Every March, the Dubai Marina Yacht Club opens up an invitation to every local marina to join them for a sail-out to The World Islands. Now something of an institution, the event can see up to 90 boats and yachts head North for a day of sun, sand, sea and burning meat. For this year’s event – a sandbar party, ironically held on the not very cold Antarctica Island – the YACHTS MIDDLE EAST team donned their swimming trunks and met up with the DMYC crew to help out on the support yacht.
One of the great features of the Dubai Marina Yacht Club rally is it’s designed for yacht owners of all capabilities, but especially so for beginners. The safety in numbers element is very reassuring for new boaters and as we meet Ahmed Abdelhalim, DMYC’s Senior Manager at The Address clubhouse at a not too early 8:30 am, all is relaxed. As the rally participants are allowed exclusive access to Antarctica on The World Islands, all documentation was completed beforehand in line with Nakheel’s guidelines, meaning we have the support of the Coast Guard, with nothing really for us to do as we head to our lead yacht, a 70-foot Duretti, which was supplied by Xclusive Yachts.
At 9:00am, we make our way up to our Duretti’s flybridge, and set up the cameras as we idle through Dubai’s marina on what can only be described as a perfect winter’s morning. It’s days like these that make owning a boat worthwhile and as we pass the new Dubai Wheel and rendezvous with our flotilla just off Bluewater Island, we spare a thought for the non-boaters, many of whom are still in bed, or even worse, cycling around Al Qudra in tight lycra.
With ten craft waiting for us ranging from a Regal wakeboat to a Riva 76’ Perseo, we wait for the DMYC RIB, manned by Gregg, Phil and Marina to give us the go-ahead. Again, the yacht club is here not only to lead the flotilla, but to support the owners in any way during the day, even down to fixing mechanical problems, if they should arise.
No such problems to day though, as we head past the Atlantis at cruising speed, with the followers spread out like some sort of Dunkirk evacuation, albeit with less boats and more canapés.
It’s not often you get to look back at a large number of luxury vessels in convoy, and the thought that we were all heading to The World Islands together for a bit of a party was a real rush. With the Burj Al Arab disappearing into Dubai’s sandy haze, we head inside the breakwater and on to Antarctica.
We spare a thought for the non-boaters, many of whom are still in bed, or even worse, cycling around Al Qudra in tight lycra.
As the larger boats drop anchor in Antarctica’s bay and the smaller craft raise their outboards and tie-up in the shallows, the DMYC crew finish off setting up the various tents, umbrellas, volleyball courts and BBQs.
There’s plenty of shade for everyone and as the DMYC RIB acts as a tender, the party people get stuck into their food. The Rally is a family event, designed to bring Dubai’s boat owners together to mingle and to get to know one another better, usually over a burger, or two. From our umbrella, we get to people-watch, with nobody having a care in the world. Most beach-goers were taking advantage of the very un-March like sun, topping up the tans, either on the beach, or on the water in some hilarious inflatables.
For the more adventurous, Sea You were handing out Stand Up Paddle boards and kayaks to interested members, with Bluecoast instructors offering diving lessons for beginners and 15-minute dives for qualified license holders. As for the water it’s beautifully clear out in the Islands, which added to the overall feel of actually being on holiday; it didn’t feel like being a short boat ride from Dubai at all, and with a number of boats having a tie-up party, it felt a lot like dropping a part of Miami Beach on the shores of the Maldives.
Come four O’clock, with the both the sun and the BBQ’s losing their heat, it was time for everyone to head back to their yachts for the trip home, or in our case, more burgers. As the various boats and yachts headed off to their home marinas, it was time to reflect on a perfect day. The Rally is a not only a great day out and the perfect way of catching up with friends and making new ones, but it also highlights the fact that Dubai doesn’t need leafy coves and stunning mountain backdrops to be an awesome destination – it just requires a bit of effort and the passion and knowledge of the management and crew of the Dubai Marina Yacht Club. See everyone on the next rally.