ISAF puts wind in Abu Dhabi’s sails with six-year deal

The 2014 final will comes hot on the heels of two other key international events being staged in the emirate this November.

By (Wam)

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Published: Fri 18 Jul 2014, 1:36 PM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 9:14 PM

The International Sailing Federation’s (ISAF) World Cup Final — the world’s pinnacle sailing regatta contested by the best Olympic-class competitors — is on its way to the UAE.

Following a multi-stakeholder approach by Abu Dhabi Sailing and Yacht Club (ADSYC) with the support of the UAE Sailing &and Rowing Federation (UAE SARF) and Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi), ISAF has agreed to stage the ISAF Sailing World Cup Final in the UAE capital for the next six years, starting this year.

“This is a major surge forward in Abu Dhabi’s campaign to be recognised as an international sailing hub and another fantastic opportunity for our youngsters to compete with and learn off the world’s best,” said Ahmed Thani Al Romaithi, Chairman, ADSYC and vice-president, UAE SARF. “It is somehow apt that the sailing world is convening in the Arabian Gulf, which has such a long and rich maritime history, and in Abu Dhabi, which is bent on preserving its maritime heritage and traditions while building a destination attractive to sailors worldwide and nurturing young UAE sailors to take its ambitions forward.”

An associated deal sealed on Thursday between ISAF and TCA Abu Dhabi will also see the UAE capital host the 2016 ISAF Annual Conference when delegates, who include representatives of national governing bodies, class associations, leading industry personalities, manufacturers, sponsors and the media, discuss the hottest topics facing the sport.

“We have found a highly committed partner in Abu Dhabi and look forward to helping move forward the sailing ambitions of the emirate and the Arabian Gulf. This is a great opportunity for sailing as a sport,” said Carlo Croce, president, ISAF. “We have struck a ground-breaking partnership with a world-class destination for a Tier-1 event.”

The 2014 ISAF Sailing World Cup Final will take place in Abu Dhabi from November 26 to 30. Around 350 sailors from 20 countries are expected in Abu Dhabi to compete in all 10 Olympic events and a kite-surfing event, in and around Lulu Island off the UAE capital’s Corniche. The events will be covered by the international sailing media and an ISAF television audience in over 100 countries.

“This year’s final is only three weeks before Abu Dhabi hosts a Volvo Ocean Race stopover when again, the city will be alive with all things maritime, sailing and entertainment,” said Shaikh Khaled bin Zayed Al Nahyan, chairman, UAE Sailing and Rowing Federation. “By the time we enter the New Year, the emirate’s watersports credentials of an ambient winter climate, over 400 kilometres of coastline, blue flagged beaches, state-of-the-art marinas, a plethora of natural islands and warm, clean waters, will have reached new international heights. Abu Dhabi will be synonymous with sailing and water-borne activities.”

The 2014 final will comes hot on the heels of two other key international events being staged in the emirate this November. “November is shaping up to be an action-packed month in Abu Dhabi, with Abu Dhabi Art and thousands of international motorsport fans once again arriving in the emirate for the Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. I hope our international guests will be persuaded to extend their stay to witness the Final,” said Sultan Al Dhaheri, acting executive director Tourism, TCA Abu Dhabi.

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