Get, set, sail from Sir Bani Yas Island!

Sailors from across the UAE gear up for 2-day race to Dubai Offshore Sailing Club

Sailors from across the UAE will once compete with each other in the second annual Sir Bani Yas Offshore Race.

Just as last year, the two-day race covering 175 nautical miles from Sir Bani Yas island in the far Western waters of Abu Dhabi to Dubai is organised by Abu Dhabi’s Tourism Development and Investment Company (TDIC) in partnership with Dubai Offshore Sailing Club (DOSC).

Last April some 80 sailors in 11 sailing boats lined up at the start line and this year TDIC expects more participants.

“This year, we’ve opened up participation to sailing clubs throughout the UAE. The events’ recurrence shows that Sir Bani Yas is a viable location for such sporting events, and a destination that is capable of welcoming boating travellers to the island,” said Ahmed Al Fahim, executive director of marketing, communications, sales and leasing at TDIC.

Ahead of the race, sailors will travel to Sir Bani Yas island, where they will berth and prepare for the main race. Some are already on their way, planning some island hopping before reaching one of Abu Dhabi’s most treasured islands.

An 87-square kilometre island, Sir Bani Yas has a rich history as a destination for sailors to trade or replenish their supplies. An island inhabited for 7,500 years, it was developed into a wildlife reserve by the late Shaikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who started a programme of rehabilitation of the Arabian Oryx — an indigenous species extinct in the wild — on the island in the 1970s.

Shaikh Zayed found two Arabian Oryx in a US zoo, which he brought to Sir Bani Yas island, and today there are thousands of them roaming freely on the island.

As a result of dedicated environmental and conservation efforts, over 10,000 animals and birds, including gazelles, ostriches, giraffes and cheetahs, can be found in the 4,100 hectare Arabian Wildlife Park — a popular attraction on the island.

Events such as the sailing race are meant to create more awareness about Sir Bani Yas’ environmental efforts and its tourism attractions.

Setting out from Sir Bani Yas Island, the sailors will be taking on one of the oldest trading routes in the region, before crossing the finishing line at DOSC.

“Not only have several of last year’s participants signed up once again, we’ve also received interest from new sailors. Given the growing interest for the event, we believe it has a bright future as one of the most looked forward to sailing events in the UAE,” said James Harris, sailing manager at DOSC.


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