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International Friendship: Catching Up With Royal Navy of Oman Trainees

Posted on: 12.10.16

At Sail Training International, our goal is to foster international friendship and help enthusiastic young people – in age and at heart – experience a life-changing adventure under sail.

Our mission is simple: “The development and education of young people through the sail training experience, regardless of nationality, culture, religion, gender or social background.”

Over the last six years, we’ve promoted international friendship by inviting young trainees from the Royal Navy of Oman (RNO) to take part in Tall Ships Races and Regattas. Along with offering the Oman Bursary Scheme every year, this partnership helps us build and maintain our strong, ongoing relationship with the Sultanate of Oman.

Sometimes, the RNO puts forward civilians, and sometimes Naval Cadets. Most recently, four young Naval Cadets joined us for the North Sea Tall Ships Regatta 2016 from Blyth, UK to Gothenburg, Sweden. These trainees were welcomed on board Thalassa (The Netherlands)… and we caught up with them in Gothenburg to find out more about their experiences.

Mohamed Juma Salim Al Khatri, 21

Mohammed Juma Salim Al Khatin, Royal Navy of Oman trainee

Mohammed Juma Salim Al Khatri, Royal Navy of Oman trainee.

What’s your role?

I’m an Officer Cadet. It’s my first time sailing on a sailing ship. It’s a once in a lifetime experience in the North Sea. Great crew, great captain, and we’ve learned a lot about sails, ropes, and navigation on board.

What was your sailing experience before coming here?

It was only sailing on board warships – power-driven vessels. Some of that basic knowledge is transferable, but not all of it. Here, you gain a lot experience. You gain a lot of new information, and I’m sure that will help us in the future.

What does an officer cadet do?

When I graduate, I hope I will become Acting Navigational Officer, so I will be responsible for the navigational plan from one point to another point of the voyage. I’ll be responsible for the safety of the crew, for the safety of the ship.

Is this something that you’ve always wanted to do?

Yes. They all say, “join the Navy and see the world.” I knew from a young age that’s what I wanted to do, especially the military side.

How long will your training take?

I’ve got less than one year left. It takes two years in total and I have less than one year. Nine months exactly. I’m enjoying it a lot.

Have you been to Sweden before?

No, it’s my first time here. I like it very much. Friendly people, nice weather, a very organised city.

What is your typical day like?

I have two watches here. My watch starts from 12:00 until 16:00, and then we have four hours’ break. I have another watch which is 00:00 until 04:00. During this watch, we navigate the ship, we are responsible for the safety, the sails. So, if the wind direction changes we need to change the direction of the sails. We need to have a lookout, who can look out for any dangers or other vessels around the ship. Most of the time when we’re not on watch, we help the crew cleaning the ship, helping the galley, or helping other watches.

What will you do when you leave here?

We have two days in Sweden, so we’d like to see the city here, Gothenburg. Maybe we’ll go to Stockholm, to see the city. Then we’ll head back to the UK. We have a course there in Dartmouth with the Royal Navy.

What would you say to someone who was thinking of taking part in sail training?

It’s a once in a lifetime experience. Just come and feel the experience, I cannot express it in words. Just try it. For me, I had a little bit of a fear of heights and when I climbed the mast, the ship was going 10 knots… and it was really good. I would encourage people to come here on these ships – nice crew, nice weather, a nice atmosphere. It’s a good experience to sail with international people, so many different cultures and ideas. It’s good to have this kind of combination.

Mohsin Nasser Said Al Farsi, 21

Mohsin Nasser Said Al Farsi, Royal Navy of Oman trainee

Mohsin Nasser Said Al Farsi, Royal Navy of Oman trainee.

What do you do as a Naval Cadet?

Now, it’s training for us. We learn how to make knots, how to adjust the sails, and then we have some leadership exercises. We’re mid-ship.

What made you want to become a cadet?

I have wanted to become a Naval Officer since I was a child. Once I got the opportunity, I went for it. It was my ambition to work for the Navy. I applied, I passed all the tests, so I joined the Navy and they sent us here, so we can mix with people from around the world: Australians, Dutch, Swedes, three or four nationalities. So, I think it’s a good opportunity that our Navy sent us here to gain experience from other people.

How long will your training take?

In total, it takes two years to be sub-lieutenant and we’ve already done one year, so we have one year left.

Do you enjoy what you do?

Yes. I’d like to continue what I’m doing because I enjoy it.

Have you been to Sweden before?

No, it’s my first time. It’s nice… nice people.

What’s your typical day like?

My watch starts from 08:00 to 12:00 and also from 20:00 to 00:00 at night. It’s nice, it’s a good one.

What will you do when you leave here?

We’re are going to the UK, then we are going to Plymouth for three months to study English. After that we will join Britannia Royal Naval College in Dartmouth for seven months, then we will go back as sub-lieutenants.

What would you say to someone who was thinking of joining the crew of a Tall Ship or doing sail training?

I recommend that people join the Tall Ships Races because they will learn lots of new things. They will make friends, but not just make friends. When you live on a ship it’s like family. So, it’s a good opportunity for them to extend their experience. Especially maritime experience.

Check out our Bursaries section for more information on how you can apply for support to take part in an adventure under sail.