x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Pier-group pressure fills up bigger Yas Marina

151 boats will berth at Yas Marina to watch the third Abu Dhabi Grand Prix this weekend.

ABU DHABI // All of the berths at Yas Marina have been sold out for the weekend.

This year 151 boats, 16 more than last year, are due to dock, though not all have arrived yet.

The marina has 143 berths but has made extra space on an outside pier.

"A few are coming from Dubai but are delayed because of the weather, which has been a bit rough for the last few days," said Cedric Le Rest, the general manager of Yas Marina.

Fans aboard the luxury yachts at the marina - a backdrop to the 5.5km Yas Marina Circuit - will have views of the Drag Reduction System zone, in which drivers can open the rear wings of their cars, boosting speed and helping them to overtake.

The biggest yacht, the 104-metre Loaloat Al Behar from Oman, docked this week.

It will cost Dh280,000 to moor her for the three days.

The Loaloat Al Behar can host 100 guests while the smallest boat at the marina, a 6-metre wakeboarding vessel, can squeeze 10.

The average boat is about 30 metres long.

It costs Dh11,000 to dock any yacht 10 metres or shorter for the weekend of racing.

Stephen Corbett, the business development director of JPS Yacht and Charter, said piracy in the Gulf of Aden had discouraged some Europeans from sailing yachts to Yas.

"Our biggest year was three years ago with 15 superyachts visiting the UAE over the year," Mr Corbett said.

"This season there has only been one."

He said most of the yachts visiting this weekend were from other Gulf states, including Kuwait, Bahrain and Qatar.

ItThisis the first year the pedestrian area of the marina is open to the public. Visitors can eat at restaurants such as Stars and Bars and Cipriani without passes, but security will be tight for access to the berths.

Fans aboard the yachts can also order food from the restaurants and the Yas Hotel.