Like many people involved in sailing, we knew nothing about Ras al Khaimah (RAK) until Alinghi announced it as their prefferred venue for the 33rd Edition of the America’s Cup. With four and a bit months to run until the event – this edition of the America’s Cup seems to be intent of being the most non-traditional ever. Plenty of pundits, including ourselves, have been scrambling to understand just what an America’s Cup in the UAE will be like.
News from RAK itself is pretty thin. A couple of ‘user generated’ videos have turned up on YouTube showing the proposed venue as a construction site, a far cry from the lush green landscaping of Alinghi’s flash artist impressions of the venue, but as the date grows closer, opportunities are being seized.
It’s one thing to sit in Florida and guess at the goings on in the UAE, surrounded by 10 years of anti-middle-east propaganda in mainstream press – it’s quite another to be there. An old competition holding an historic regatta in the young country of the Emirates warrants the establishment of a site that has America’s Cup news from a UAE perspective.
AmericasCupinUAE.blogspot.com blog writer, Geoff Pound, is based in the United Arab Emirates, but he hails from New Zealand which has featured prominently in the recent history of the America’s Cup. His site says:
Since January 2006 I have been based in the UAE with my wife Lyn who works as an English Language teacher in a tertiary college. We live in Fujairah on the eastern coast, a two minute walk from the Indian Ocean and a ten minute walk in the other direction to the Hajar Mountains.
In his most recent article, Geoff quotes an article from the Khaleej Times in which Shaikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi, Crown Prince and Deputy Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah talks about the benefits to the emirate of hosting the America’s Cup. It makes interesting reading, if only as a study in cultural differences – as there is no real information given in the answers.
AC33 will be the first Cup held in the new world of Social Media and Citizen Journalism. We expect many more blogs like Geoff’s to appear in coming months as well as a variety of Twitter feeds and YouTube videos.