The VOLVO 2011 RAHBC Oman Open Championship for Lasers was sailed for the 29th time last weekend off the Ras al Hamra Recreation Centre beach. 15 Sailors competed in the event organised by the Ras Al Hamra Boat Club (RAHBC) and the Oman Laser Association (OLA) with participants from Castaways (Civil Aviation Recreation Club) and RAHBC.
The fleet positioning itself prior to a start - VOLVO 2011 RAHBC OMAN OPEN LASER CHAMPIONSHIP
16 year old youngster Alex Rice won the event with just eight points out of seven races (an almost repeat of last year when he ended third behind two champions from Qatar). Second place was for the RAHBC Commodore and event organiser Tony van Thiel (12 points) with Sailing Captain and best Lady Aly Brandenburg in third place (21 points). fourth place was for John Ambrose who did very well in a strong fleet considering he is only 13 yrs of age. The youth showed again they can beat the older more experienced sailors!
Thursday started with light Easterly winds gradually strengthening throughout the afternoon. This created demanding sailing conditions in the first few races with lots of wind patches and shifts. For the sailor this means he has to continuously evaluate where he is going to sail his boat for optimum speed. In the first race Aly went left whilst Tony and some others thought the right hand side was better. They were wrong. Aly was 300m ahead at the first mark and kept it that way to the end. The following 4 races established the pattern of the end result. Alex won three of them and Tony one. To note were two second places of David Boeyinga and a third place of Abdul Hakeem Al-Kiyumi from Castaways in the third race of the day. Hakeem ended lower than expected as he could not return for the races on the second day as his wife delivered a baby girl - congratulations!
Friday saw a completely different wind pattern: Westerly gradually weakening and tuning North West. This combined with a fairly strong westerly current made for some very challenging and exiting racing. Alex won the first one, Tony the second. Aly followed as third and John as fourth in both races. During the final lap of the last race the wind died completely (as if someone switched it off). The fleet was send back to beach for de-rigging and cleaning the boats and the price giving ceremony that followed.
Prices were awarded to all participants by Volvo MHD representatives Rakesh Malhotra, Brendan Lopez and Umesh Rao. VOLVO has long history in their link with sailing in the world and MHD has been the title sponsor for this event for the fourth year.
Tony thanked the Officers Of the Day (OOD’s) Fred Rourke and Sam Mason assisted by Sam, Olly, Alec and Lucie, for the excellent management of the races. He also thanked all the competitors for taking part, the RAHRC staff and management for the great facilities and VOLVO-MHD for the sponsorship. All in all an excellent regatta which highlighted again the excellent potential for sailing in Oman.
For full details and pictures of the event see: