Jump starting sailing in Oman

Mark Lloyd / Oman Sail
Oman Sail CEO David Graham updates us on the monster task they are undertaking
If one drawback to sailing is that relatively few countries compete in it compared to mainstream sports, then the powers that be should be paying great attention to the initiative that has been underway for four years in Oman. Oman Sail has been tasked by the Omani government to jump start sailing in their nation. They are ideally positioned to do this. Compared to other countries in the region, Oman has regions that are relatively lush or mountainous and, located on the southeast side of the Arabian Peninsula, the country has a coastline that faces the Gulf of Oman and the Arabian Sea. Not surprising given its geographic location at the top of the Indian Ocean, historically it has been a major seafaring nation, but until the Oman Sail initiative pleasure boating was nearly non-existent. The drive to develop sailing comes at a time when the Omani government are investing in the development of new forms of trade to reduce the reliance of their economy on oil and one key aspect of this move is tourism - making use of their diverse and still relatively undeveloped coastline. Three years ago David Graham took up his post as CEO of Oman Sail having previously run Laser both in the UK and North America. He was enticed into the job by silvery tongued Rod Carr. “Basically it was a very very unusual project and when I thought about the opportunities that were available in it and where I could take it and that it was an interesting job, basically I jumped at it,” says Graham, who moved to Oman full time with his wife and three children. “I have been in sailing all my life in one way or another, but the sport of sailing - whether us sailors like it or not - is in