F1 Sailing in Bahrain?

The Gulf Daily News has published a story about Andrew Pindar turning Bahrain into “the hub for the Formula One of the sailing world, hosting top global events.”

The concept is being discussed as part of the new partnership between the Kingdom of Bahrain and the Pindar sailing teams including the Vendee Globe entry and World Match Racing Tour campaign.

It is reported that the project includes bringing in some of the sport’s most successful competitors to coach the country’s youngsters and holding regular events to boost tourism and business.

Pindar Group chairman Andrew Pindar is in Bahrain as part of a five-day visit to discuss the venture, which has the backing of His Majesty King Hamad.

Mr Pindar yesterday said it was hoped that the three month Vendee Globe event would act as the ideal platform to promote sailing and create interest similar to that enjoyed by the Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix

“The good thing about sailing is that it fits in to the profile of the business community and the chairman and chief executive officers of most FTSE companies have a personal interest in the sport. So it is reaching not only a leisure audience but also a business audience.”

One of the partnership’s first events after the Vendee Globe will be in March, when the British team’s yacht will travel to Bahrain so enthusiasts can view the vessel and talk with the captain.

Mr Pindar believes Bahrain is ideally placed to benefit from the sport’s increasing popularity worldwide, particularly given it entered a sailing team at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens.

“It can be the rich man’s playground but also accessible to any income.”

Sailing is a noble sport that could help teach values such as preparation and training, athleticism and a respect for the environment to the young, said the expert.

“The idea is to engage the people of Bahrain in what sailing is about and tell them how the yacht will promote the country around the world.”

Mr Pindar is also chairman of Barnard & Westwood, printers and bookbinders to Britain’s Queen Elizabeth.

He has already met Dar Akhbar Al Khaleej Press & Publishing House chairman Anwar Abdulrahman, Information Minister Jihad Bukamal and was granted an audience with His Majesty. He has also toured many of the country’s major attractions, including the Bahrain International Circuit (BIC) and Bahrain National Museum.