Thursday, June 20th, 2019

America’s Cup Set for Middle East Debut

Published on January 19, 2016 by   ·   No Comments

Early December it was announced that the opening event in 2017’s Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series qualifiers will be held in the Sultanate of Oman, the first time a nation in the Middle East has hosted the cup.

Known affectionately as the “Auld Mug”, the Cup will be contested in Bermuda in 2017 after qualifiers in Oman, New York, Chicago, Portsmouth and Toulon throughout 2016.


The Sultanate has near-perfect sailing conditions that consistently deliver a 10-15 knot breeze. Combine this with its sunny climate and warm waters and it’s no surprise that it’s been chosen as the venue for such a prestigious sailing event.

These conditions have also made Oman a popular destination for many Olympic Classes and the waters will already be familiar territory for a few of the America’s Cup sailors since Muscat has been hosting high-performance multihull racing every year since 2011.

Oman Sail is a non-profit organisation dedicated to promoting Oman as an international sailing destination and, with this news of the America’s Cup qualifiers being held in the Sultanate, it has certainly managed to achieve this in the scant seven years since its inception.


Oman Sail is already present in the yacht racing environment and the Extreme 40 one-design series in particular.

CEO David Graham believes that the wide reach of the America’s Cup will create new opportunities for the Sultanate and increase the Country’s exposure around the globe, “The America’s Cup is the pinnacle of sailboat racing with a long and interesting history and we are thrilled to be hosting the first Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series event in 2016 here in Oman.”

“Oman Sail has worked hard since 2008 to reconnect the people of Oman with their sailing roots and to create a generation of sailors.


We have a very successful youth, women, national and international sailing programme and are actively generating socio-economic benefits for the country and contributing to the development of the Omani people through sailing.

Hosting a Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series event will provide huge inspiration to our sailors and take us closer to our aims.”

The Oman Sail flagship boat, the MOD 70 Musandam-Oman Sail, broke the Round Britain and Ireland record by over 16 minutes in 2014, thrusting Oman Sail into the international limelight.

In 2015, Musandam-Oman Sail also broke a 20-year record by completing the Round Ireland speed challenge in a new record time of 40 hours 51 minutes and 57 seconds – shaving almost four hours off the previous time.

Six teams from six nations will be contesting the “Auld Mug” next year; the Emirates Team from New Zealand, Oracle Team from USA, Land Rover BAR representing the UK, Artemis Racing representing Sweden, SoftBank Team Japan from… Japan, and Groupama Team representing France.


Currently Emirates Team is leading the pack but, with another five events before the final in 2017, there are still plenty of chances for the tables to turn.

Oracle Team USA stands to defend the America’s Cup in June 2017 in Bermuda on behalf of the Golden Gate Yacht Club.

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