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The Al Thuraya BankMuscat women were joined on the water by Mrs Suzanne Al Houby - the first Arab woman to climb Mount Everest. Suzanne, who is known for her charitable and humanitarian efforts in the UAE, is a board member of the Emirates Arthritis Foundation, commented on her experience, and how it feels to go from the mountains to the sea! Photo Courtesy of Oman Sail
The Al Thuraya BankMuscat women were joined on the water by Mrs Suzanne Al Houby - the first Arab woman to climb Mount Everest. Suzanne, who is known for her charitable and humanitarian efforts in the UAE, is a board member of the Emirates Arthritis Foundation, commented on her experience, and how it feels to go from the mountains to the sea! Photo Courtesy of Oman Sail

Arab mountaineer inspires Omani all-female crew to scale high point

Al Thuraya BankMuscat finish fourth overall as two in-port Sailing Arabia races see Courrier Dunkerque and Team Commercialbank share the spoils.

The first Arab woman to climb the world's highest mountain got a taste of the high seas yesterday when she joined the all-woman Al Thuraya BankMuscat team taking part in Sailing Arabia - the Tour.

Suzanne Al Houby scaled mount Everest last May and helped inspire another peak performance on the waters off the UAE when the Omani team finished third in the second Ras Al Khaimah in-port race.

"It was great and I did not expect the in-port racing to be as fast, exciting, and thrilling," said Al Houby, who runs an adventure travel business in Dubai.

"I have definitely learnt new things from the women. I was really surprised by their efficiency in sailing and their ability to deal with wind and control their boat - it seems that the young Omani female sailors have had very good training."

Khalood Alkindi, who has been sailing during the in-port races, said: "It was great to sail with Suzanne. We have said we will teach her about the sea if she teaches us about the mountains.

"We are so happy to finish on the podium, we worked so hard and our efforts paid off - it is amazing! We worked so well together as a team and everyone is very happy."

The first of the two in-port races highlighted the talent of the French-skippered teams with Team Commercialbank leading from start to finish, Team BAE Systems coming a close second with Courrier Dunkerque in third.

In the second race, Team Bahrain took an early lead and held their position to the finish line.

But the race was packed with drama as Team Muscat 2012 and Team BAE Systems collided on the water. This paved the way for Al Thuraya BankMuscat to sail on to claim third place.

The combined results of the two in-port races put Courrier Dunkerque and Team Commercialbank in joint first place with Team Bahrain third and Al ThurayaBank Muscat in fourth.

Ebraham Abdullah, who was at the helm for Team Bahrain, said: "It was a team effort, we all worked so hard and that is how we got the result. We had a good start and managed to maintain that. We had a good first race but the second was better!

"One of the best things about the Tour is we can test our skills in both inshore and offshore races. We often change our positions on the boat to give us different experiences, and today I got the chance to helm. The team have worked so hard and this is how we will continue to get good results and continue to learn."

Oman Sail's chief executive David Graham said: "This is the second year Ras Al Khaimah has provided such a spectacular stopover for Sailing Arabia - the Tour.

"The Arabian coast is beautiful, and as you can see from today's racing it provides perfect sailing conditions."

The nine-strong fleet starts the fourth leg of the tour, to Manama, Oman, today.

* Compiled by The National staff with agency

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