The all-amateur team of Royal Navy of Oman (RNO) is ready to take on the challenge from some of the world’s leading sailors when it competes for the third successive time in the EFG Sailing Arabia-The Tour (SATT), which begins from Muscat on February 15.

Armed with the advantage of better knowledge of the regional waters and experience of the weather conditions, the RNO aims to use the race as a training ground for its young Omani crew.

Omar Salim al Ismaili replaces Abdulaziz al Hussaini as the team’s skipper. Ismaili, an accomplished tall ships sailor was navigator of the RNO’s new fully rigged ship Shabab Oman during its first journey to Europe in 2013. Hussaini has been named the team manager.

“Our crew comprises novices when compared to the professional sailors competing in the regatta. But, all of them are excited to compete against the best. We are certainly not in race for the title but will try our best and we also expect to learn a lot from the other teams,” said Hussaini.

The team’s preparations were interrupted in November when the team’s Farr 30 boat got damaged but after months of repair, it is now set for the race. “Over the past couple of years, we have got a lot of support – everyone is proud of the Omani teams. For all of us, it is not about the results, it is about competing in the sport and trying to do the best,” said Hussaini.

“The new course will witness winds that are mostly northwesterly from Muscat to Manama in Bahrain. We learned a lot last year and I think we will be better this year,” he added.

Team: Omar Salim al Ismaili, Mahfoudh al Zarafi, Mubarak al Farsi, Mohammed al Lahori, Mahmoud al Shizawi, Mohammed al Alawi.

SOURCE: Muscat Daily