Since 2008 when the Sultan gave his blessing, Oman, surrounded by ocean and sea, has supported the development of sailing in all its colours through the organisation Oman Sail. Now Oman Sail’s support of sailing shifts to the Indian Ocean when British quadriplegic sailor Hilary Lister and Oman’s Nashwa Al Kindi set out on an extraordinary journey.
Hilary Lister, who has circumnavigated Britain solo
They will set out from Mumbai, India to Muscat in Oman across the Arabian Sea to set two new trans-ocean records.
Hilary is paralysed from the neck down but became one of Britain’s best known sailors in 2009 when she sailed solo around Britain. Nashwa is an Omani dinghy instructor at Oman Sail who last November won the ISAF President Development Award for outstanding achievement in the development of sailing.
The Trans-ocean crossing, which is sponsored by Omani companies Mistal - Ajit Khimji Group and United Engineering Services, will start on March 10th and will be the first to be completed by a severely paralysed woman and the first to be recorded by an Arab female sailor.
'Hilary and Nashwa are two remarkable women taking on a route that was used centuries ago when the Indo-Oman trading links were first established. This route was important to the development of Oman and is appropriate for this historic voyage,' said Dharmesh A. Khimji, Managing Director, Mistal - Ajit Khimji Group.
Ever since she started sailing 11 years ago, Hilary who suffers from degenerative disease Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy has felt a strong calling to the oceans and although she has never spent more than 36 hours at one time at sea before, this latest Mumbai to Muscat challenge is her most exciting yet.
'This is a big challenge in terms of personal endurance and navigating large stretches of water and being responsible for myself and other people as well,' she said.
'But I can’t wait. I love the ocean and feel a huge call to it. I also feel it’s a huge privilege to make this voyage, especially with Nashwa who will be the first Omani woman to make an oceanic passage and that makes me a very privileged person.'
Nashwa, obviously excited by the challenge, said, 'I will be the first Arab woman to do this so if I reach Oman safely, this will be a record. I’m very excited. My friends and family keep asking me why I am doing this but the truth is I love sailing and one day want to sail solo so this is a small step towards my dream.'