Wednesday, November 16, 2011

What about sailing?

Racing couple looking for rides

The breeze came and went
The Club, Abu Dhabi
We haven’t done any sailing yet but it’s not because we haven’t tried.  We’re still shopping it. Last weekend we went to The Club with Tom. This was my first time there. The Club is in one of the oldest parts of town near the old port past the souks and livestock market. Founded in 1962 by and for expatriates, it’s also commonly referred to as “the British Club.” It sort of reminds me of Bayview Yacht Club in Detroit, where you drive through some pretty rundown and seedy areas (which is maybe putting it too kindly) to get to the club. But once inside, everyone is relaxing and enjoying cocktails.
The views at The Club have changed since 1962.
It used to be just water and sand spits.

From our lunch table we could see a couple of Lasers and a tender out practicing mark roundings. So after lunch, as part of our tour (which included our discovery of the Club’s liquor store! great prices on Australian wine and Hendricks gin!!) we visited the Abu Dhabi Sailing Club, which is a subsection of The Club.
We talked to the Laser sailors, who were there putting away their boats. They have a large fleet of Lasers and Optimists as well as several Kestrels, and four RS400’s. They have races every weekend, and boats are owned by the Club and assigned to members based on skill. The more races you win the better a boat you get and you’re responsible for maintenance and upgrades on your assigned boat. The handicapping system is based on the boat’s condition and the owner’s skill or racing record. It sounds to me like the handicapping system is designed to keep the bar in business. I can just imagine the meetings and post-race discussions about ratings . . .
The beach has nice padded chairs.
The facilities for kids are splendid.

Mark and I are dubious about joining The Club for a few reasons. First, it’s mainly a drinking establishment for adults and a beach for families. For us, it’s too far from where we live to be a good place to drink. We would be spending a fortune on taxis or be living at Tom and Lucy’s villa half the time. Second, neither of us has ever been dinghy sailors. Not to say that people can’t take it up later in life but, doing the math, we are 115 years old and weigh about 390 pounds. Hey, maybe we can make that argument and get a good rating. The third reason is that we would have to join The Club and pay the initiation, which is $3000AED or just over $800. So that’s a commitment. But we may change our minds if other options fall through.

Dubai Offshore Sailing club

Hopefully you read about our early trip to Dubai and failed attempt to get through the gate at the Dubai Offshore Sailing Club (DOSC.) Mark has done some more research on the website and last night he told me about this rule:


Any member of another bona-fide sailing club residing no less than 80kms from Dubai, may be admitted to the Club premises for one day on presentation of his club membership card together with and payment of the visitor's fee which may be in force at DOSC at that time.

Now I’m just guessing but I don’t think the DOSC security guards have memorized the “Bye-Laws.” And I doubt that people from other clubs stop by very often. So we'll call first next time.
There are a few DOSC racing events coming up that look interesting. They have IRC and one design fleets.
18th November – Commodore’s Cup Series Race 3 (this series runs through May 2012)
8th – 10th December – Volvo Winter Regatta
23rd December – Original Shorthanded Challenge Series (for cruisers, runs through March 2012)

We went to the AD marina but
the Melges 24 wasn't in the water.
Of course we need a boat to crew on or, for the shorthanded series, our own boat. So far we haven’t been able to locate the Melges 24 that’s rumored to be for sale here in Abu Dhabi. The Laser guys we met at the Club seemed to think they know who the owner is, but they said he owns a Mumm 30. Maybe he owns two boats? And Mark placed a notice on the DOSC crew list board. There are a few other notices and they all say “Replies: 0” so I don’t have great hope that we will get any action from that.

Sometimes we hear announcements on the radio promoting the Volvo Ocean Race Emirates team. But since we aren’t linked in with the sailing community yet, we don’t hear much else. We saw a couple of guys at the Marina Mall that looked like VOR shore support types, and they were stealing looks at Mark’s Delta Ditch t-shirt.

Mark told me that Saeed at work says he is a sailing fan but it’s unclear whether he’s ever actually been sailing.
When we get a boat we’ll have to take him out.
It would be tough to take the gang out sailing on one of these.


John Martin said...

Hey Anne Schreiber, What a wonderful post..!! I am very much impressed by your writing skills.I have never take part in boat race but I have enjoyed a lot being on yacht while in Dubai. There are many
Yacht Charter Dubai
service provider and they are not that much costly.

Kevin Moon said...

Put the 37 on a ship and stop belly achin'.
Hope the adventure is going well,