The Dubai Match Race will be contested by twelve to 16 teams sailing the newly designed V1/Lutra-30 Sport Boat, a high performance racing boat built in Dubai especially for the event and for next April's ISAF Nations Cup Asian Regional Final.
Sheikh AHMED, who is also chairman of DIMC explained, 'The event is being developed each year as part of a major effort to take sailing into a new era in the UAE and the Gulf region as a whole.'
The Dubai Junior Regatta is co-sponsored by Le Meridien Mina Seyahi Beach Resort and Marina, the official hotel, Marine Pool and V1 Advanced Composite Technologies. Other official suppliers for the event are Trek, Al Boom Marine, Dubai's Victory Team Duboats, El Mundo, Nordist and Olimpic Sails
The Netherlands return to defend the Dubai Trophy after winning the overall team award last year while South Africa will be aiming to retain the Laser title they captured ahead of the Dutch and Bahrain. Sweden also return to Dubai to defend the Optimist crown after dominating the class last year while second placed Denmark and third placed Switzerland also send teams again.
The Dubai Match Race will provide vital competitive experience for the two UAE national teams preparing for next year's Asian Games in Doha. Opposition is already confirmed from New Zealand, Germany, the Netherlands, India, Italy, Kuwait and Qatar.
Following the regatta, two of the five specially designed V1/Lutra-30 Sport Boats manufactured by V1 Advanced Composite Technologies at Jebel Ali Freezone in Dubai will remain at DIMC while the three others will be sold on privately to take part in the 2006 Maktoum Sailing Trophy.
'We are grateful again for the support of Emirates Airline which has helped to ensure another wonderful international entry featuring much of the world's best young sailing talent, ' said Saeed HAREB, managing director of Dubai International Marine Club and the regatta's chief executive.
'The introduction of a match racing element is an important development as this is an exciting form of sailing with a bright future in this part of the world. We're indebted to V1 for supplying the news boats and look forward to seeing them in action for the first time.'
Britain's Tony LOCKETT, Principle Race Officer for sailing events at the Athens Olympics, will head a 14 strong panel of race officials in Dubai.
Separate courses will be set for the Optimist and Laser 4.7 events and there will be 14 races in all - three each day from 24-26 January followed by a lay day, three more on 28 January and the final two on 29 January prior to the prizegiving ceremony.
The UAE Optimist and Laser teams for the Dubai Junior Regatta will be selected after the fourth round of the UAE Sailing Championships next weekend. The hosts for that event, Jebel Ali Sailing Club, as well as Dubai Offshore Sailing Club and DIMC, will also have teams in the regatta line-up.
Reinforcing the Middle East challenge, Egypt has named a team of six competitors, with Bahrain sending five, and Qatar and Kuwait four each. Completing the regatta line -up will be teams from Belgium, Denmark, France, Great Britain, Hong Kong, Mauritius, Russia, Italy and Malta.
Beginning officially with the arrival of the visiting teams from around the world to start practice on 22 January, the events combines an intense race programme commencing on 26 January with a variety of social events to make it a unique sailing festival.