View of part of the Fujairah Corniche and the Hajar Mountains in the Background

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

New York Court America’s Cup Decision takes the Wind out of UAE Sails

The people of the UAE are waking up to learn that a New York court has rejected Alinghi’s proposal that Ras Al Khaimah be the venue for the sailing of the 33rd America’s Cup in February 2010.

The airwaves and Internet today are being bombarded with headlines that RAK has been robbed and the America’s Cup competition is on the rack.

There has been a substantial monetary investment in the AC facilities at the Al Hamra harbour but the loss of face contributes greater disappointment as does the loss of an opportunity to host a big event and showcase the Emirates to the world. Arab hospitality has been lauded for centuries but this decision in a New York court kicks sand into the face of those preparing to welcome the world into the Emirati tent.

With all the allegations about the unsafe location of the Middle East, accentuated by RAK’s proximity to Iran, the UAE has lost the chance to pull off a successful event and help dispel these widespread misconceptions, particularly among Americans.

This court decision is a blow to the America’s Cup tradition which could have added a colourful Middle Eastern chapter to its illustrious story. Instead the America’s Cup continues to be marred by legal wrangling among billionaires and ego-driven sailors who have hijacked the competition and lost thousands of disillusioned spectators and a host of sponsors.

Dr Geoff Pound

Geoff can be contacted by email at geoffpound(at) on Facebook and Twitter.

Image: “RAK has been robbed and the America’s Cup competition is on the rack.”