There is a growing development of yacht racing in the Middle East with the Louis Vuitton Trophy regatta, the
RC44 circuit and the Moth Worlds, all taking place in the warm azure blue waters around the desert city of Dubai.
But with the real threat of piracy in the adjacent Arabian Sea, the threat of just about anything in neighboring Iran, and the occasional concerning news within the United Arab Emirates (recently considered banning Blackberry mobile phones
because they were unable to monitor communications), smooth sailing remains a challenge in the Gulf region.
* November 2009
: Five British yachtsmen and their Volvo 60 yacht ‘The Kingdom of Bahrain’ were held by Iran's Revolutionary Guard for a week after they drifted into Iranian waters mistakenly while sailing from Bahrain to Dubai to take part in the 360-nautical mile Dubai to Muscat Race
. Muscat is the capital and largest city of Oman.
* November 2010:
Last week the Sultanate, which sponsors two Extreme 40s and the 105-foot triamaran recently damaged in the Route du Rhum, banned competitors in the 2010 Dubai to Muscat Race
from sailing through Omani waters. The race course was to be revised with a finish outside of Oman.
* February 2011:
The first Extreme 40 regatta of the 2011 Extreme Sailing Series
, which is expected to attract a number of high profile teams using the series to train for the America’s Cup, is expected to be in Oman in February.
* January 2012:
The second leg of the 2011-12 Volvo Ocean Race
will take the fleet from Cape Town, South Africa, north through the Indian Ocean, past the threat of piracy that extends off of Somalia and the Gulf of Arden, along the Omani coast, and turning the corner into the Persian Gulf to Abu Dhabi, UAE.