Muscat: Oman Sail’s Mussanah Sailing school was the venue for the final Ranking Race of 2023 as 73 sailors from all three sailing schools competed across Optimist, ILCA 4, ILCA 6 and Windsurfing events from 1-2 December. The Ranking Race gives the sailors more competitive experience and helps Oman Sail’s coaches evaluate the progress throughout the year and select the best performing sailors to represent the nation.
Ahmed Nasser Al Qasmi, Oman Sail’s Head of Sailing Schools, commented, “The Ranking Races are valuable tools in assessing the development of our sailors, how they perform in a competitive environment and where each school stands in terms of coaching the next generation of Omani sailors.”
“Throughout the year we encourage our young sailors to enjoy learning, put the lessons into practice and have fun while racing, but with national team places to be decided at the end of the year this is an opportunity to perform to the best of their abilities,” he added.
The Youth Optimist competition featured the largest fleet of the event with 34 sailors, boys and girls, taking part and strong competition within the top 10. Khaled Al Sarihi from the Mussanah Sailing School finished first after managing to hang on to a narrow lead ahead of Umran Al Alawi from Sur and Firas Al Mujaini, also from Mussanah, in third. Fatma Al Harthi from Al Mouj Muscat finished as the highest-ranking girl, fifth overall, with teammate Ream Al Namani finishing seventh overall.
The youth event is open to boys and girls aged between 8 and 18 years of age and represents the first level of sailing at Oman Sail’s Sailing Schools. From there, the sailors progress to Junior level – ages 8 to 10 – and Senior from age 11 to 14, after which they are eligible to join Oman Sail’s teams and gain experience on a variety of boats while competing in national, regional and international competition.
In the Senior Boys Optimist competition, Tamim Al Balushi from the Mussanah Sailing School finished top of the group, with teammates Saud Al Shaqsi in third, Firas Al Nabhani in fifth and Hood Al Nofli in sixth. Abdulrahman Al Hadi from the Al Mouj Muscat school finished second, just a point behind the winner, and Khamis Al Mushaikhi from Sur finished fourth.
The Senior Girls Optimist competition featured three sailors from the Mussanah Sailing School. Hadeel Al Mushaifri and Tarteel Al Hasani finished level at the top after trading first and second places across the four races. Hadeel finished 10th overall and took first place by two points overall, with Tarteel finishing 11th overall. Abeer Al Zakwani, in the Junior category, finished third in the Girls category and a very creditable 16th overall, out of 22 sailors.
The highest ranked sailor in the Junior Optimist race was Harib Al Busaidi from Al Mouj Muscat, finishing ninth overall.
The ILCA 4 race was won by Abdulatif Al Qasmi of the Mussanah Sailing School who won three of the four races. Teammates Saleh Al Balushi and Mashari Al Hadhrami finished second and third respectively, with just a single point separating them.
Al Mutasim Al Farsi won the ILCA 6 competition with three wins from the four races to finish three points ahead of Zakariya Al Wahhabi in second and Ahmed Al Balushi in third a further two points behind. All seven of the sailors in the race came from the Mussanah Sailing School.
The Windsurf competition proved highly competitive with all four sailors taking turns in the podium positions. Nadir Al Mujaini from the Mussanah Sailing School won three of the four races to take first place from Ahmad Al Kazarooni in second and Khattab Al Mujaini in third. Salah Al Ghafri finished fourth and showed huge improvement as the competition progressed.
Ahmed Nasser Al Qasmi, added, “We are very pleased with the progress made by the sailors at all three schools this year. The sailors in the senior categories have shown they will soon be ready to sail alongside adults, and the junior sailors are able to compete with their older peers. Our youth team has also shown that the building blocks of competitive sailing are very strong at the Oman Sail Sailing Schools, and we have a bright future ahead of us on the water.”