Pioneering developer to create unforgettable nautical adventures for guests and build respect for the environment
Sailing Club supported by RS Sailing and announced during Aarhus, Denmark marking the finish of leg five of The Ocean Race
Red Sea Global (RSG), the multi-project developer behind the world’s most ambitious regenerative tourist destinations, The Red Sea and Amaala, has announced a major step towards building a sailing legacy in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and providing world-class guest experiences at its destinations.
The WAMA Sailing Club, operated by RSG’s water sports subsidiary brand, will give visitors and Saudi sailors the chance to experience the beauty of the Red Sea and its idyllic sailing conditions – until now largely overlooked by the sporting community.
“Whether done alone or as a team, sailing is about freedom and adventure while surrounded by the beauty of the ocean. As a pioneer of regenerative tourism and with our first hotels on track to open this year, we are certain this will be a hugely popular activity among our visitors. The WAMA Sailing Club will provide everyone, regardless of background or ability, the opportunity to explore the wonders of the Red Sea archipelago, experience an exhilarating sport, learn more about marine conservation and enjoy the sense of independence and freedom sailing offers,” said John Pagano, Group CEO of Red Sea Global.
Guided by WAMA’s expert instructors, guests will enjoy activities such as sailing, crewing, trapezing and windsurfing, with visitors able to explore the islands and magnificent marine and bird life of Saudi Arabia’s northwest coastline through ‘Blue Hole’ orienteering and destination sails. WAMA’s ‘Respect for the Sea’ program will also see guests developing a deeper understanding of staying safe and sailing responsibly.
The Club will also create exciting employment opportunities for Saudis and international sailors, boosting the Kingdom’s hospitality and sports sector and contributing to Saudi Vision 2030. This will include work experience for Saudi teenagers, who will be able to learn new skills and enhance their understanding of water-based careers. There will be other voluntary and paid work experience roles, allowing local people to learn from and work alongside seasonal staff, as they educate visitors about protecting the oceans.
WAMA Sailing Club is supported by RS Sailing, an international leader in providing world-class sailboats and specialist equipment. Its sophisticated boat designs have received the most prestigious international prizes, including the Netherlands’ DAME and US SAIL Best Boat Awards. The organization is also a pioneer for sustainable sailing with smart designs to reduce its footprint while on the go. RS Sailing aims to continuously improve its production methods to reduce landfill. It incorporates recycled and recyclable materials in its production. This closely aligns with RSG’s own sustainability commitments.
Like WAMA, RS Sailing shares a commitment to making the sport accessible, having recently partnered with Helena Lucas, Bronze and Gold Paralympic Medallist, to establish its Venture Connect class, which can be configured to suit sailors with a wide range of disabilities. World Sailing selected this boat class for their Para Development Program and selected it as one of three official para-racing classes in the inaugural edition of the Para World Sailing Championships in 2023 in the Hague.
Michiel Geerling, Commercial Director at RS Sailing, said: “Our passion is inspiring more people to discover the joys of sailing. That is why our work with RSG to open this stunning stretch of coastline to the sailing community and supporting the launch of the WAMA Sailing Club is a moment of real pride for our team. In fact, the only thing more exciting is knowing that this is being done in a way that is responsible, sustainable and inclusive, issues that have always been central to our ethos.”
Along with its sister subsidiary brands Akun and Galaxea, WAMA is pushing the boundary of sustainable procurement and the approach of adopting environmental and social factors along the value chain, with RS Sailing setting a benchmark for the company.
Dr Maryam Ficociello, Chief Governance Officer at Red Sea Global, and a passionate sailor, added: “Sailing is quite possibly the very best team-building activity there is – you are quite literally trusting your team with your life. Yet, at the same time everyone on board can have a fulfilling and exhilarating time as they discover the wonders of the sea, experiencing how it can stir the heart and inspire the imagination. Our hope is that WAMA Sailing Club will not just provide unforgettable holiday memories but inspire people from every background, whether an international visitor or based in Saudi Arabia, to take up the sport.”
RSG is also establishing a ‘Coral Cadets’ program, open to Saudi and international guests, residents, sailors and students. This is designed to educate members about the importance of protecting coral reefs, while providing an opportunity to play their own part.
The Cadets will work together with scientists, communities and coral farmers to join restoration activities year-round, with a highlight during ‘Coral Cadet Week’ in the spring holidays. It’s a mission particularly close to RSG’s heart given that The Red Sea is home to one of the world’s few thriving coral reefs, with an incredible 175 different species of coral.
Establishing a sailing legacy in Saudi Arabia is a key objective for RSG. It has already committed to a focus on the sport through its global partnership with The Ocean Race, the world’s leading offshore sailing event, and as the Race’s Regenerative Project Partner is focusing on driving deeper awareness of the importance of marine conversation. The Club is being announced during The Ocean Race’s stopover in Aarhus, Denmark, before the teams begin the penultimate leg.
Three resorts at The Red Sea will open this year along with the first phase of the Red Sea International airport. A further 13 hotels will open in 2024, and upon full completion in 2030, the destination will comprise 50 resorts, offering up to 8,000 hotel rooms and more than 1,000 residential properties across 22 islands and six inland sites. The destination will also include luxury marinas, golf courses, entertainment, F&B, and leisure facilities.