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The Sultanate of Oman will be the first country in the Middle East to host America’s Cup racing by staging the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series Oman in 2016.

The Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series is a racing circuit featuring the best sailors in the world, competing on foiling, wingsailed catamarans – an updated version of the AC45 raced in the last series.

The Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series is the first stage of competition in the 2017 America’s Cup and begins in the summer of 2015.

A point-scoring event for the opening stages of the 35th America’s Cup in Bermuda, the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series Oman will take place in Muscat from 27-28 February, as the curtain raiser to the 2016 season, which will be spread over six different venues around the world.

For many of the America’s Cup sailors, including Sir Ben Ainslie (Land Rover BAR), Dean Barker (SoftBank Team Japan) and Franck Cammas (Groupama Team France), the waters off the Sultanate of Oman will be familiar territory, since Muscat has been hosting high performance multihull racing every year since 2011.

Oman Sail CEO David Graham believes that the wide reach of the America’s Cup will create new opportunities for the Sultanate and increase the country’s exposure around the globe.

“Oman Sail has worked hard since 2008 to reconnect the people of Oman with their sailing roots and to create a generation of sailors. We have a very successful youth, women, national and international sailing programme and are actively generating socio-economic benefits for the country and contributing to the development of the Omani people through sailing. Hosting a Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series event will provide huge inspiration to our sailors and take us closer to our aims.

“The America’s Cup brand is incredibly powerful so this will be a monumental opportunity for us to showcase the Sultanate of Oman and to celebrate a landmark moment in the history of Oman Sail.”