x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Emiratis to compete in gruelling 14-day regional race

The race will get underway from Manama in Bahrain and will stop in Doha, Abu Dhabi and Ras al Khaimah before the crews reach the finish line in Muscat on February 13.

Sailing Arabia, a gruelling 14-day sailing boat race, is to be staged in Gulf waters starting next week.

The race will get underway from Manama in Bahrain on Tuesday and will stop in Doha, Abu Dhabi and Ras al Khaimah before the crews reach the finish line in Muscat on February 13. It covers a distance of 1,408km, with six teams taking part - and Emirati sailors will be on-board the boats of the Royal Yacht Club of Ras al Khaimah and the Team Commercialbank Group of Oman.

The other crews taking part are the Royal Navy of Oman, Team GAC Pindar, Oman Sail's Renaissance and Team New Caledonia from France.

"We will try to get as many Emirati sailors as possible on-board in this competition," said Reiner d'Arnaud, the co-ordinator of the newly established Abu Dhabi Yacht and Marina Club, at the unveiling ceremony in the capital yesterday.

"The Emirati sailors are very active from a young age and this type of event will provide them sailing skills at the highest levels. We were told of this competition four months ago and that wasn't enough time to fully prepare them for such a physically and mentally demanding event. But we hope to have our own team and more Emirati sailors for the next race.

"We are in partnership with two competing boats and hope to have as many Emiratis as possible on-board. We are shortlisting the names and then it will be for the two captains of the boats to decide whom they take on-board."

The RAK team will be skippered by Toby Haws, an experienced Briton, and the Commercialbank Group by Cedric Pouligny of France.

apassela@thenational.ae