Friday, 5 February 2010

UAE National Sailing Championship at Mina Seyahi

Light winds in round two. Image copyright Ashraf Al Amra.

by Sharon Allison

The fourth UAE National Championships this season will take place at Dubai International Marine Club over the weekend. Five sailing clubs from the UAE will converge on Mina Seyahi bringing over fifty boats to join the established home fleet. Already in its eighth year the championships brings together the sailing communities of the UAE in a regatta designed to encourage national competition and develop the sport. ‘Last week the fleets were racing in the Jumeirah Regatta and the competition was fierce. The sailors are taking this sport very seriously, which is great. It develops a healthy lifestyle, discipline and independence.’ said Yousef Lahej, Head coach at DIMC. ‘The more children we can encourage to sail the better and competitions like this are just what we need to give them something to aim for,’ he added.

The majority of the fleet over the weekend will be juniors sailing single-handed with some as young as eight years old. ‘We are expecting strong breezes and some rain over the weekend,’ said Ronan Jolle, Manager of the Watersports Club at DIMC. ‘There will be some tough conditions and exciting racing for the children and also for the host fleet of catamarans. The racing will take place on two different courses to cope with the different boats of varying speed and size, it’s going to be a busy two days,’ he concluded.

Waiting for the start. Image copyright Ashraf Al Amra.

Adel Khalid, the UAE Olympic sailing contender in Beijing in 2008 is currently leading the laser standard fleet and is a great role model for the other sailors. ‘Beijing was a fantastic experience and has made me very determined. The level of sailing in the UAE is high and I don’t have it easy, I have to work hard to stay at the top.’

‘I will be watching the race with interest to see how the youth fleets are developing,’ commented Saeed Harib, CEO of DIMC. ‘Our sailing school at DIMC is also developing and giving opportunities for children and adults to learn to sail and enjoy the excellent sailing conditions we have in Dubai.’

Racing starts at 10:25 in Mina Seyahi on Friday 5th and concludes on Saturday 6th with prize giving in the evening after the last race.

Dubai International Marine Club

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