DIBS '19: The Glamour Homeport of Yas Marina

By Anna Solomon

Last week saw the Dubai Canal Jumeirah transform into a hub of activity, flooded with representatives of the best names in the business and their spectacular fleets for the Dubai International Boat Show. We caught up with Billy Canellas, General Manager of Abu Dhabi’s stronghold of yachting, Yas Marina.

“All of the big international players are here,” Billy begins, “It’s a hugely important show for the region, as well as for Yas Marina.”

This is indicative of the growing success of the region as a yachting destination, which Billy suggests is partially due to the UAE’s strategic location: “It’s positioned very close to some of the fastest growing superyacht destinations in the world such as Southeast Asia, the Maldives, the Seychelles, Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia.”

As yacht owners and charterers become more invested in further-flung cruising grounds, these regions have experienced a huge uptick in popularity. The UAE is right at the heart, making it the perfect homeport for yachts doing a season in this corner of the world.

Yas Marina itself is a ten year old project of which Billy is immensely proud. “It is a destination in itself,” he says, “We have a hotel and a circuit, we’re the leaders of the region when it comes to superyachts.” How many other marinas have Formula 1 right on their doorstep?

Billy continues: “Yas is a facility that has just opened 97 shaded dry berths, with a fuel station and maintenance yard. And then you have the totally unique experience of being able to watch the race from the yacht itself.”

The Grand Prix is the UAE’s biggest event of the year (along with DIBS), so naturally there is a huge amount of social events, concerts and parties surrounding the main event. It is a glamorous affair that lures VIPs from all over the globe. “Last year we had 15 head of states visiting the marina, and more than 100,000 people in total visit us over race week,” Billy tells us.

With a Platinum Certification in the works, Yas Marina are continually working on their five star package (and are even working with the government to make yachting legislation in the region more ‘user friendly’). It is clear that Yas, Abu Dhabi and the whole UAE are fast becoming the most sought-after playgrounds for UHNWIs.

"Yas Marina is a destination in itself. We have a hotel and a circuit, we’re the leaders of the region when it comes to superyachts."

Billy Canellas, General Manager of Yas Marina

"Yas Marina is a destination in itself. We have a hotel and a circuit, we’re the leaders of the region when it comes to superyachts."

Billy Canellas, General Manager of Yas Marina
By Anna Solomon