On day three of the Sail the Gulf Regatta 2014, after two breezy days of racing that pushed sailors to the limits, today was a slower pace, with even lighter winds than forecast. But this presented the local sailors with an opportunity to strike back, as they are more familiar with the breeze and have trained a lot in these lighter conditions.
The wind actually turned out to be ideal, as the direction shifted to the right picked up to 10 knots. On the more inshore course area for the Laser 4.7 and Optimist, the breeze was a bit lighter and far more shifty, demanding focused attention from the young sailors to hunt out the shifts to find every advantage. Out on the offshore course area, the breeze was a steady direction and consistent 10 knots, which together with the flat water meant teams were all focused on achieving maximum speed.
For the Optimist and Laser 4.7’s racing near the shore, their course area appeared to be sandwiched between the impressive downtown of Doha on one side and the stunning Museum of Islamic Art on the other – but the sailors would not allow themselves to be distracted by this unique backdrop.
As expected the local sailors had the advantage today and certainly took it, clearly demonstrating the superiority of local knowledge. Particularly in the Laser 4.7, where the young Qatari sailor Adam Bettihthamou who took his first race win today. After an opening day, when he didn’t compete in two of the 3 races, and a day 2 scoreline of mid-fleet results, he has now been rewarded by a fast climb up the leaderboard.
he Qatari sailors don’t regularly have the chance to compete against so many international sailors, but when they do they take every opportunity to learn, improve their skills and push themselves to the limit. Competitions like Sail the Gulf Regatta are a perfect racing and training ground, not just for the Qatari sailors but also for the international teams, who can just fly in to race, as all the boats and equipment are provided by the Organizing Committee.
Whilst Qatari sailors had the upper hand on course area A, over on the offshore course area B, it was still a Malaysian domination – as their sailors continue to hold tight in the top spots for the 470, 420, Laser and Laser Radial classes. But with the lighter conditions, the fleet was much closer together with boat on boat battles intense and crowded mark roundings.
The lighter conditions gave a chance to more athletes to put in a good performance, with less differences between boats compared to the first two days – although the racing was almost more demanding.
With the ultimate day kicking in tomorrow and an early start again schedule, all the athletes need now is some rest to recharge their batteries for the remaining 3 races. Do not miss the exciting finale of 2014 Sail the Gulf Regatta here in Qatar.