Muscat: Indian Ocean sailors, Hilary Lister and Nashwa Al Kindi have held students across Oman in awe with their tales of sailing and their ambition to carve their own slice of history.
The students, aged ten to 16 years, watched and listened while the women entertained them with remarkable stories of their voyage, which has earned them two unique world records. The talks were part of a programme to promote the historic voyage from Mumbai to Muscat, which was powered by Oman Sail and sponsored by Mistal – Ajit Khimji Group and United Engineering Services.
The talks were designed to inspire the youth of Oman and encourage them to strive to achieve the things in life they most desire, as Lister and Al Kindi have done.
Schools taking part in the programme were the Royal Guard of Oman School, the Sultan School, the American International School of Muscat and the British School Muscat.
Oman Sail dinghy instructor Al Kindi spoke of how the voyage from Mumbai in India to Muscat in a 28-foot Dragonfly had earned her the honour of becoming the first female Arab sailor to make a trans-oceanic crossing.
"I am so proud of what we have done, because I only started sailing three years ago, but in that short time have accomplished so much just by holding onto a dream and putting the pieces in place, one by one, to fulfil it," said Al Kindi, 32.
"This just proves that if you want something enough, it is possible to achieve it, and I hope the youngsters in Oman can use my experience to accomplish what they want to achieve."
Lister, a British sailor who suffers from a degenerative disease – Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy – and is paralysed from the neck down, spoke about how she was able to sail the boat using her specially adapted 'sip and puff' system to control the sails and steering. Her record, as the first severely paralysed woman to make a trans-oceanic crossing, came on top of the solo round Britain disabled record she set in 2009.
"Before they set off on their journey, Nashwa and Hilary talked about their passion for sailing and how they thought they would achieve their goals in crossing the Indian Ocean," said Dharmesh A. Khimji, Managing Director of Mistal – Ajit Khimji Group.
"That, in itself, was exciting, but hearing them after they returned to Oman with these unique achievements under their belts is something everyone, especially our youngsters, should share. Their courage, determination and endeavour inspire all of us to want to go out and make a difference."