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Omani sailors get taste of Elite sailing.

Muscat: Oman's first ever sailing team to participate in the 2012 Four Star Pizza ISAF Youth World Championships left Dublin with a determined plan for the future having sampled competitive racing at the highest level in youth sailing.

Mohammed Al Wahaibi and Marwan Al Jabri only started training in the SL16 catamaran in March and had never sailed outside the Gulf region so taking to an international race track in strong winds and currents of the Irish Sea posed a host of brand new challenges for the young Omani pair.

Oman Sail Director of Sailing Development Neil Coxon said: "They had also never seen this kind of competition in terms of sailing level and number of nations competing but took on every new challenge with courage and determination to achieve the best possible result.

"We are very happy they managed to finish most of the races and according to their coach, Akram Al Wahibi, the improvement in their sailing and racing skills over the 12 races was evident.

"This event was about participation and about living the experience of an elite event made for young people. And they took in every moment."

The young sailors described the week long regatta as an 'amazing experience'.

"There were a lot of new challenges and we capsized a few times but with Akram's help and support, we made it through to the end. We had to rely on each other a lot and learned so much - not just about sailing," said skipper Mohammed Al Wahaibi.

The SL16 catamaran is a smaller version of the Nacra 17, which has been selected for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. With the shift towards multihulls in international yacht racing, the new Oman youth multihull racing team is well placed to make solid gains early in their careers.

"Oman Sail is known for its professional teams that excel in high level competitions," Coxon said.

"Through our presence at the ISAF Youth Worlds and the other youth events that we are planning to attend, we send the message that we are taking the foundations very seriously.

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Publication:Times of Oman (Muscat, Oman)
Geographic Code:7OMAN
Date:Jul 30, 2012
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