Following two days of strong winds and gusty conditions which have tested all the young sailor here in Qatar for the Gulf Cooperation Council, or GCC regatta, day three saw much lighter winds and warmer weather. This gives a chance for the lighter athletes to shine, and to gain more valuable experience on the race track.
Qatar may be renowned for its natural gas assets, but its year round warm temperatures and coastline make it excellent for year round sailing, a distinct advantage over some northern hemisphere climes. The plan here is to encourage youngsters to make the most of what’s on their doorstep and to encourage them to sail.
And they’ll learn in mixed conditions, sometimes blowy, like the previous two days here, and sometimes lighter, like today. In the Laser Standard class Bahraini Al Koheji scored one bullet in the first race and took over the lead from Qatari Al Sharshani. Then Al Koheji scored two fifths, which gave back the lead back to the Qatari sailor. The solid performance of those two athletes are almost closing out the rest of the class in these conditions.
In Laser Radial Ebrahim Showaiter from Bahrain enjoyed a stellar day with three wins in a row. This has pulled him up from fourth overall yesterday to third, and just one point behind Al Bakri in second and Ali Buhamad in first.
Qatari Saleh Telfat won every Laser 4.7 race yesterday, but now has a fight on his hands in the changing conditions. Omani Khamis Alwahaibi won both races today, which takes him up to second place, and just one point behind Telfat. Should be a good finale between these two tomorrow.
In the Optimist class Abdulaziz Alsaib from Kuwait scored two first places easily from his rivals and now there are just four points between the top four going into the final day – again a good battle in prospect for the most popular class in this championship.
Yesterday the Hobie 16s ruled the waves, blasting around the course flying their hulls and showing everyone how cool catamaran sailing can be. This class also saw a lead change today, with Akram and Aziz Alwahaibi from Oman climbing one point ahead of their compatriots Musab Alhadi and Mohammed Alwahaibi who finished in a second place in all three races.
Tomorrow last day of GCC with light wind forecast, on hold for the last changes of the lead. Do not miss it.