Muscat: Some of the world’s best young sailing prospects will be in action in Oman when the 2017 Musannah Race Week kicks off at Oman Sail’s racing centre in Al Musannah Sports City.
In its seventh year and growing in popularity with each edition, Al Musannah Race Week has attracted around 120 entries from 20 nations, all drawn from the top league of youth sailing teams competing in the Optimist, and Laser classes around the world.
For the first time, the best young windsurfers will also get the opportunity to kick off their year with a medal as a new class, the Techno 293, is being rolled out on the waters of the Gulf of Oman, building on the success of RS:X World Windsurfing Championships held there in 2015.
Among those taking part in the hotly contested Optimist class are Malta’s Antonia Schulteis, 13, who won the girl’s division at the 2016 Optimist European Championships and her 11-year old brother Richard.
Mewes Wieduwild from Germany, winner of the Optimist European Championships in Italy last year will get the chance to pit his wits against recently crowned South American Optimist champion Stefano Viale from Peru and Singaporean talent Daniel Kei, Asia’s Optimist champion.
Lucas Videla, Argentina’s young champion who finished an impressive 6th out of 250 contenders at the Optimist Worlds at Vilamoura in Portugal last June will line up once more against Ryan Littlechild, a member of Australia’s National Optimist Squad who came second at Australian Optimist Championships and Sweden’s Marius Westerlind. Both boys finished in the top 20 at the Worlds.
With the best young Omani talent also aiming for honours in front of a home crowd, competition is expected to be intense with up to 12 races a day scheduled for each of the Optimist, Laser Radial, Laser 4.4m and Techno 293 classes and gold, silver and bronze medals all up for grabs.
Prior to racing which starts in earnest on January 18th, Oman Sail will stage a three-day training camp for all sailors, making available a group of high profile professionals to provide coaching sessions. They will feature a range of on water sessions plus theoretical courses and lectures ashore covering racing strategy, rules, fitness and nutrition and psychology.
As well as racing, the focus will be on cultural exchanges and a series of fun team building activities to build confidence and encourage friendship between sailors from different countries has been arranged.
These will also give the sailors a taste of the local Omani culture with music, dance, food and a few camels on hand as a mix entertainment and education.
The five-day event from January 15 to 21 would provide the perfect opportunity to lay on world-class action at a world-class venue, said Salma Al Hashmi, Chief Marketing Officer of Oman Sail.
“Musannah Sport City is an ideal venue for hosting international sailing events,” she said. “Musannah Race Week offers an educational platform for the sailors and provides an opportunity for Oman Sail youth sailors to interact with other sailors to gain more knowledge in sailing and learn new techniques.
“We look forward to seeing these youngsters use our fantastic venue as a platform to forge successful sailing careers and have a bit of fun in the process.”