EFG Sailing Arabia – The Tour - Crews prepare for start of Leg 6
by Oman Sail on 22 Feb 2014
At EFG Sailing Arabia – The Tour, it was a day for relaxing after the challenging 104-nautical mile leg from Ras Al Khaimah to Dibba, teams were fighting fit again for another series of Inport races, but this time it was exhibition racing for spectators and guests.
EFG BANK - Sailing Arabia The Tour 2014 - Inshore racing at Six Senses Zighy Bat Resort © Lloyd Images
The glorious setting off Zighy Marina – large natural harbour at the northern tip of the eastern Arabian Peninsula on the Gulf of Oman – was the perfect playground and, although the wind was light, it was a great opportunity for crews to tune up and prepare for the start of Leg 6 tomorrow from Dibba to Musannah.
The prizegiving ceremony for Leg 5 was held along the beach from the Zighy Marina in the sumptuous and exclusive setting of the Six Senses Zighy Bay Resort. Teams were graced with the honour of His Excellency Sayyed Mardas Al Busaidi, Governor of Musandam who was among the special guests at the presentation.
At 139 nautical miles, this leg from Dibba to Mussanah, Oman is one of the longest of The Tour and, with light winds forecast, it is going to be one of the most tactically challenging for the six teams.
The Musandam coast is also scattered with fishing nets that extend metres from their floating marks so, this will be the main concern for the crews for the 20-hour race down the coast.
Race Officer, Abdul-Aziz Al Shidi said the wind will be light and shifty but thankfully there is less tidal current.
'It is one of the longest legs and the wind is light so it will take 20 hours or so to complete the course. The main concern along the Musandam coast are fishing nets and fishing boats, plus like the first leg of the course from Bahrain, there are shallow areas of concern, so crews will have to be vigilant.'
Ibtisam Al Salmi, one of the young Omani girls on Al-Thuraya Bank Muscat, says she is looking forward to Leg 6 but it will be tough in more ways than one.
'Because it is going to be light, we have to be thinking about the decisions we make tactically, and also about our weight and where we position ourselves in the boat. This will be key on this long leg. Plus, we also have to be aware of the constant threat of snagging a fishing net.'
Mahfoodh Mohammed Al Abri, crewmember on Royal Navy of Oman said that since they know the area well, they are hoping for a better performance.
'We are confident because we know this area really well. We know exactly what the conditions will throw at us and hopefully our local knowledge will help us on the leg. The aim is a podium position.'
Mohsin Al Busaidi, a former Petty Officer in the Sultan of Oman’s Navy, and now one of Oman’s most successful sailing having joined Oman Sail 2008, is the skipper of the Oman’s Team Renaissance. He said the team is looking to repeat their performance of Leg 5 when they enjoyed their most competitive race yet.
'Our intention is to continue where we left off and put our local knowledge into practice. It will be light, so we are preparing for that. There will be some wind from the land in the morning, then a seabreeze in the afternoon, so our strategy is to keep in close to the shore to pick up the breeze.
'Although we need to keep an eye out for fishing nets, we are fortunate to have three fishermen on our crew and they know exactly how the nets are positioned, so we are hoping that will give us an advantage.'
This event, which started on February 9 and finishes in three days’ time on February 24, is now in its fourth year. It offers 15 days of intense sailing with a mix of inport and offshore races to test the skills of not only the region’s best sailing talent, but also a selection of elite world class sailors.
The 760-nautical mile course spans over four countries from Bahrain to Muscat, Oman, with eight of the region’s premier marinas playing host as stopover venues during the seven legs of the Event Website