Dubai show follows golf-F1 finale events
The spotlight is again on the Middle East as the Dubai International Boat Show returns from March 9-13 after two years in the Covid wilderness.
By Bruce Maxwell.
Flashback to a recent Dubai International Boat Show; opening hours are from mid-afternoon until after nightfall to avoid the heat of the day
Already golf’s inaugural DP World Tour, replacing the European Tour, surprisingly spent most of January and February in the United Arab Emirates, where the F1 Grand Prix season had just ended with a controversial win by Red Bull’s Max Verstappen over Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton in the deciding Abu Dhabi F1 GP at Yas Marina.
These are premier events for superyacht people – Monaco has its famous F1 GP too taking in Port Hercule – and carefully-managed crowds are finally back to see them, along with the elite set and their private aircraft.
Visitors throng hard standing displays at a previous edition
Pro golfers are great superyacht and jet aficionados, and will need them as the new DP World Tour features 47 tournaments in 27 different countries, five of which are Rolex Series events. Prize money is over US$200 million, plus far more in lucrative individual sponsorships. Three of the tournaments are co-sanctioned with the money-leading, FedEx-backed US PGA Tour.
DP World, established in Dubai in 1972, has evolved into a leading provider of global smart end-to end supply chains and logistics solutions. The European Tour hit off the same year, and since 2009 DP World has been its partner. Dubai International Boat Show began two decades later, in 1992.
Overview of Dubai Harbour, which includes a Cruise Ship Terminal; next door is The Palm Jumeirah
Originally known as the Watersports and Powerboat Show, it hovered around Dubai Creek and the land-based Dubai World Trade Centre, which still runs it, until moving gradually down principal thoroughfare Sheikh Zayed Road to the Dubai International Marine Club at Mina Seyahi, Dubai Marina, and finally to a relatively newly-built Dubai Harbour.
The marina at Dubai Harbour has 1,100 berths, making it the largest in the Middle East and North Africa. It features a state-of-the art Harbour Master building, helipad, crew facilities, two refuelling stations, storage, pump out services, superyacht bunkering, and can take vessels to 160m, which is about the same length as the Winch-designed Dubai, owned by the Ruler of Dubai and Vice President and PM of the UAE, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashad Al Maktoum.
Dubai Harbour Yacht Club
Nearby Yas Marina in Abu Dhabi, where the F1 circuit is located, has 227 berths, accommodating superyachts to 175m. Two Espen Øino-designed superyachts, the 73m Rabdan and 77m Smeralda, are owned by UAE Crown Princes, and were constructed in aluminium by SilverYachts in Western Australia. The 88.3m Dubawi, a former cruise liner that has been extensively refitted by Platinum Yachts, is believed part of the ruling families’ fleet too.
Presently in and out of port after extensive Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean voyaging is the extraordinary 118m Motor Yacht A, so-called because there is also a Sailing Yacht A. The motor yacht is owned by a young Russian billionaire, and is designed by the trendsetting Philippe Starck. She was built by Blohm & Voss, now absorbed into Lürssen’s eight yards in Germany. Lürssen also built the 60m Caipirinha, similarly in the Gulf, delivered in 2009.
Damen Yachting had the 62m Amels Limited Edition Sea & Us visiting, and two vessels built by Golden Yachts of Greece show up on AIS Marine Traffic in the region, 52.7m Oneiro and 72m Natalina A. A further clutch of vessels around 50m and below were noted in the UAE as well, including Australian-built 53m Ocean Seven, and formerly Australian-owned 50m Mangusta Ellerston.
New Zealand-built 50m Sensation has been along the coast at Jebel Ali for some years. More big boats are further up the Gulf in Qatar, Bahrain and Kuwait, UAE neighbour Oman has equity in Oceanco, and Saudi Arabian yachts, including some of the world’s largest, are around in the Red Sea or the Med.
Another view of a recent show, which attracts potential owners from many parts of the Gulf and other countries nearby
Superyacht builders who exhibit in Dubai encourage owners to take part with them, but logistics do not always fit. Relative proximity of the Med helps, and there are often superyachts nearby in the Seychelles, Maldives and Mauritius at this time of year. Sometimes really big boats make a surprise appearance at literally the last minute.
The above article is part one of a preview in Yacht Style Issue 64; part two will be published online in the coming days.
The Dutch superyacht builder is among exhibitors in the Superyacht Avenue of this year’s Dubai International Boat Show.