Oman Sail National Squad compete in Laser SB20 World Championships in Portugal

Sports Wednesday 31/August/2016 14:05 PM
By: Times News Service
Oman Sail National Squad compete in Laser SB20 World Championships in Portugal

Muscat: The best of Oman’s emerging sailing talent will race side by side in a strong international field when the Laser SB20 World Championships kicks off in Cascais, Portugal this week.
Six members of the Oman Sail National Squad will compete in two Laser SB20s without assistance from non-Omani professionals.
They include Ali Al Balushi and Abdulhaman Al Mashari who recently completed the Tour de France a la Voile 2016 as crew of the Diam 24 catamaran Oman Airports by Oman Sail.
After an exhausting three weeks of inshore and coastal races around France, they celebrated a superb fifth place finish in their debut campaign with both gaining valuable knowledge and experience, especially when French co-skipper Thierry Douillard became injured, handing them more responsibility and fast tracking their learning.
This experience is likely to be brought to bear when Al Balushi, Al Mashari and teammate Sami Al Shukaili line up against a rival entry from Oman Sail skippered by Fahad Al Hasni, recently voted Seahorse Sailor of the Year for September 2016, who has MOD70 teammates Yasir Al Rahbi and Raad al Hadi on board.
The Laser SB20 Worlds has attracted a first class entry with 75 teams entered from 13 nations, including the reigning champion crew from France. There will be three races a day for four days and two on the final day with a forecast for strong winds, big seas and sunshine.
“Our time on Oman Airports by Oman Sail in the Tour de France a la Voile was excellent because we learned so much about boat handling in the different weather and tidal conditions so I’m confident this will help us in Cascais,” said Al Balushi.
The focus will be on clean starts and good lanes upwind on the first beats, added Al Hasni.
“That should automatically get us into good positions but you have to be sailing the Laser SB20s for many years to achieve good results so we will concentrate on doing as well as we can, learning as much as we can and enjoying racing with and against each other.”
The Cascais 2016 SB20 World Championships will conclude on Saturday.