Sail away 

With the calm waters of the Arabian Gulf, year-round sunshine and 800 kilometres of coastline, Dubai is the perfect place to jump aboard a luxury yacht and take in the magnificent sights from a different perspective. Witness the breathtaking size of the Palm Jumeirah from the aquamarine waters, sail around The World development or take a tour past the buildings of historic Dubai Creek and watch the city illuminate as the sun goes down.

Lap of luxury
The superyacht has become today’s symbol for the rich, powerful and influential and the UAE is home to more than its fair share of the gleaming multi-million-dirham floating palaces. In 2006 Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Ruler of Dubai and Prime Minister and Vice President of the UAE, added a superyacht called Dubai to his breathtaking fleet. Featuring eight decks spread across a 551-foot length, this gargantuan beast of the sea can accommodate 115 people, has numerous restaurants, bars, a whole deck of suites, pools, Jacuzzis and a helipad among its facilities. The lavish interior design work is the talent of Platinum Yachts and it cost more than US$300 million (AED1.1 billion) to complete. At one point the Dubai was the largest yacht in the world, but it was overtaken in 2010 by Russian businessman Roman Abramovich’s largest superyacht Eclipse.

Plan an escape
While it might not be possible to charter yachts on such a large scale, there are plenty of breathtakingly impressive models which will undoubtedly please those looking for the crème de la crème of the boating world. A plethora of sailing options and activities are available and all meet a variety of requirements.

First Yacht, based in the heart of Dubai Marina, offers exclusive use of yachts to individuals or groups and sails daily. With crafts that range from 43ft to 88ft, each vessel is professionally crewed to offer a luxurious and safe charter experience. For those in a large group, it’s the perfect opportunity to privately charter a yacht for up to 38 people and to take in the sites of the coastline. Alternatively you can opt for something smaller, such as the 43ft Silver Craft, which has a maximum capacity of 10 and can be hired for a minimum of two hours.

Visitors can arrange to take their own food and beverages, however First Yacht can arrange anything from canapés and cocktails to a fivecourse gourmet meal. Many yachts have an on-deck barbecue, which guests can use themselves or have a bespoke menu prepared for them by the boat’s chef.

Yachts can be chartered for a couple of hours or even days, with many of the bigger boats offering luxurious cabin facilities with ensuite bathrooms. Aim to set sail in the early evening to catch the beautiful colours of the sunset before darkness falls over the city. The dazzling lights of the city skyline make for an incredible scene. Let your imagination run wild as private charter experiences can be tailored to please even the most discerning guest and fulfil the most outlandish requests.

For more high-octane passengers, First Yacht also offers the opportunity to hire the Sea Rocket boat – an offshore racinginspired catamaran adapted for fast offshore tours. Alternatively book in for something a little more sedate, such as a sea fishing trip or a private dinner cruise.

Art Marine is the largest marine hospitality company in the region and caters to corporate clients as well as individual guests. For something truly different, try the romantic dinner cruise while the sun sets over the Arabian Gulf. A private chef will prepare a gourmet five-course dinner as the lucky couple enjoys some quality time together on the water. Or for a trip aimed at pampering, Art Marine’s wellness and relaxation cruise serves healthy cocktails and fresh fruit before anchoring at a lagoon inside Palm Jumeirah where you can enjoy a relaxing spa treatment of your choice. For those in a sporting mood, fishing competitions can be arranged with team-branded clothing, trophies, certificates and prizes. You can even have the catch of the day cooked fresh for you aboard a yacht.The possibilities are endless.

Want moor?
There are several marinas in Dubai where yacht owners can moor their boats. Festival Marina, which is located in Dubai Festival City, is a Mediterranean-inspired marina with 78 permanent berths, state-of-the-art facilities and quayside mooring for yachts between 10 and 35 metres in length. This Riviera-style setting is also home to an abundance of fine eateries. From five-star French cuisine in the form of Reflets par Pierre Gagnaire, to low-key waterside alfresco dining, there is something to suit every palate.

On the Deira side you’ll find the Dubai Creek Marina. Complete with chandlery, workshop and boat repair yard this marina, located in a historically rich area, boasts 121 berths. In the heart of Dubai Marina, the Dubai International Marine Club offers berthing facilities for 300 yachts and the Marina Yacht Club has in excess of 500 walk-on walk-off berths in four stunning locations within the Dubai Marina development. With a buzzing community feel and spectacular views this is one of the most desirable spots in the city.