Oman sets first with America’s Cup World Series leg

The Omani capital of Muscat will host an America’s Cup World Series sailing event next year, it has been announced.

The two-day event, which is scheduled to take place on the weekend of February 27-28, will mark the first America’s Cup event to ever be staged in the Middle East.

David Graham, chief executive of Oman Sail, the sport’s governing body in the country, said: “Oman Sail has worked hard since 2008 to reconnect the people of Oman with their sailing roots and to create a generation of sailors. We have a very successful youth, women, national and international sailing programme and are actively generating socio-economic benefits for the country and contributing to the development of the Omani people through sailing.

“Hosting an America’s Cup World Series event will provide huge inspiration to our sailors and take us closer to our aims.”

The ongoing America’s Cup World Series serves as a preliminary regatta to the 2017 America’s Cup, which takes place in Bermuda in June 2017.

The series travelled to Portsmouth, England, and Gothenburg in Sweden this summer before Bermuda staged its own event in October.

After Muscat has staged its event in February, the US city of Chicago will host its own two-day race in June before the series returns to Portsmouth a month later.

Further dates will be added to the 2016 calendar, with New York and Tokyo mooted as possible host cities.

Harvey Schiller, America’s Cup commercial commissioner, added: “Oman is an ideal place for us to open the 2016 racing calendar. It’s exciting to be bringing America’s Cup racing to this part of the world for the first time.”