Jeddah will host the second preliminary regatta of the 37th America’s Cup, one of the oldest and best-known trophies in international sailing yacht competition, on the waters of the Red Sea, from Nov. 30 to Dec.3. It is the only venue outside of Spain to host an America’s Cup regatta during the 37th America’s Cup cycle.
Racing in the one design AC40’s will happen just off the race village and the Jeddah Yacht Club adjacent to the spectacular F1 track on Jeddah corniche.
The event is in partnership with the Ministry of Sport and the Saudi Sailing Federation, both of which have significant ambitions for the rapid growth of sailing in Saudi Arabia across many top-level sailing events and classes as part of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030.
“As the pinnacle of sailing, I know the 37th America’s Cup and this preliminary regatta can be utilized as an event for positive influence on a number of fronts,” said AC37 Event CEO Grant Dalton.
“When standing back and looking at the opportunity for the growth of our sport that exists in the region it is truly significant. Sixty-seven percent of the country’s population is under the age of 34 years old, and women’s participation in sport or physical activity is up 149 percent in recent years. So, we have a unique chance to grow sailing and create new connections with the unprecedented sustainability projects within the Red Sea that can transform lives through sailing and the technologies associated with it.”
The global audience of the America’s Cup grew by a factor of three after the 36th America’s Cup and having a tangible presence in the Middle East with a completely new audience will help to grow the sport and opportunities.
“This is one of the fastest growing sports markets in the world and has a maritime heritage that is ready to be reignited for all Saudi women and men,” said Samia Bagdady, CEO of the Saudi Sailing Federation, a kite surfer and sailor herself.
“Sailing is in its infancy at the moment, but the potential is huge with 9 million people living on the Red Sea coast and fantastic sailing conditions all year round. The America’s Cup and the exciting foiling AC40’s racing with the world’s best sailors is the perfect catalyst to inspire our people toward sailing and widen access to the Red Sea, which has always been an important part of Saudi Arabia’s history and heritage and is integral to Saudi’s sustainable future.
“We want to bring the joy and excitement of sailing to Saudi’s young and old, and one day see an Olympic, Ocean Race or America’s Cup champion representing our country.”
Hassan Kabbani, chairman of the Saudi Sailing Federation, said: “We welcome the America’s Cup organization and sailors from around the world to Saudi Arabia and to Jeddah. It is an honor to be selected to host an America’s Cup preliminary regatta and to be able to showcase to the sailing community the wonderful conditions we have. I can assure everyone of a warm welcome.
“The America’s Cup preliminary regatta will help us to accelerate the growth of sailing in Saudi Arabia. We will use it to kick-start a number of new initiatives including a Discover Sailing program to encourage people on to the water, and a Performance Pathway for talented sailors to train to compete at the top level.”