Ayaz at the helm

Ayaz at the helm

A dream come true

21st February 2010

Ayaz Al Zadjali

I feel very attached to this ship. It has become a close friend

Unlike many of my crewmates, I do not come from a sailing family. My first encounter with boats came when I chose to study carpentry at the Vocational Training Center in Seeb. It was there that I met Mr. Nick Burningham and Dr. Tom Vosmer who had started a model boat building course. The boats and ship models they taught us to build were very different from the models one sees in shops in Muscat. Our models had to be built exactly to scale and precise in every detail.

Most people have no idea how difficult it is to build a good model. In fact several other men in my class dropped out of the model program because the work was so hard. I had to learn many new things about mathematics, geometry, and fine woodworking. Yes, it was difficult, but I enjoyed learning all these new things and the ships we built were very beautiful. During my one and a half years in the model training program, I built a model of Zinat Al- Bahr and a Ganjah. These were large models and both are now on display at the Maritime Museum in Salalah. It makes me proud to have built models that Omanis and people from around the world can enjoy and at the same time learn about Oman’s history.

Working with models enabled me to get involved in the Jewel of Muscat project. I have worked on the ship from the very beginning–doing carpentry, stitching and caulking–so now I feel very attached to this ship. It has become a close friend. Even though I have never sailed before, it was natural for me to want to see how the Jewel actually functioned in the water. Of course my family was worried at first, but I wanted to come on this trip and they are quite happy that I got the opportunity to go to Singapore. This is a dream come true for me, and after we return from Singapore I would like to continue building traditional Omani ships–of any size.

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