Muscat: Oman Sail’s Farr 30 women’s crew on EFG Sailing Arabia left Sweden in high spirits this week after successfully flying the flag for the 2017 EFG Sailing Arabia – The Tour and posting a top 10 result in the 2016 Farr 30 International Regatta at Bastad
Strong winds on three of the four days made life tricky for Dee Caffari’s half Omani half European crew since they were around 100kgs lighter in weight than other teams. They finished in 10th place overall after 12 races.
Charged also with promoting the 2017 EFG Sailing Arabia – The Tour, Caffari and her team found themselves taking plenty of enquiries from Farr 30 crews seeking winter training and racing opportunities.
“We did a whole presentation on the 2017 edition of EFG Sailing Arabia – The Tour one evening and there was definite interest from the German, Dutch and Swedish teams in a winter sunshine and close racing competition with the windward/leeward and offshore course mix,” said Caffari.
“Those teams all now know about the event and the EFG Sailing Arabia girls were mixing it in the Farr 30 fleet which showed the others that the standard of racing at SATT17 will be competitive and interesting.”
Her crew of Ibtisam Al Salmi, Marwa Al Khaifi and Tamadher Al Balushi all sailed with Caffari in EFG Sailing Arabia – the Tour last year while Libby Greenhalgh, Abby Ehler and Kate Macgregor arrived from Britain to pass on their expertise and experience from their Volvo Ocean Race and Olympic match-racing careers.
“We did well when conditions were light but because we were so lightweight, we just fell over rather than go forward when the wind blew more than 18 knots.
“There was certainly progression throughout the week – the Omani girls had never sailed in such strong winds before but they loved being back racing on the Farr 30.
“They also loved the input from the European girls who were new faces so they learned a lot. And they loved being in Sweden so the upshot is they are inspired by the idea of doing the 2017 Sailing Arabia – the Tour so I might even try and put together two all-women’s crews,” said Caffari.
The 2017 edition of EFG Sailing Arabia – the Tour will take place next February with a new route that will be unveiled in the coming weeks.
The annual offshore classic around the Arabian Gulf has changed and grown with each edition over six years to become the most highly regarded sailing event in the Middle East as well as an effective tourism platform for showcasing the Gulf and its maritime heritage.