Monday, August 31, 2009

Take a Look at the America’s Cup Venue at RAK

The America’s Cup venue at Al Hamra, Ras al Khaimah, UAE, is to be purpose-built for the international competition.

Many are wondering whether it will be ready for hosting the historic regatta in February 2010.

Astrid van der Knaap took this 2 minute video of the existing facilities—the Al Hamra Marina and Club House, plus a view frames of the Persian Gulf.



Source
Astrid van der Knaap, America’s Cup 2010 in Ras al Khaimah, Al Hamra Marina & Yacht Club, YouTube, 14 August 2009.

On Related Sites
A Hot Spot of Arabia in Barcelona, Experiencing the Emirates, 31 August 2009.

I Know I’m Back in Fujairah UAE at Ramadan When…, Fujairah in Focus, 30 August 2009.

Dr Geoff Pound

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

Ask him for details about advertizing and links on his sites.

Image: Al Hamra Marina.

Friday, August 28, 2009

For UAE’s America’s Cup Venue Swing Past Camel Track Near Airport

A recent article on the America’s Cup venue in the UAE commences this way:

“No one will mistake this for Valencia.”

“To reach the site picked for the next America's Cup, swing past the camel racetrack near the airport. Then pass by South Asian groceries and dusty rows of villas under construction. Finally, turn toward a stretch of the Persian Gulf where the ruling sheiks are building an island shaped a bit like a plant inspired by Dr. Seuss.”

The Associate Press story looks at the new America’s Cup venue in the UAE, the reactions from the locals, issues of security, legal challenges, the views on the water and the lagoon that is still to be created.

Link
America’s Cup Host Seeks to Calm Jitters, 3 News, 28 August 2009.

On Related Sites
Sheikh Mohammed Continues Technological Advance with Twitpic, Experiencing the Emirates, 28 August 2009.

Ships to Fujairah Sometimes Have to Dodge Pirates, Fujairah in Focus, 28 August 2009.

Dr Geoff Pound

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

Ask him for details about advertizing and links on his sites.

Image: Alinghi tuning up.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Harrison Ford Adds to the America’s Cup Drama

High Drama
There has been much drama since Alinghi announced Ras al Khaimah, United Arab Emirates as the venue for the 33rd America’s Cup but now, actor Harrison Ford has been harnessed by BMW Oracle to bestow upon them the Indiana Jones spirit.

Thus Far
Alinghi announced the sailing venue on the historic ‘Pirate’s Coast’, a fitting venue for two modern day pirates wanting to stretch the other upon the RAK.

Larry Ellison went on the counter attack, questioning Alinghi’s lack of consultation and the safety of sailing within a few miles of Iran. Legal options were left on the table and then BMW Oracle hired a hotshot lawyer to ensure all is done according to the Deed of Gift.

News has also come out this week about the billionaire’s $84.5 million pay packet to keep him going through the year of 2009.

The drama has also been unfolding on the Italian stage of Genoa, where BMW has employed a spy boat to get intelligence on Alinghi’s catamaran. Unfortunately the driver of the boat was so intent on getting up close for the photographer that she failed to see a fisherman and almost filleted him and his boat.

BMW Oracle Razzamatazz
The special occasion was a time for signing posters, drinking champagne and introducing the sailors and support crew, however, primarily the trimaran took centre stage.

It was presented in grandiose terms—a 185 foot high mast as high as a 19-story building and with an area the size of two basketball courts.

The tri is capable of sailing at never-before attained speeds of 50 knots and the experience of being on board at full tilt, according to helmsman, James Spithall, is “an adrenalin rush.”

New Zealander, Russell Coutts said, “this boat was built to be pushed and that’s exactly what we are doing.”

Another spokesperson said that this campaign will be a testing one—“testing of the limits of technology, our ability as sailors, the designers and that of the builders.”

Harrison Ford in the Act
Why was the veteran actor, Harrison Ford, associated with the campaign launch of the challenger when he admitted to the crowd that he knew little or nothing about sailing or the America’s Cup (obviously this apology was unscripted)?

After expressing his admiration and regard for “one of the premier sailing teams in the world if not the premier sailing team in the world,” he said, “My regard for you is high.” Not entirely an unequivocal endorsement of the team’s ranking and chances.

The American flags were raised high and the water was sprayed on the trimaran in what appeared to be a celebratory baptism (by sprinkling rather than total immersion).

Ford said, “I’m here for a wild ride” referring to the invitation to go out on the trimaran after the speeches were over and the champagne was drained.

High Drama
While Ford’s star power has waned in recent years the BMW Oracle team wanted to attract something of the actor’s enjoyment of high action and invincibility.

Harrison Ford is also known to push the limits off the stage, as a pilot of planes and helicopters and one who has been in several accidents and rescue missions.

The Next Act in the Cup
How will the America’s Cup play out in this next act having imbibed some of the Harrison Ford spirit?

Will it be a case of Gunsmoke at RAK, Star Wars on the Persian Gulf, Indiana Jones washes up on the Iranian border and will BMW Oracle be the Fugitive?

With such a dramatic performance at San Diego one would think BMW Oracle is starting to think about sailing on the water rather than battling in the courts.

Links
BMW Oracle Racing Introduces US America’s Cup Team, Port of San Diego, 11 August 2009.

America’s Cup Fever Returns to San Diego, AP-The Log, 21 August 2009.

BMW Oracle Racing Ceremony Highlights, YouTube, 11 August 2009.

On Related Sites
Sheikh Mohammed Pardons 595 Prisoners on First Day of Ramadan, Experiencing the Emirates, 22 August 2009.

Fujairah Ruler Extends Ramadan Greetings, Fujairah in Focus, 23 August 2009.

Dr Geoff Pound

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

Ask him for details about advertizing and links on his sites.

Image: Glimpses of the BMW Oracle bash in San Diego.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

America’s Cup Makes History Today

22 August
‘Today in History’ notes this anniversary:

“1851 - The Hundred Guinea Cup, a silver trophy, was presented by the Royal Yacht Squadron to the U.S. schooner America, the winner of an international race around the Isle of Wight.”

“The trophy was eventually turned over to the New York Yacht Club and is now known as the America’s Cup.”

More History in Middle East
The America’s Cup is soon to be adding another chapter to its grand history with the competition being fought out for the first time in the Middle East in February 2010.

Link
22 August, This Day in History.

On Related Sites
Ramadan 2009 Prayer Timings for UAE, Experiencing the Emirates, 21 August 2009.

Fujairah in Focus, 21 August 2009.

Dr Geoff Pound

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

Ask him for details about advertizing and links on his sites.

Image: The ‘Auld Mug’.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

BMW Oracle Team Spying on Alinghi Catamaran in Italy

Spy Boat
The Italian News Agency ANSA, reports that a boat (pictured) has been commissioned by BMW Oracle to spy on the sea trials of Alinghi’s catamaran as it prepares for the America’s Cup in the United Arab Emirates.

Their job is to gather intelligence that could inform the American team as it prepares their trimaran.

Too Close for Comfort
Zerogradinord also reports that the spy boat was involved this week in an accident with an Italian fisherman. In their quest to get their pictures and information the spy boat rammed the fisherman’s craft as he was 600 metres out from the Genoa coast in Italy.

The female driver of the spy boat kept her course despite horn signals and ran into the long, stout fishing line (boulter) while the fisherman had to swiftly get out of the way to avoid a major collision.

Another eventful chapter in the America’s Cup drama.

Links for the full story
BMW Oracle Spying RIB Nearly Hits Fisherman in Genoa, Valencia Sailing, 19 August 2009.
America’s Cup, Nuovi Guai Per Le Spie di BMW Oracle Racing, Zerogradinord, 19 August 2009.

On Related Sites
Paying and Cancelling Debts this Ramadan in the UAE, Experiencing the Emirates, 20 August 2009.

Photo Blogging Fujairah, Fujairah in Focus, 19 August 2009.

Dr Geoff Pound

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

Ask him for details about advertizing and links on his sites.

Image: BMW Oracle’s spy boat in Genoa.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Will the Cat Have the Advantage over the Trimaran at the America’s Cup?

The specifications for the boats have been established but will Alinghi’s catamaran have an advantage over the tri-hulled BMW Oracle?

Sailing World has an interview on this question with multihull designer and sailor, Pete Melvin. He has been contracted to assist BMW Oracle racing with its challenge for the 33rd America’s Cup in the United Arab Emirates in February 2010.

The podcast looks at issues of weight and windage and the way teams must get their boats structurally strong without adding too much of a burden through the water.

Is there more weight in a trimaran?

Below the Waterline
This interview gets technical with its discussion of truss structures, power hydraulics and geometrical challenges.

But then there is the issue of how these designs will handle the conditions on the Persian Gulf. How fast will the winds blow off Ras al Khaimah? How much pitching in rough seas should the teams expect and which craft will handle the roughness best?

Most Innovative Boat
Melvin is asked which of the teams has the most innovative design and he hints that there is quite some slack in the rules for new measures to be added to optimize the speed of the boats.

Your View
If you were racing in the UAE America’s Cup, would you rather be aboard the cat or the tri?

Listen to the podcast and see whether this changes your views.

Link
2009 Podcast Series: Interview with Pete Melvin, Sailing World, 10 August 2009.

On Related Sites
Looking Down on Abu Dhabi, Experiencing the Emirates, 19 August 2009.

Fujairah the Scene of a Fantastique Spy Escape, Fujairah in Focus, 18 August 2009.

Dr Geoff Pound

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

Ask him for details about advertizing and links on his sites.

Image: Pete Melvin.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Educating Americans—the Greatest Benefit of Holding America’s Cup in UAE

RAK Rebuttal
Reuters has reported (17 August 2009) a rebuttal to Larry Ellison’s claim that the UAE site near to Iran proposed by Alinghi posed a safety risk.

Organizer’s Word
Khater Massaad, chief executive of Ras Al Khaimah Investment Authority (RAKIA), said:

“Today there is no state of war in Iran and this is a peaceful place so there is no problem at all. Why do we suddenly have to raise the concern of safety?”

Let the People Speak
“There are over four million foreigners living in this country. Nobody should have any concerns because Ras al-Khaimah is part of the UAE, which is one of the safest countries in the world.”

Getting On With the Job
Massaad said preparations for yachting's most prestigious race were on track with dredging work on an artificial island to help create a lagoon underway.

Why Bring Up Safety Now?
It is taking Emiratis by surprise to be defending their safety status and questions from Ellison and his ilk can appear to be attempts to sabotage the UAE location.

But Ellison is American and any mention of the ‘Middle East’ to most Americans raises warning bells about safety. For decades, Americans have been conditioned by their politicians and their media networks to think that all of the Middle East is dangerous.

Ongoing Education
It has often been said that America’s involvement in wars has provided the greatest contribution to increasing the knowledge of American citizens about international affairs.

Perhaps educating Americans about the safety of most of the Middle East and about the positive contributions of Islam will be one of the greatest spinoffs from holding the America’s Cup in the United Arab Emirates.

Link
Sailing-No Iran Risk to UAE America’s Cup Venue Say Organisers, Reuters, 17 August 2009.

On Related Sites
Determining the Beginning of Ramadan in the UAE, Experiencing the Emirates, 18 August 2009.

Fujairah the Scene of a Fantastique Spy Escape, Fujairah in Focus, 18 August 2009.

Dr Geoff Pound

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

Ask him for details about advertizing and links on his sites.

Image: Glimpses of the America’s Cup and the Emirates.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Putting Culture into 33rd America’s Cup by Racing in Arab Dhows

Cultural Sterility
There is a cultural sterility about the 33rd racing of the America’s Cup which could well be overcome if Alinghi and BMW Oracle fought for the ‘Auld Mug’ in traditional Arab dhows on the Persian Gulf.

According to the Deed of Gift, the America’s Cup was “to promote friendly competition among nations” but the modern day legal battles have put paid to ‘friendly competition’ and the national makeup of the teams has eroded much of the cultural and national expression.

Have you ever seen such a cultural hotchpotch? The 33rd America’s Cup will see the Swiss boat Alinghi with its Swiss President, Ernesto Bertarelli and leader of the campaign, Brad Butterworth, a Kiwi from Te Awamutu, New Zealand.

The challenger will be BMW Oracle headed up by American Oracle Corporation Founder Larry Ellison with another New Zealander leading the campaign, Russell Coutts from Wellington and Australian, James Spithall, at the helm.

Artificial Venue
To add to the cultural artificiality of the 33rd America’s Cup, the competition will take place from a man-made venue, a new 22 hectare purpose built island that is still to emerge from the Al Hamra Village lagoon out from Ras al Khaimah.

How much of a Middle Eastern, Emirati flavour will the 33rd America’s Cup possess or will RAK simply be host without having much input into the shaping of the overall event?

Traditional Arab Craft
What would inject some local culture into the competition would be if the two teams were to fight it out in dhows (Arabic داو), the traditional Arab sailing vessels with their characteristic lateen (triangular) sails. These were the boats that have been used for centuries to carry spices and fish around the Gulf and south to Africa. They are still used for trade and tourism but some sleeker models are raced at the sailing clubs of Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

The dhow comes in different sizes and sail settings so Alinghi and BMW Oracle would have some latitude to develop their own style and technology.

Arab Regattas
It is unlikely, especially at this late hour, for the defender and challenger to make a change to their boating designs for the sake of culture.

It is hoped that preceding the potentially short, best of three America’s Cup competition, there could be some dhow racing to bring some Arab flavor and maybe the racing of abras, those much loved ferries that zig-zag passengers across the Dubai Creek.

How else might the local culture, in this first Middle Eastern America’s Cup, find expression in the 2010 competition?

On Related Sites
Preparing for Ramadan in the United Arab Emirates, Experiencing the Emirates, 17 August 2009.

Branding Fujairah, Fujairah in Focus, 13 August 2009.

Dr Geoff Pound

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

Ask him for details about advertizing and links on his sites.

Image: The traditional dhow.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Take a Look at BMW/Oracle Racing BOR90 in San Diego This Week

BMW Oracle on the Water
At the BMW Oracle media event on 10 August 2009 the trimaran was put through its paces.

A cameraman was on board the chase boat taking this footage.

He said, “This is the best I was able to get. Things got real bumpy as the chase boat hit the throttle in order to keep up.

Assessing Its Performance
Do you think this trimaran has the speed to outdo the Alinghi catamaran when they do battle on the Persian Gulf next February 2010 out from the new UAE base?



On Related Sites
Branding Fujairah, UAE, Fujairah in Focus, 13 August 2009.

Dubai’s Beautiful World Record Fountain Makes a Splash, Experiencing the Emirates, 16 August 2009.

Dr Geoff Pound

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

Ask him for details about advertizing and links on his sites.

Image: BMW Oracle or also known as BOR90 or USA.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

RAK Hotel in Hot Water over Alleged Photo Theft

The Cove Rotana Resort at Ras al Khaimah is bound to be fully booked come the America’s Cup in February 2010 but it is currently getting bad press for allegedly using a picture of a beach in Dorset, England to show off its beach offerings in the UAE.

The coastline and distinctive stone arch of Durdle Door in Dorset has been used on the RAK hotel’s web site and this has been noticed by a British expat searching for a weekend break.

A Rotana Hotel spokesperson said the web site was designed by an independent marketing company and was not their official website. They were taking steps to rectify the matter.

‘Any press is good press?’ This story will undoubtedly bring hits to the Cove’s website and bookings, even by the Brits.

Stop Press
Rotana Denies Image Use, AMEInfo, 16 August 2009.

On Related Sites
New Rolls-Royce—A Model to Suit Every Emirate, Experiencing the Emirates, 15 August 2009.

Branding Fujairah, Fujairah in Focus, 13 August 2009.

Dr Geoff Pound

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

Ask him for details about advertizing and links on his sites.

Image: A look at the website of The Cove and a photo of Dorset’s Durdle Door.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Paint the America’s Cup with Henna in the Extraordinary Emirates

The stimulating article by Olivier Auroy in The National has got me thinking about Branding Fujairah and made me wonder how marketers will showcase the unknown town of Ras al Khaimah which has surprisingly been handed the task of hosting the America’s Cup in February 2010.

Safety Brand
With BMW Oracle tycoon Larry Ellison raising questions about RAK’s proximity to Iran, building an image that highlights the safety of the UAE is paramount. There’s no merit in beaming the message to American tourists: “When you come to the America’s Cup in RAK call in to Iran on the way.”

Battle Brand
The America’s Cup brand has been tarnished by the endless legal challenges and taunts between the owners and captains of the teams Alinghi and BMW Oracle. Should marketers ignore this factor in the branding or is it best to acknowledge it and bill the America’s Cup as a ding-dong battle on the water along UAE’s historically appropriate ‘Pirate’s Coast’?

Leveraging upon the UAE Brand
The short period between the announcement of the venue and the yacht race gives little time for the building of a new brand. It is important to get leverage from the existing brands that Dubai, Abu Dhabi and the UAE have collectively acquired.

Big Event Brand
The initial announcement by Alinghi billed the UAE as the rising showcase for international sporting events that have received the blessing of Tiger and Roger and whose star keeps on rising with the snaring of the F1 Grand Prix for Abu Dhabi. All this is happening in spite of the recession as the UAE is proving its ability to bounce back faster than other major world economies.

Innovative, Visionary, Defiant
The recent spending up large on American race horses by the Ruler of Dubai is just the act of defiance that people love to see in hard times.

Speaking of His Highness Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashid al Maktoum, his international recognition and influence is extremely high. Any support he can give to the advertising of the America’s Cup will give this event Mo Mentum and emphasize the ‘can do’ quality that people around the world admire.

Extraordinary Emirates
Capitalizing on the ‘extraordinary’ element in the Emirates seems the most effective way to get tourists and investors booking their fares for the UAE in February.

Plenty of scenes of the iconic Burj al Arab, statements about the growing list of world records in sport and architecture (‘Come visit the tallest building in the world' which opens in December 2009, laced with stories about base jumping off the Burj Tower and tower running) and of course oodles of pictures of the sensational shopping malls where family members who don’t like shopping can ski on snow, skate on ice or watch the sharks.

The extraordinary wealth of Abu Dhabi, oft dubbed as ‘the richest city in the world’, with its oil reserves and growing cultural richness through the Louvre of the Middle East, will give weight to the Emirates brand.

Celebrity Brand
Add to this the propensity for outrageously lavish fireworks displays and the constant jetting in of celebrities such as Kylie, Christina and the many like the Fed and the Shu and the Becks, who have made their home in the country will give the event extra pizzazz.

Henna the America’s Cup
The America’s Cup competition at RAK gives a wonderful opportunity to paint a positive picture of the Emirates with its Arab hospitality, traditional coffee drinking and cuisine, henna painting, shisha smoking, sensuous camel milk chocolates, as well as the more active pursuits such as riding camels in the desert, dune bashing, Arab horse riding, falcon flying, bush walking, sailing, diving and bull butting.

In February the weather is usually stable and pleasant (maximum 25C/77F) so this will lend itself to enjoying the great outdoors in the Emirates and in neighboring Gulf States.

Moderate Islam
There is no escaping the impact of Islam on all aspects of the UAE’s history, culture, sport and entertainment and nor would one want to ignore its important influence. Unfortunately some of the stricter aspects of Shariah law have received much greater prominence in the international press than is experienced on a day to day basis by residents of the Emirates. Images of the veils and burqas, the ‘sex on the beach’ trial, laws criminalizing homosexuals and banning Israelis, the dress codes, remembrances of stoning and flogging and laws that turn the bouncing of cheques and bankruptcy into criminal matters will be things the marketers will want to ignore.

The America’s Cup event presents a great opportunity to challenge narrow stereotypes, display the positive influence of moderate Islam and show how the vast majority of Muslims in the country are people who hate terrorism and are committed to peace.

Unique America’s Cup
Apart from the enduring aspects that the UAE offers, there will be much that is unique about the 33rd America’s Cup. History will be made as this is the first time the ancient competition is to be staged in the Middle East.

The race is shaping up as the ‘battle of the multi-hulls’ with Alinghi’s catamaran and the BMW trimaran. With these light, sail-rich crafts, the America’s Cup on the Persian Gulf could be the fastest competition in its history.

You Do the Branding
Marketers charge the earth for their brands and slogans. If you were given the job of branding the 33rd America’s Cup at RAK in the United Arab Emirates, what features would you underline and what marketing buttons would you press?

On Related Sites
Emiratis Like all Things Gold, Especially Australia’s Gold Coast, Experiencing the Emirates, 14 August 2009.

Branding Fujairah, UAE, Fujairah in Focus, 13 August 2009.

Dr Geoff Pound

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

Contact him about advertizing details and getting links for this and his other sites.

Images: You Do the Branding.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

What They’re Saying about RAK—the New America’s Cup Venue in UAE

Where’s RAK?
Larry Ellison, BMW Oracle boss, after a lackluster BMW Oracle presentation in San Diego, is still questioning the safety of Ras al Khaimah with its proximity to Iran but Russell Coutts is suggesting privately that he wants to get on with the battle on the water.

Putting RAK on the Map
People have heard of Dubai and Abu Dhabi but the question everyone outside of the UAE has been asking is, “Where is RAK?”

An article at Yacht Sponsorship (13 August 2009) says the America’s Cup in February 2010 is giving the chance for the UAE to put another emirate on the map.

A recent article this week (12 August 2009) in Abu Dhabi’s The National, looks at the task of branding RAK or the America’s Cup in RAK to ensure it has ongoing marketing power in the same way that the F1 Grand Prix has achieved this for Bahrain.

Much Branding to Do
An ‘air hostess’ (her term) and blog writer went last weekend in search of RAK and concluded it was something of a ghost town. Her quirky photos, entitled ‘The Randomness of RAK’ are of one slice of the city—its history, its littleness, its dustiness. Probably the locals won’t be too happy to see these pictures (and her second set) as representative of the complete range of services in their beloved town and emirate.

Fortunately the America’s Cup venue is going to be a brand new construction on a new 22-hectare purpose-built island site that will be part of the Al Hamra Village lagoon, a new luxury resort with more than 3,500 homes.

Confirming the Yacht
The US team Oracle has confirmed it will challenge Alinghi in a huge trimaran which it has been testing in California. Called at present ‘BOR 90’

RAK Staging Multihull Duel
With Alinghi defending its title in a 90-foot catamaran which it airlifted from Switzerland this week over the Alps to the Mediterranean Sea, RAK looks to be the venue of a multihull duel—the ‘bi’ against the ‘tri’.

RAK Getting on With Life
While there’s considerable buzz surrounding the announcement of the new venue at RAK, the town is also getting on with everyday living.

Sadly the community’s joy has been tinged by the tragedy this week of three local Emirati children who were killed on Monday in a road accident while holidaying in India.

There is news of RAK fishermen getting their licenses cancelled because of selling rotten fish.

With Ramadan commencing this month RAK charity groups have distributed food rations to more than 200 families, thus expressing an important theme of this holy month. RAK might also stand for ‘Random Acts of Kindness.’

Yes, the city of Ras al Kaimah seems excited to be in the media spotlight and getting international recognition but there are some sad, happy, ordinary and holy things to be taken care of before the ancient competition, with its warring teams in multihull craft, square off for the first time in the Middle East.

On Related Sites
Sheikh Mohammed Called ‘Sheikh Mo Mentum’ at the US Horse Racing Sales, Experiencing the Emirates, 13 August 2009.

Powerful News for Fujairah, Fujairah in Focus, 12 August 2009.

Dr Geoff Pound

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

Write to him about advertizing details and getting links for this and his other sites.

Images: “RAK looks to be the venue of a multihull duel—the ‘bi’ against the ‘tri’.”

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

33rd America’s Cup in UAE According to Wikipedia

The 33rd America's Cup will take place in 8-12 February 2010 off the coast of Ras al-Khaimah in the United Arab Emirates; the event will be based at Al Hamra Village, a luxury resort.

Here’s all you need to know about the America’s Cup according to Wikipedia:

* Litigation

* Timeline

* Negotiation

* Boats

* Louis Vuitton Pacific series

* References to key articles

* Important Links

Link
33rd America’s Cup, Wikipedia.

On Related Sites
Global Oil Supplies Diminishing Fast—Implications for the UAE? Experiencing the Emirates, 12 August 2009.

Powerful News for Fujairah, Fujairah in Focus, 12 August 2009.

Dr Geoff Pound

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

Write to him about advertizing details and getting links for this and his other sites.

Image: “All you need to know about the America’s Cup according to Wikipedia.”

Is it Safe to Hold the America’s Cup in RAK, UAE?

Ellison Questions Safety
Larry Ellison, the Oracle Corp. founder and CEO who owns BMW Oracle Racing, said he's never been to Ras al-Khaimah, United Arab Emirates, which was named last week by Alinghi as the venue for the best-of-3 America’s Cup starting on 8 February 2010.

On Tuesday he questioned the safety of a Persian Gulf port picked as the site for the America's Cup.

“I don't exactly know what to say,” Ellison said during the official presentation of his crew and the giant trimaran it will sail. “I'm a little bit concerned because it's less than 100 miles from Iran, so we're all concerned about the safety of our crew and our shore crew and everyone setting set up there.”

Russell Coutts of Ellison’s team had earlier expressed comments about his lack of knowledge of RAK even though he and his crew have spent time sailing out of Dubai and visiting Abu Dhabi.

While recognizing the international sport that is played in the Emirates, Ellison’s comments seemed pointed towards Ras al-Khaimah’s location near Iran:

“People say, ‘Oh my God, the Emirates, that's where Roger Federer trains for tennis and that's where Formula One races,’” said Ellison, who will sail aboard the 90-foot trimaran. “Not this part of the Emirates. There's an oil depot, we're concerned about electricity, we're concerned about a lot of things. We're concerned about the proximity to Iran.”

“I know a lot of people in the UAE. We like them a lot. Oracle does do a lot of business with the UAE. Nothing bad to say about the UAE at all, but we are concerned about the suitability of this particular venue for a race like this.”

Alinghi Team Concerned about Safety
In the initial announcement by the Cup holders, Brad Butterworth said the selection of the UAE had taken into consideration the important matters of the overall safety of all involved in the competition:

“Our absolute priorities in making this decision are the prevailing weather conditions and the resulting safety that they bring to both teams.”

Iran/UAE Tension
There is a running conflict between Iran and the UAE over the ownership of islands in the stretch of water between the two countries and Emiratis always make Iranian blood boil when they call the Gulf the ‘Arabian’ Gulf rather than the ‘Persian Gulf’.

On a day to day basis in the UAE there is no great tension between the Emirates and Iran. The US administration wishes there was more and has been critical of the brisk trade between the two countries, hoping instead that the UAE will join the trade boycott.

On the almost universal questioning of the recent election results in Iran, the UAE has been noticeably silent, calling it an ‘internal matter’. Regardless of the rightness and wrongness of being silent in the face of injustice, this approach underscores the ‘brotherly’ relationship between the two countries and emphasizes further the safety aspects of holding the America’s Cup near Iran.

International security analyst Dr Paul Buchanan said recently of the proposed America’s Cup in the UAE: “The Iranians would have no real interest in disrupting the event. Not only are their relations with the UAE cordial, but it would invite further international sanctions and a possible military response.”

General Safety in the UAE?
Questions of safety in the UAE abound on travel advisory sites, on forums and on business and employment sites. In different ways people are asking, “Will I be safe if I travel to the UAE and the Middle East?”

Overwhelmingly the answer is ‘Yes’ and the response is amplified by this statement on an employment site:

“There is relatively little crime in UAE. The level of violence is far less than one would find in a city of comparable size in the United States or Canada. Generally, Western people say they feel safe.”

Personal Response
As one who has lived in New Zealand, Australia and the USA, and as a frequent traveller to many different countries of the world, my wife and I feel very safe living in the UAE. It feels safer to live in the UAE than in New Zealand, Australia and the USA.

Most times when Americans hear that I live in the UAE the response is usually the same: “Do you feel safe living in the Emirates?” The US media service has conditioned Americans into thinking that every part of the Middle East is unsafe and therefore to be avoided. Furthermore, the incessant coupling of the words ‘Muslim’ and ‘terrorist’ have falsely portrayed Islamic countries as places of violence and depicted Muslims as people who are committed to conflict and attack.

Americans Should Come to the UAE and the Gulf
A Yacht Sponsorship report (11 August 2009) that waxes eloquently on the American skill in pomp and ceremony decries the UAE site selection, calling the choice of Ras al-Khaimah “one of the least ‘fan-friendly’ things that the Swiss team have done.”

The article adds: “The choice of the UAE venue makes it incredibly difficult for spectators to get involved in the next edition of the Cup…[and] by choosing the little known UAE destination, the event effectively becomes a television only event.”

Whether the safety factor of venturing to the Middle East is paramount or the fear of the unknown, American spectators should grasp the opportunity of using this competition to visit the UAE and make up their own minds rather than accepting blindly the false stereotypes portrayed by their media.

On Related Sites
Global Oil Supplies Diminishing Fast—Implications for the UAE? Experiencing the Emirates, 12 August 2009.

Powerful News for Fujairah, Fujairah in Focus, 12 August 2009.

Dr Geoff Pound

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

Write to him about advertizing details and getting links for this and his other sites.

Image: “Comments seemed pointed towards Ras al-Khaimah’s location near Iran.”
CLICK TO ENLARGE IMAGE

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Distances Between Ras al Khaimah and Dubai, Sharjah, Fujairah, Abu Dhabi…


CLICK ON THE ABOVE DIAGRAM TO ENLARGE


UAE the Size of a Postage Stamp
The UAE is the size of a postage stamp or a pocket handkerchief. It can be criss-crossed by road from north to south and east to west in a matter of hours.

The small size of the country is why the new electric cars could be quite a hit in the Emirates.

Several comments on the new America’s Cup venue at RAK have taken a pot-shot at the lack of infrastructure in this northern emirate yet because of the short distances, many tourists coming to the UAE in February 2010 are bound to base themselves not only in RAK but in the neighboring emirates such as Sharjah, Dubai, Ajman, Fujairah and Uum al Quwain.

Check the UAE Distances
The Distance Diagram above includes Omani towns as well as those in the Emirates (hopefully tourists coming for the America’s Cup in February 2010 will visit Oman and other Gulf countries).

Distances Between RAK and Other Cities
Look at the short distances (in kilometers) between RAK and the main cities in the other six emirates of the UAE:

Dubai 105
Sharjah 85
Ajman 70
Fujairah 110
Abu Dhabi 250
Uum al Quwain 55

Travel Factors
Remember that distance is only one indicator. The time it takes to get to RAK from other places will depend on speed limits, road conditions, the time of day, traffic congestion, accidents etc.

On Related Sites
Nissan’s First Electric Car Could Be in UAE by 2010, Experiencing the Emirates, 11 August 2009.

Fujairah a Great Base for Getting to The America's Cup Venue at RAK, Fujairah in Focus, 11 August 2009.

Dr Geoff Pound

Geoff can be contacted by email at geoffpound(at)gmail.com on Facebook and Twitter. Ask him for details about advertizing on this or his other sites.

Image: Distance diagram of the UAE (courtesy of Keluarga Wahyu di Qatar, which has one of the most detailed descriptions of a road trip between the UAE, Oman. Check out this site to plan your trip).

CLICK ON THE ABOVE DIAGRAM TO ENLARGE

Take a Look around RAK, the America’s Cup Location 2010

This map is from an official UAE site and it offers a key to some of the features of the city and emirate of Ras al Khaimah:

1. ?
2. Port Saqr
3. Al Nakheel Hotel
4. RAK museum
5. RAK Hotel
6. Bin Majid Hotel (off map)
7. Khatt Hot Springs
8. Al Hamra Fort Hotel (off map)

Description
Ras al-Khaimah is the west coast's most northerly emirate.

It extends for a distance of about 64 kilometres along the coastline and for more than 128 kilometres inland.

Its mountainous borders are shared with the Sultanate of Oman.

The area of the emirate is 168 square kilometres, which is equivalent to 2.2 per cent of the country’s total area, excluding islands.

The city of Ras al-Khaimah is divided into two parts by an inlet known as Khor Ras al-Khaimah.

The western part of the city is called the Old Ras al-Khaimah and comprises Ras al-Khaimah National Museum and a number of the government departments.

The eastern part, known as Al-Nakheel, houses the Ruler’s office, several government departments and commercial companies.

The two sections are connected via a large bridge built across the khor (meaning creek) and a road that circles the creek.

Tour With Google Maps
Take a look at Ras al Khaimah on Google Maps to discover something of the layout of the place.


View Larger Map

Source
UAE Maps, Ras al Khaimah, UAE Interact.

On Related Sites
Nissan’s First Electric Car Could Be in UAE by 2010, Experiencing the Emirates, 11 August 2009.
Visit Al Bidya Mosque—the Oldest Worship Place in the Emirates, Fujairah in Focus, 9 August 2009.

Dr Geoff Pound

Geoff can be contacted by email at geoffpound(at)gmail.com on Facebook and Twitter. Ask him for details about advertizing on this or other sites.

Image: Map of Ras al Khaimah (courtesy of UAE Interact).

Monday, August 10, 2009

Despite Recession, Worldwide Scramble for Big Sporting Events in 2010

Despite the recession, demand is high for big events in 2010, specifically for the Winter Olympics in Vancouver (12-28 February 2010) and the FIFA World Cup in South Africa (11 June-11 July 2010).

Michelle Higgins writes in the New York Times (9 August 2009) of the ‘Worldwide Scramble to See Top Sports Events’ and encourages her sports loving readers to get going with their travel and accommodation bookings.

The same might be said of those thinking of basing a UAE or Middle East holiday around the America’s Cup competition, currently located in Ras al Khaimah.

There is some measure of uncertainty until Team BMW Oracle has checked out the new UAE venue but once this is confirmed the bookings are likely to be coming thick and fast.

This doesn’t stop pencil bookings being made immediately which can be confirmed or erased depending on future official announcements.

Links
Michelle Higgins, Worldwide Scramble to See Top Sports Events, New York Times, 9 August 2009.

On Related Sites
Is a Marriage Campaign the Best way to Preserve Emirati Identity? Experiencing the Emirates, 10 August 2009.
Visit Al Bidya Mosque—the Oldest Worship Place in the Emirates, Fujairah in Focus, 9 August 2009.

Dr Geoff Pound

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

Image: “Worldwide Scramble to See Top Sports Events.”

Sunday, August 9, 2009

America’s Cup Up in the Air Over the Emirates

Oracle Team Up in the Air
Russell Coutts, CEO of BMW Oracle told Valencia Sailing that his team was keen to race in February 2010 but as for the suggested UAE venue, “We don’t have experience in Ras al-Khaimah so we will send a team of people there to see what the venue is like…I personally have raced in Dubai and have been to Abu Dhabi but have never been to Ras al-Khaimah so we don’t know what the weather is like or what facilities are available.”

Alinghi Boat Up in the Air
Since announcing the RAK venue the giant catamaran belonging to America's Cup defender Alinghi has been carried by the world's largest helicopter from Lake Geneva to the Mediterranean Sea.

After two weeks of trials on Lake Geneva, where it was built, the 35-metre-long yacht was flown 300 kilometres to the Italian port of Genoa for its first sea trials.

A Russian MI-26 helicopter, the largest and heaviest in the world, carried it using long cables. The catamaran's 50-metre tall mast, which weighs two tons, has been flown to Italy separately.

The boat and her crew will now spend a month training on the Mediterranean.

Onto the Water
With the delays and threat of new legal challenges, Alexander Smith expresses something of the frustration being voiced by commentators and the sailing public. In his article for Reuters blog entitled ‘Time to Get America’s Cup Back On the Water’ he writes:

“Sometimes you have to wonder if it wouldn’t be better for everyone concerned if Larry Ellison and Ernesto Bertarelli slugged it out in the boxing ring rather than the courts to decide who should lift the America’s Cup.”

“Despite huge sums they’ve poured into designing, building and testing the most outrageously hi-tech sailing machines imaginable, there’s certainly no sign of the two billionaires getting anywhere near competing for yachting’s most prestigious prize on the water.”

Links
Valencia Sailing Talks to Russell Coutts About the 33rd AC Venue, Valencia Sailing, 7 August 2009.
Alexander Smith, Time to Get America’s Cup back on the Water, Reuters, 5 August 2009.

On Related Sites
“Malls Should Not Sell Clothes Inappropriate for UAE”, Experiencing the Emirates, 9 August 2009.
Visit Al Bidya Mosque—the Oldest Worship Place in the Emirates, Fujairah in Focus, 9 August 2009.

Dr Geoff Pound

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

Image: Alinghi being carried by the world's largest helicopter from Lake Geneva to the Mediterranean Sea.

Friday, August 7, 2009

F1 GP, Tiger, PGA, Federer & Williams, America’s Cup—What’s Next?

Power of Association
Look at this list of events drawn from Alinghi’s statement about choosing the UAE as the venue for the 33rd racing of the America’s Cup:

INTERNATIONAL EVENTS IN UAE-
- Motorsport: Formula-1 in Abu Dhabi since 2009 (Hamilton, Alonso, Schumacher…)
- Golf: PGA in Dubai since 1989 and Abu Dhabi since 2006 (Woods, Els, Montgomery, García…); Tiger Woods has designed his first golf course in Dubai
- Tennis: ATP in Dubai since 1993 (Federer, Nadal, Murray, Roddick, Agassi…) and WTA in Dubai since 2001 (Williams, Hingis, Davenport…)
- Sailing: RC44 in Dubai since 2007 (Coutts, Spithill, Barker, Col…) and Alinghi winter training in Dubai in 2006/7
- Football: FIFA Club World Cup in Abu Dhabi in 2009 (FC Barcelona, Estudiantes, Auckland City…)
- Guggenheim Museum in Abu Dhabi (completion expected in 2011)
- New York Philharmonic Orchestra in Abu Dhabi in 2009

The UAE venue has much to do with the power of association.

Brad Butterworth of Alinghi spoke about his 2007 visit to ‘extraordinary’ Dubai when he saw Tiger at one event and Roger at another and said, “It was a real eye-opener…there’s a lot of sport going on in that area.”

Power of Association in the Emirates
Some of the local reaction to the UAE announcement has extolled the nation’s expertise in hosting major events saying this is further confirmation of their ability.

What's Next?
Some tweets on Twitter have been listing the main events—F1 Grand Prix, Tiger and the PGA, Federer, Nadal and the Williams sisters (ATP and WTA), FIFA World Cup and now the America’s Cup—and then asking, ‘What Next?’

Certainly hosting the Olympic Games in the Emirates must be in the sights of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum and the other UAE leaders.

Want to Experience the Power of Association?
Do contact me if you’d like to associate with the America’s Cup effort in the UAE by advertising on this site and/or being listed in the ‘Key Links’.

Yes, it’s a brand new site started this week but already it has received hits from these places:

Barcelona, Auckland, Rio, Provence-alpes-cote D'azur (France), Cardiff, Indiana, Perth, WA, Estonia, Pennsylvannia, Sao Paulo, St Andrew, Jamaica, Hamburg (Germany), Valencia, Gisborne (NZ), London, San Francisco, Buenos Aires, Brussels, Brooklyn (NY), Geilenkirchen (Germany), Lisbon (Portugal), Ontario (Canada), Västerås (Sweden), Wroclaw (Poland), Dion-le-mont (Belgium), Medellín (Columbia), Montería (Columbia), Jiddah (KSA), Alcorcón (Spain), South River (NJ. USA), Mexico City as well as from the local cities of Sharjah, RAK, Dubai, Fujairah and Abu Dhabi.

Wouldn't you like these people and more to know about the business and services you are offering to America's Cup sailors, support teams, and spectators who are wanting to visit the UAE in the next few months?

Dr Geoff Pound

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

Image: The power of association in the UAE—what’s next?

Emirates Just the Scene for an ‘Extraordinary’ America’s Cup

Extraordinary Venue
Bernie Wilson in Stuff.Co.NZ comments on the UAE location for the America’s Cup in February 2009:

“Everything leading up to the 33rd America's Cup has been unconventional and surprising, so it figures that the venue might as well be extraordinary, too.”

Wilson and others have remarked on history being made as the America’s Cup will for the first time be decided in the Middle East.

The UAE location is seen by many as ‘extraordinary’ perhaps referring to the nation’s reputation for world records and eye catching events. ‘Extraordinary’ is the operative word when compared with the historic and ‘stodgy’ America’s Cup.

Golf, Tennis, Sailing
Brad Butterworth of Alinghi spoke of the UAE’s growing reputation as a sporting host when he made this statement about his team’s time in Dubai prior to the 2007 America's Cup:

“It was a real eye-opener for me. We went and watched Tiger (Woods) play in the Desert Classic there and Roger Federer played there that time of the year, so there's a lot of sport going on in that area. I think eventually a regatta was going to happen there one way or the other.”

Link
Bernie Wilson, Stodgy America’s Cup Defence in Persian Gulf, Stuff.Com.NZ, 6 August 2009.

Dr Geoff Pound

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

Image: Brad Butterworth of Alinghi.

America’s Cup UAE Venue Ras al Khaimah Sailing into Prominence

“Where the hell is Ras al Khaimah?” most people have been saying these last few days.

Gulf News repeats much of the news given in earlier announcements but provides a photo gallery with a good map of RAK (pictured), showing its location in relation to the rest of the UAE.

It also features a growing number of reactions from the locals glad to see RAK being put on the map.

Link
Ras al Khaimah Sails into History, Gulf News, 5 August 2009.

Dr Geoff Pound

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

Image: Location of the Al Hamra Village venue. Note the water on this map is called the ‘Arabian Gulf’. See why this gets the Iranians annoyed.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Local Reaction to America’s Cup Announcement of UAE Venue

Here are some of the initial reactions from writers and spokespersons in the UAE regarding the announcement that the Emirates has been chosen as the venue for the sailing of the 33rd America’s Cup in February 2010.

Gulf News reports:

Confirms Capabilities of UAE
“America's Cup defender Alinghi's choice of Ras Al Khaimah is just another confirmation of the belief the international world has in the capabilities of the UAE, according to a top official from the Dubai International Marine Club (DIMC).”

Major Event Organiser
"Alinghi has had a good experience with us at the DIMC when they set up their winter training base (in December 2006). And this choice of Ras Al Khaimah now just proves the capability of the UAE in hosting major institutions and organisations such as Alinghi," Saeed Hareb told Gulf News from London.

Huge Benefits
"The benefits for the UAE, the Gulf and the Middle East will be huge. The sport of sailing will get a boost and aspiring sailors from the region will be able to experience first hand how professionals work and sail," Hareb said.

The National highlights:
* The calm waters of RAK which are ideal for fast racing.
* The historic nature—first time the America’s Cup will be held in the Middle East.
* Fears from locals that the race will be overshadowed by a lack of facilities and infrastructure (transport, utilities, power) even though there will be less demand from sailors and support crew as only two teams are competing.

A further report in The National covers the legal wrangling over the venue.

Yet another article in The National speaks of this announcement as a ‘considerable coup’ but reports some doubts from locals as to whether the RAK facilities will be ready in time.

Links
Alaric Gomes, It is a Belief in UAE’s Capabilities, Gulf News, 5 August 2009.
Tim Brookes, Alinghi are Happy with selection, The National, 6 August 2009.
Zoë Griffiths, The Venue is Just the Start of the Legal Wrangling, The National, 5 August 2009.
Tim Brookes, RAK to Host America’s Cup Showdown, The National, 6 August 2009.

Dr Geoff Pound

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

Image: Alinghi at a recent race with some of the spectator fleet.

New America’s Cup Venue Highlights UAE Achievements

The local reaction to the announcement that UAE’s Ras al-Khaimah has been appointed the venue of the 2010 America’s Cup is mounting.

A statement from the Crown Prince of Ras al-Khaimah points up some of the significance:

Sheikh Saud Bin Saqr Al Qasimi, Crown Prince of Ras al-Khaimah said:

"It is a great moment for us to host the America's Cup here. It is significant because it reflects how the Emirates have become a place for hosting international events.

"It is a reflection on what we have achieved in terms of becoming the destination for tourists and trade and industry and is a reflection of our integration in the world at large.

"This announcement reflects the nature of our country and its aim of becoming host to many nationalities who live side by side in peace.

"It is a hope and dream that this is the kind of space that we want to have on our globe. It is a great moment for us to host this prestigious event and to welcome all the sports people to the UAE and to Ras al-Khaimah to watch this great event; we are looking forward to this successful event."

Link
Andy Sambidge, RAK to Build New Island to Host America’s Cup, Arabian Business. Com, 5 August 2009.

Dr Geoff Pound

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

America’s Cup Legal Battle Getting into Deep Waters

A report in Law.Com by lawyer, Ben Hallman, surveys the legal wrangle between the two America’s Cup yachting teams.

Hallman writes:

“We're not the only ones amazed that what was originally conceived as a friendly boat race between nations has turned into the sporting world's version of ‘Kramer vs. Kramer.’”

Link
America’s Cup fight Continues in Court, With No Sign Yet of the Open Sea, Law.Com, 3 August 2009.

Dr Geoff Pound

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

Image: Alinghi 5.

UAE Selected as America’s Cup Venue but There’s a Legal Challenge

Soon after the defending Swiss team Alinghi announced that the venue for the 33rd America’s Cup would be at UAE’s Ras al-Khaimah, America’s BMW Oracle has put out a conflicting statement.

The Golden Gate Yacht Club (GGYC) issued this brief statement from San Diego (August 5, 2009):

“Golden Gate Yacht Club believes Société Nautique de Genève’s choice of this venue, without our mutual consent, is contrary to the Deed of Gift and the decisions and orders of the New York courts. We are reviewing our options.”

Don’t take the champers off the ice yet (non-alcoholic champers in the Emirates). The process leading up to today’s announcements has been fraught with long, expensive legal battles that have taken much joy out of the build up. Too much time in court has alienated sponsors and spectators.

Hopefully the competitors can get out of the courts and onto the Persian Gulf where the real battle should be taking place.

Dr Geoff Pound

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

Image: BMW Oracle.