While some of the youngsters on view will be gaining their first serious competitive experience beyond their local club activities, many will use the event as a warm-up for the Dubai Junior Regatta, one of the world's largest junior sailing event, taking place in January.
The regatta line-up will include most of the members of the UAE national team, created by the youth sailing programme launched five years ago by Dubai International Marine Club.
Several members of that team have already gained experience at senior competitive level in the exciting Maktoum Sailing Trophy and all are currently undergoing intensive training before taking on the world's best at the 2006 Dubai Junior Regatta, as well as next year's Asian Games in Doha.
'These are exciting times for sailing in the UAE and we are delighted to be supporting the initiative to help youngsters further their sailing education,' said Gerald LAWLESS, Chief Executive Officer for Jumeirah, and a keen member of Jebel Ali Sailing Club. 'The Jumeirah Regatta has become very well established since being launched six years ago and its inclusion in the UAE Championships for the first time is a positive step forward.'
Now in their fifth year, the eight round UAE Championships draws entrants from Dubai Offshore Sailing Club, Jebel Ali Sailing Club, Dubai International Marine Club, Emirates Heritage Club Abu Dhabi and Abu Dhabi Sailing Club. The first round of the 2005-2006 series at the Dubai Offshore Sailing Club (DOSC) last weekend attracted an impressive entry of 120 boats.
'The main aim of the UAE Championships is to bring more youngsters into the sport and raise sailing standards and awareness through a series of competitive events,' said Saeed HAREB, chairman of the UAE Marine Sports Federation, the ISAF Member National Authority (MNA) for the UAE. 'The support of organizations like Jumeirah is vital to help us achieve our goals.'
The Jumeirah Regatta features three classes of Optimists - cadet, junior and senior - as well as junior and senior categories for Laser 4.7s, and Toppers which are in the series for the first time, alongside Laser Radials, standard sails, and double-handers. The event also finds a place for cruisers, although these will not feature in the championship.
Getting under way on Thursday at 1400 hours local time and at 1000 the following morning, racing will be over two separate courses, one for the Optimists, Toppers and Lasers and the other for the multihull, standard sail and double-handers.
After the Jumeirah Regatta the 2005-2006 UAE National Championships continue with further rounds at Emirates Sailing Club Abu Dhabi from 1-2 December, JASC from 15-16 December, Abu Dhabi Sailing Club from 23-24 February, DIMC from 2-3 March, JASC from 30-31 March, concluding with the Emirates Airline Regatta at DIMC on 13-14 April.