Muscat: The official opening ceremony marking the beginning of Oman Sail's third annual Mussanah Race Week took place along the waterfront of Mussanah's Millennium Hotel.
This year is set to be the best yet since a host of world-renowned sailors will be participating in the seven-day event.
There will be fierce competition in the Laser Standard class, where the likes of Great Britain's Olympic gold medallist Paul Goodison will take on Australia's Tom Burton, who is currently ranked number one in the world in this class, alongside New Zealand's top competitors Sam Meech and Andy Maloney, and many more.
This outstanding level of competition will make for close and intense racing among the 222 competitors, representing 27 different nations.
Issa Al Ismaili, Oman Sail's director of events, commented, "Oman Sail's Mussanah Race Week has grown with each passing year. It has become an internationally renowned event, with some of the world's top dinghy sailors competing and a professional race committee in place to ensure the event is run at the highest standard. It is our aim to receive International Sailing Federation (ISAF) credibility and recognition as a top-class event, thus helping Oman earn its place on the world map of sailing venues. "
Tom Burton remarked, "This is a great location. The perfect (sailing) conditions took me a bit by surprise. I wasn't expecting to see such a good breeze, and the temperature makes a nice change from some of the cooler locations where we race. I'm looking forward to the event and another opportunity to race against a collection of the top Laser sailors in the world."
This event has a unique and innovative approach to sailing in that it includes two days of world-class coaching clinics in each of the disciplines (including Laser Standard, Radial, 4.7, F18, Optimist, and RSX Windsurfing) as part of the seven-day regatta format, allowing competitors the rare opportunity to learn from the masters.
In the Laser Radial and Laser 4.7 classes, Oman Sail's youth team will be battling it out alongside a collection of racers from the Gulf and Europe.
This event provides the ideal platform for allowing young sailors to train and compete in Olympic-class events. Mussanah, as a racing venue, is rapidly growing in popularity. As a testament to its popularity, it has been chosen to host the Laser World Championships in November 2013. Some of the sailing elite have recognised the value of using Mussanah Race Week as a training ground for the Worlds. Burton stated, "Recently, I have been sailing in other boats, and I am using this event as a kick-start in the lead-up to the European circuit and as preparation for the Laser Worlds."
The competitors and the committee are looking forward to an action-packed week of quality racing by some of the most talented sailors in the world.