A strong tail wind has blown the Sailing Arabia – The Tour yachts towards Abu Dhabi with an unexpected speed today, with boats arriving in the early hours of the morning, instead of the evening as anticipated.
The nine yachts representing five of the six Gulf States as well as a team from France have battled the seas between Doha, Qatar and the UAE capital on this longest leg of the race to bring the unique fleet in early to the finish of this second leg.
Today students, spectators, celebrities and VIPs will be heading down to see the yachts and to meet some of the region’s most famous sailors, including Mohsin Al Busaidi the first Arab to circumnavigate the globe non-stop and Ahmed Al Mamari, another Arab round the world sailor; and world famous French yachtsman Bertrand Pace, with consecutive wins for The Tour de France a la Voile and winner of last year’s SATT.
Of special interest will be the all-women team, who have thrown down a very real challenge to the men during much of the race from Qatar and as evidenced from the first leg from Bahrain on Monday. Skipper Dee Caffari, the only woman to have sailed around the world three times – both ways – is leading a team of five nations including four young Omani women.
A great venue for racing – set against the stunning backdrop of the city – the Abu Dhabi Marina provides a perfect stretch of water for in-port racing. Close to the crowds, spectators will be able to see the action close up on February 18 – from 11 am.
Abu Dhabi is a significant port of call for the race, as it is becoming known internationally as a venue for hosting world class sporting events. The city hosted the start of Volvo Ocean Race leg to Sanya in China which sailed on January 14, 2012. The Volvo Ocean Race (VOR) is the world’s premier offshore race and an inspiration for many of the young sailors in SATT.
Amongst the competing teams in the VOR is a team representing Abu Dhabi – a strong and experienced crew that includes a core of Volvo veterans and a UAE national, Adil Khalid the teams Trimmer.
The Government of the UAE has shown an ongoing commitment to developing talent within the region, with SATT providing an ideal platform for developing local and regional sailing talents. Many of the boats have new sailors who have made the challenging Doha – Abu Dhabi crossing for the first time.
Having already delivered a successful stopover during the VOR, Abu Dhabi Sailing and Yacht Club now join hands with Oman Sail to host the third stopover for SATT, for the second consecutive year. Together they have the joint aim of positioning the region as a venue for hosting world-class sailing events, whilst at the same time reigniting the regions maritime history – from our historical ties with the sea to the modern day development of world class marine-leisure and training/sailing facilities.
On the 19th the yachts will set out for Ras Al Khaimah, with the UAE Team meeting their sponsors, the Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Investment and Development Authority. The involvement of the RAK truly brings the Emirates together, representing a national team that promotes the beautiful sailing waters of the country and the many options both local and international sailors have to share according to the organisers, Oman Sail.
State of the art tracking systems are installed on the SATT boats and fans and supporters of the race are able to track their favourite entry’s position every half an hour, ensuring that they were there to welcome their team home.