The first ever Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series Oman gets underway in one month, putting Muscat under a global sporting spotlight for two extraordinary days.
Preparations are already in full swing for this America’s Cup event, which is set to be watched by millions of sporting fans around the world, many of them turned on to sailing through the intense action, close competition, and dynamic sailors that are a hallmark of racing in the America’s Cup.
Organised by Oman Sail in conjunction with the America’s Cup Event Authority, the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series Oman Event Village is being created at the Al Mouj Golf Course, which each year hosts the Extreme Sailing Series event. Special vantage points are being established along the fairways and shore for spectators keen to follow the high octane racing just off the beach.
The two days of racing action get underway on Saturday 27 February with six America’s Cup teams from France, Sweden, America, Great Britain, Japan and New Zealand all eager to get their 2016 campaigns off to a cracking start.
Peter Burling, the world sailor of the year in 2015, along with skipper Glenn Ashby, have pushed Emirates Team New Zealand to the top of the leaderboard following the first three events. Jimmy Spithill, the skipper of the defending America’s Cup champion, ORACLE TEAM USA, is just a few points back, with the most decorated Olympic sailor in history, Ben Ainslie, holding down third place with Land Rover BAR.
Before they head out to the race course each day, the crews, along with their state of the art AC45 catamarans, which can reach speeds near 40 knots, will be introduced to crowds in a special ‘dock out’ ceremony.
At the Al Mouj Race Village, visitors can expect a range of traditional Omani attractions, associated with Oman’s rich marine and seafaring heritage as well as some slick new sporting experiences, organised by sponsors Red Bull and Oman Air for family entertainment.
On the ground, there will be plenty of activities for children in special kid zones – designed to engage their interest in sport – and in the skies, a daredevil display is planned by the ‘Soul Flyers’ team who perform their skydiving stunts in wingsuits.
The racing will be streamed live on giant screens in the village with commentary to ensure that any questions over tactics and outcomes are quickly answered and the action is easy to follow.
Salma Al Hashmi, Oman Sail Events and Marketing Director, said the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series Oman is set to be the biggest event ever staged by Oman Sail and the biggest sporting event ever to be hosted in Oman.
“The Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series is a major international sporting event and we are absolutely delighted to have the opportunity to host the opening stage of 2016 here in Oman,” she said.
“It is a big challenge for everyone involved with its organisation but the rewards will be huge because pictures of our glorious country will be seen in all the major cities and regions around the world. It is impossible to overestimate the value and power that this exposure will have for Oman.
“We very much look forward to welcoming the America’s Cup family to our country.”