ABU DHABI // A boating industry is to be developed in the capital under plans announced by Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, the Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces.
"We have various plans to promote Abu Dhabi and to boost tourism," said Sheikh Mohammed on a visit to St Louis in the United States and a tour of Marine Technology Inc (MTI), which makes high performance, pleasure and race boats, in addition to catamarans.
"The participation of various teams from Abu Dhabi in all competitions helps to achieve this goal," said the Crown Prince, who spoke with Marine Technology's owner and manager on the tour, Randy Scism, a winner of 10 Class 1 races.
"We want to be at the very pinnacle of all forms of racing."
Abu Dhabi has a team that takes part in UIM F1 H20 racing, which involves powerboats that can go from zero to 160kph in just four seconds.
"We are convinced that the heroes of the UAE who compete are the elite who can continue to achieve results around the world," said Sheikh Mohammed.
"The current group have all the ingredients for success, but we are always on the look out for new talent for the future.
"We have many ambitious plans in order to make the emirate of Abu Dhabi the capital of marine sports racing. This will give us great benefits in the future."
New competition boats will be built later this year with a view to being used by Team Abu Dhabi in 2014.
Abu Dhabi and MTI will collaborate on technology to manufacture the racing boats, while the new boating industry will also develop other marine craft for various purposes including fishing, scuba diving, the oil industry, military and coastguard.
"We are ready to provide all the necessary team work to provide the expertise for cooperation in this exciting project," said Mr Scism.
"We are proud to have been chosen to provide the technical support and we are sure that this will open the door for greater benefits for both parties."
Last year the capital hosted the first Middle East stopover of the Volvo Ocean Race, a gruelling round-the-world yacht race in which it also entered a team.
The race will make another stop at the end of 2014 during the 2014/2015 race, which will be the longest Volvo Ocean Race in history at 39,895 nautical miles (73,885 kilometres).
Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing will begin early preparations for the 2014/2015 race this summer.