Back in 1833, around 800 members of the Bani Yas tribe, led by the now-ruling Maktoum family, settled at the mouth of the creek. As a natural harbour, it quickly became the centre of a thriving fishing, pearling and marine industry. Today, Dubai is home to some of the largest marinas in the world and is the chosen site for championship sailing that celebrates the best that marine engineering has to offer. While the glamour of the big boat events draw international names and big prize purses, the skilled and somewhat romantic art of dhow and wooden powerboat racing is still well and truly alive in the emirates.
In Abu Dhabi, there is something of a renaissance occurring in competitive sport. With their own world-class sailing clubs and a phenomenally successful yacht show, they also invest heavily in their national sporting talent. With the UAE Powerboat team competing successfully both at home and abroad, it’s perhaps not surprising that Abu Dhabi was chosen as the first Middle Eastern city to host the F1 Powerboat championship and the Class One Powerboat later in the year.
Even if you are a novice to sailing, or possess the shakiest sea-legs south of the equator, the UAE hosts a wealth of exhilarating spectator sports that can be watched from the shore. Experience some of the best marine events this season at the Mina Seyahi., and here’s a quick round-up:
Xcat World Powerboat Series, 15th January
Dubai Wooden Powerboat Race 15th January
Class One World Powerboat Championship, 19th December
Dubai Traditional Dhow Sailing Race 29th January
Dubai Marina Yacht Club
The spectacle and glitter of Abu Dhabi