Some destinations have a certain reputation for attracting the yachting world’s great and good, offering you all the comforts a sailor would expect. Others offer the charm and originality typical to remote, unspoiled corners of the earth. Sailing in Dubai combines both of these features.
Despite its recent yachting credentials, Dubai has a long tradition in sailing. Take for example the emirate’s trademark dhow boats: traditional wooden sailing vessels roaming the Dubai creek all the way up to the Persian Gulf. There is also an annual offshore regatta from Dubai to Muscat for sailing aficionados.
Marinas in Dubai
As expected, Dubai is home to several large and modern marinas with all amenities fitting to the stupendous luxury yachts that visit the area. A good option is IGY Anchor Marina in Palm Jumeirah, with 590 berths for yachts with a length between 10m and 30m. Equally good is the 300-berth marina of the Dubai International Marine Club, close to Le Meridien Mina Seyahi, which among other things hosts the Dubai International Boat Show. Not surprisingly, you will find there some of the world’s most impressive superyachts.
Dubai is already a popular tourist destination, and many visitors choose a boat ride with or without a skipper to admire its impressive skyline from the water. If you opt for a bareboat yacht charter, you will need a licence to steer the boat, otherwise you may face a hefty fine, depending on the type of boat you have rented, from the FTA (Federal Transport Authority) or the Dubai Maritime Police. Leisure boats departing from Dubai must obtain a sailing permit, which you can get at all marinas.
What to see
Sailing in Dubai is a unique experience, given that the emirate of Dubai is famous for its unique geographical position, culture and architecture. Where else would you be able to view from the water the sail-shaped hotel Burj Al Arab Jumeirah, or the majestic Burj Khalifa, once the tallest building in the world, with the endless whiteness of the desert in the background?
With a yacht charter in Dubai you can explore the famous Dubai Creek, a narrow waterway linking the city to the Persian Gulf. You will see here small fishing boats sailing past large motorboats or luxury yachts, a sight that epitomises Dubai’s unique blend of tradition and modern life. Following the route of the canal, you will feast your eyes on graceful buildings such as the old Dubai Creek Tower and the Deira Twin Towers. From the Deira Corniche and Al Ras districts you can sail to Al Shindagha and the Dubai Creek Park.
Another option when sailing in Dubai is to visit the city of Muscat, Oman’s capital and an important economic and cultural hub since time immemorial. Dock at the old port and visit the historic Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque and the stunning Old Palace. If you book a yacht charter you can also sail to the picturesque town of Old Muscat, separated from the capital by mountains.
Sailing in Dubai is also a great opportunity to visit the emirate of Abu Dhabi, the economic engine of the United Arab Emirates. You can dock at Yas Marina or the Emirates Palace Marina, and visit Sheikh Zayed Mosque or the circuit of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Weather conditions for sailing in Dubai
Temperatures in Dubai range from 36° in the summer months to 19° in January. You can practically sail any time of the year in Dubai, as tides and currents are mild in the region. As for the winds, they are also mild with the occasional exception of strong shamals: northwestern winds that come from Iraq and Iran and can be treacherous in the summer.