It is now over a year that OmanSail has won the right to organize the Laser World Championship in three categories: Standard, Masters and Radial Youth. The Radial Youth Championship started on the 27th December 2013 and will last until Friday the 3rd of January 2014. I have been covering the news of winning the bid to host the event back in the summer of 2012. At the time I was quite exited about the great work they have done in securing these world class events. I have also came up with some ideas how to make the event more appealing to the local audience.
Well since the venue is only a 45 minute drive from Muscat it did make sense to start the year with a tripdown to Mussanah to see for myself the world's elite under 18 sailing squad in action. Approximately 80 sailors from over 25 countries.
Al Mussanah Sport City and the Millenium Resort, hosting the championship is just optimal for such events. Apart of the fact that it is a bit secluded (which I found ideal for corporate away days and outings, but that is a different post) the sport base is very spacey, clean and well maintained. The event and race management was smooth and professional. Proper signage, spares shop, media center, gym, event tent, etc. It seems that with will and skill things do fall in place properly.
To be fair there is still a lot that could be done to enhance the visitor experience, bringing the action and the frill of sailing closer to new fans, creating a bit more buzz around the sport base, but let's not be inpatient, those will also come in he future. It was great to see however that Oman is making steady steps towards promoting sailing as a national sport, and hopefully soon the world elite will have Omani kids in the fleet as well. It already took a lot of work and resources to place the country on the international sailing map, which not doubt has happened. It will take more time to create the sustainability for this. Patience from officials is key, as such initiatives yield fundamental results only on the long run. So keep up OmanSail and hope to see these guys back in a few years as Olympians.
Enough of words now, let the images tell the story.
|Event tent at the marina|
|Sunrise over the boat park|
|British team to start rigging first|
|Others to follow|
|Around the committee boat|
|More than 50 boats at the startline|
|Jury watching for jump starters|
|Everything seems in order|
|...until wind starts to play around and race is canceled.|
|...good time for a nap.|
|or some tactical discussions|
|...a chat with the team mates.|
|Sailing is serious business.|
|Coaches at work|
|Downwind action after the new start|
|The fleet though the leeward gate|
|The Hungarian sailing in a dominant lead|
|Some action at the leeward bouy|
|It is not chaos, they all know what they are doing|
|...or rather friendship.|
|The Finish girl in the lead|
|...rounding the bouy|
|Norwegian to follow...|
|Japaneses and Qatari girls in action.|
|The Hungarian crossing the finish line first in the boys fleet.|
|And the Norwegian in the girls fleet.|
|it takes fitness to sit like this for hours|