February’s America’s Cup will be held in the United Arab Emirates for the first time, the defending champs, who get to choose, announced yesterday. The decision marks the Middle East’s continued growth as an international sports mecca, the Wall Street Journal notes. Ras al-Khaimah in the southern Persian Gulf “offers perfect weather and great sailing conditions for a match in February,” said an official from team Alinghi's yacht club.
An insider says Alinghi believes the mild weather in the area will work in its favor as it faces the BMW Oracle team, owned by software guru Larry Ellison. The teams will race what are likely the fastest vessels in America’s Cup history after rules that have kept boats looking alike were ditched. “These new multi-hulls are totally wild,” says Alinghi’s skipper. “It’s going to be something totally different.”