Omani women finish fourth

3.18.12 – It is a wrap! At least so to speak… The Sailing Tour Arabia 2012 is over. After the finish, we sailed into the Wave Marina where we were greeted by a class of young girls from a local school, our other Omani girls and their family. Hugs, squeals and cheering were abundant.

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Very touching! Congratulations and stories were passed between teams, skippers thrown in the water, and all the normal chaos of celebration… Meeting Intisar’s family was wonderful- her sisters were just as beautiful as she and were in complete wonderment (maybe a bit baffled too) about what she had done. None of her family are sea farers, so I got a sense they were a bit like ‘ where does she get IT from?’ with IT being whatever you want to fill in: moxie, adventure, craziness, daring to do something like this, or plain ole fool hardy. Raiya’s exuberant family was there as well making the picture of our two heroines complete. [Read more…]

Leg 6 – Drift, Motor, Race to the Finish

3.17.12 – The last leg was 50 miles from Mussanah, Oman to Muscat, Oman.  In order to keep the prize giving on schedules with important dignitaries  present, such as His Highness Sayyid Harib bin Thuwami al Said attending, we had to arrive in a one hour window between 3-4pm.  Finishing within such a specific time frame is difficult at best of times, but over a distance like that is almost impossible. When we awoke in the morning, the sea was glass because there was no wind. Thus, the fleet started motoring towards Muscat with provisions in place that should the wind fill then the race committee would drop a start line and we would race the rest of the way in.

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First reflections on what we’ve accomplished

Starting off motoring gave us a chance to sit down, drink in the reality that the race was ending and the journey which we all participated in. Claire, our bow woman had to leave the night before to get to her Olympic training as she is on the French women’s match race team for London 2012, so we were sailing with only 7. We asked the Omani girls what they thought, and whether they were glad they had done the race. Both Intisar and Raiya were very happy to have been a part of the team and really enjoyed the race (through all the hard bits, including sea-sick). They hadn’t known what to expect or whether they would be able to do this thing.  We told them how proud we were of them and that there had been Arabic men that directly told us that they didn’t think the Omani women would be able to last. Boy were they wrong! The girls were so proud too. Raiya and Intisar also noted their new friendships and mutual respect they shared with the Omani men sailors.  When we first arrived in Oman and took the girls into the gym this type of camaraderie was non-existent.  We talked a bit about what was going to happen next, as they both wanted to continue to race and what that might look like. This will be subject of a later blog… [Read more…]