About Abu Dhabi
Marine leisure is expected to play an increasingly key role in advancing Abu Dhabi’s tourism growth. This is a very natural lifestyle as Abu Dhabi is blessed with over 400 km of coastline, over 200 islands and a rich marine life.
As the prominent yachting destination in the region, Abu Dhabi is the venue of choice for all major yachting events and regattas. Over the past years Abu Dhabi has played host and supporting partner to major events including the Volvo Ocean Race, Red Bull Air Race, Abu Dhabi Sailing Regatta, Dubai Offshore Sailing Club fleet regattas, Emirates Palace Invitational Match Race Competition, Corporate Sailing Cup and the Abu Dhabi Cruising Association Commodore’s Cup.
SAILING LEGACY&MARITIME HISTORY
In Abu Dhabi visitors can connect with a sailing legacy that stretches back centuries, whilst also immersing themselves in a state-of-the-art offering that blends world-class facilities with stunning beachfront, island, desert and city destinations.
For generations, Abu Dhabi, with over 400 kilometres of pristine coastline and a plethora of natural islands, has been at one with the sea. Ports throughout the emirate – from the small western marine hub of Delma Island, to the UAE capital – were home to fishing and pearling fleets and active boat yards where highly skilled craftsmen forged the traditional ‘dhow’, which quickly became noted as one of the sturdiest vessels afloat.
Abu Dhabi’s mariners would travel as far away as East Africa to trade in dates, pearls and mangrove wood. The sea was Abu Dhabi’s economic lifeblood, a source of food sustenance, and earned a respect that is immortalised in the ancient sea shanties chanted as pearling and fishing crews harvested their marine treasures.
Today there is rarely a more inspiring sight than that of stately Arabian dhows with billowing, white sails full ahoist. These traditional sailing vessels continue to ply the seas as they have done for hundreds of years in annual races which commemorate the days when pearl diving fleets, which had been at sea for months, would challenge each other to see which would be the first home with the season’s precious haul. Much as in days past, winners of modern-day races can expect a handsome reward for their efforts.
With the hardy days of survival now behind them, Emiratis still take to the seas in droves – but this time in a more leisurely fashion. Abu Dhabi already has world-class marine leisure facilities and more are on their way.