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Breaking tradition: Jeddah's historic hosting of America's Cup preliminary regatta
The world's top sailors will converge on the Red Sea in late November for the second preliminary regatta, leading into the main event set to take place in Barcelona in 2024.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has drawn the attention of Marine sports enthusiasts around the world and especially the city of Jeddah which has been selected to host a leg of the 37th America’s Cup later this year.
The world’s oldest and most prestigious sailing competition, dating all the way back to 1851, will be coming to the middle-east thanks to the Saudi Sailing Federation.
It will be hosted at Jeddah Yacht Club & Marina, a state-of-the-art facility on the Red Sea that has already proven its ability to host world-class events, having accommodated the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix since its first edition in 2021.
This comes in line with the great efforts of the Saudi Sailing Federation and the Ministry of Sports which are keen on promoting marine sports in the Kingdom to achieve the goals of the vision 2030.
Grant Dalton, AC37 Event CEO, believes that. “This is the first international sailing regatta on the Red Sea. Not only that, but it’s the pinnacle of the sport, the America's Cup. We're trailblazing in a region that’s the future of the sport, and I take immense pride in being a part of that.”
As Dalton explains: “One of the great advantages of Jeddah is you can sail very close to the shore because the water is so deep," he explains. Normally you’d need to get out in a boat to watch, but because the teams will be sailing so close to the shore, spectators will be able to watch entire legs of the race from the Corniche.”
He also added: “Sat in those stands could be the next great Saudi sailor, and that’s the key motivation behind the Saudi Sailing Federation’s bid for the event.”
Dalton believes that there is a golden opportunity for growth in the region.
“When you consider the youth population, along with the azure waters of the Red Sea, the conditions are perfect for the growth of all types of water sport.
“And through the joint efforts of the Ministry of Sports, the Saudi Sailing Federation and the America’s Cup, we will work side by side to achieve the objectives of the Ministry of Sports, increase participation and elevate the standards of sailing within the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.”
With the AC40 boats passing by the Corniche at speeds of 90+ kph, the Jeddah regatta is shaping up to be a thrilling experience for spectators and sailors alike.
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