Anyone who has been lamenting a lack of sailors in the capital will be gladdened by the news that the Volvo Ocean Race will be stopping by in January 2012. This is quite a coup for the city, one that should be ranked alongside the hosting of the Formula 1 Grand Prix and the Fifa Club World Cup. About a dozen monohulls will tie up at a new dock to be built at the Emirates Palace hotel. Among the teams will be a yacht called Team Abu Dhabi, sponsored and crewed by Emiratis.
The Volvo Ocean Race is one of the toughest events, a choppy 37,000 nautical miles that will start in Spain and end in Ireland. The sailors will be delighted with a two week layover and some sunshine in the UAE. Their presence will bring in an estimated 400,000 onlookers, a boost for the tourism industry. As one of the last locally made dhows has just launched, it is heartening to learn that the long tradition of sailing will continue to be promoted in this country.