x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Tycoons berth superyachts at Yas for the Grand Prix

The 110-metre Dilbar, one of world's largest superyachts, will be one of 140 yachts berthed at Yas Marina for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

The 110-metre Dilbar, owned by Russian tycoon and Arsenal football club part-owner Alisher Usmanov, is one of 140 yachts expected at Yas Marina for the big race.
The 110-metre Dilbar, owned by Russian tycoon and Arsenal football club part-owner Alisher Usmanov, is one of 140 yachts expected at Yas Marina for the big race.

ABU DHABI // One of the world's largest yachts has arrived at Yas Marina for the final Formula One race of the Grand Prix season.

The 110-metre Dilbar will be one of 140 yachts berthed at the marina for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. She is owned by the Russian tycoon Alisher Usmanov, who also owns a large share of Arsenal football club.

Last year there were 131 boats in the marina. This year, 140 of the 143 spots are already filled, Cedric Le Rest, the manager of Yas Marina and Yacht Club, said.

Nearly everyone who used the marina last year has returned, he said.

Dilbar is among them. "We're happy to be back," Tim Armstrong, Dilbar's captain, said. She docked on Tuesday.

Mr Le Rest expects the remaining three places to go before race day. "We know the market here and it is very last-minute for bookings. Last year we had a guy who booked in at the very last minute and loved it so much he rebooked two berths for this year," he said.

"Those who were sceptical have heard how good it was and are booking. It is not just about the race but also about the party and the atmosphere."

The parties will be a little more restrained this year, though, with boats banned from playing music after 2am.

"Last year we had music to 7am. There are people who like to sleep and we are close to the hotel.

"The concerts have helped a lot. When they're announced, there is a rush of inquires."

Of the boats booked so far, he estimated 80 per cent are based in the UAE, with a further five per cent from surrounding Gulf countries. Most of the rest are from the Mediterranean.

This year, those on the yachts can go to the new restaurants at the club, including the Stars 'n' Bars sports bar and the restaurant Cipriani.

Prices start from Dh10,000 to berth a 10-metre boat for the five days of the Grand Prix meeting. The Dilbar will have to pay Dh250,000.

It is, according to Mr Le Rest, much cheaper than Monaco. The cheapest there is €20,000 (Dh100,000) for seven nights, he said, and a 110-metre berth costs €98,200.

The smallest vessel in the marina will be Stew Murphy's six-metre wakeboarding boat, which is moored there all year.

"It is expensive to moor the boat there for the year but I get my passes for the race," said Mr Murphy, a 42-year-old New Zealander. "It will be a bit intimidating in between all the big yachts, but we will probably use it for storing ice and we'll watch the race from the hotel."

eharnan@thenational.ae