Dubai has a been city of interest for superyachting for some time now and as more orders come in from the Gulf Arab region the interest in the area is only set to grow. Global trade enabler DP has now embarked on an ambitious marina project at its Mina Rashid facility in Dubai. The DP world team believes that Dubai is yet to provide a homeport worthy of the calibre of superyacht found in the region. The Mina Rashid marina will be the Middle East’s first such facility in terms of size and scope.

Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, group chairman and chief executive of DP World, is a yachting enthusiast who is passionately committed to making Dubai the homeport of choice for yachts in the region.

“Some superyacht owners feel as though their yachts are homeless,” says Bin Sulayem. “We were surprised to hear this and the more we investigated the more we found that these owners’ words held true. They have been in and out of different locations, moving from marina to marina, continent to continent, depending on weather conditions, facilities and so on.”

The aim of the Mina Rashid development is to create a world class luxury marina in Dubai, centred on the destination itself, that matches the best in the world and unambiguously caters to all the needs of the modern superyacht owner. DP World’s teams of experts have been carrying out extensive research to learn from the successes and experiences of the successful models.

There has been a growing interest in the Middle East as a destination for the region’s superyacht owners, but they have been kept away due to the lack of quality waterfront facilities, such as the high calibre facilities one would expect to find in Monaco or Italy.

“Would it work?”, muses Bin Sulayem. “The more we investigated, the more we realised how feasible it would be, based on owners’ feedback. Dubai has what it takes to make the project successful. We’ve the space, governmental support, the depth, the sophistication, the lifestyle, the luxury and all the support services needed. All that remains is to design and build a facility which caters to bespoke superyachting needs.”

Located close to the heart of Dubai, Mina Rashid is already a luxury cruise destination and home port for some of the world’s top cruise operators, attracting some 500,000 tourists a year. DP World’s plans include delivering the ultimate yachting experience that will include leisure facilities, cultural entertainment, hotels, villas, brokerage houses, chandlery services, maintenance facilities, crew training and more.

The first phase of the Mina Rashid Marina now under development includes a 400-berth facility for 15-35m yachts, and some exclusive berths reserved for vessels over 100m, and is expected to open during the first quarter of 2017.

However, it is phase two that is truly aimed at the superyacht market. It will see the creation of a second marina with 70 berths dedicated to yachts from 40m to the very largest luxury vessels afloat or under construction. This marina will include its own exclusive amenities aimed at the homeporting of the world’s largest yachts – many of which are owned by Middle Eastern and Russian individuals.

“The key to building this superyacht mooring project is to determine what the owners think. What do they need? What are the other marinas missing that we could offer? We have been searching for the answers to these questions for the last year and a half, meeting owners and marina managers to understand the challenge,” says Bin Sulayem. “We are now moving towards developing the design criteria of the second marina, and will start once we’re fully satisfied with the feedback we have had from owners.”