
I wanted to compete in Olympics, but age was not on my side.

Promoting Sailing in Oman
I am currently in charge of the youth development programme of Oman Sail. I am confident of grooming young talents and making them winners in the global arena. I teach them the lessons I learnt from participating in more than 65 international competitions. I believe in the adage, where there is a will, there is a way. So I tell them to work hard and bring glory to our country.

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