Majesty 135 and Gulf Craft’s 30 Year anniversay

This afternoon, two of us, together with Walid got chauffeur driven to Um Al Quwain to join selected VVIPs and members of the Royal family to see the first Majesty 135 as well as celebrate the 30 year anniversary of an organisation that handles high end yacht brands in this region.  

Naturally I couldn’t say no to the invitation as no diva can resist fast cars, private airplanes, yachts or exclusive hospitality. After an afternoon with the Fijians from Shangri-la Fiji and Rajah + an evening at the literature festival, I was naturally knackered but mustered up enough energy to get myself to Umm Al Quwain.

We were welcomed by traditional Emirati music by the sea…island girl felt right at home next to the clear blue waters. We were in luck as we also ended up being the first people to see the Majesty 105 as well – awesome!

After a short drink with Erwin, COO of Gulf Craft who refers to my blog (glad someone other than David is reading them), we get talking about all things to do with yacht brands….he has awesome knowledge of these luxury machines and reiterates the success of Gulf Craft – he is just as passionate as the owners of Gulf Craft who are behind the success of their brands – Oryx, Majesty Yachts and Silver Craft.

Its rare to find people who believe so much in what they do that it becomes their life. I would love to find that love and passion and I reckon it lies in writing. Mainly because its one thing I can take control of and see it through without depending on anyone…its a liberating feeling.
I have loads of pictures of the yacht and both Erwin and Notis were amazing hosts – thanks Erwin for being so attentive and Notis for taking the time for a personal tour of the Majesty 105 despite being busy with the Who’s who of the yachting world.

With Notis on Majesty 135

It was also delightful to see the energy and enthusiasm of Trixee Loh who is the female power behind the Boat Show…its the best enlightened 2 hours I’ve spent today and its not just because Trixee is a Singaporean and I have an affinity with all that is remotely associated with Asia having lived in KL for 9 years with weekend trips to Singapore and Orchard Road. You will see the amazing work Trixee’s team has put forward at next week’s DIBS.

Meanwhile, I salute Gulf Craft, their awesome team for an amazing afternoon in Um Al Quwain. They will be a force to be reckoned with next week!

We caught up as well with Saeed Hareb on DIMC – the last time we had time for a chat was years ago with the Victory Team so today was nice just to be able to see him in an informal setting.

My next venture is a Woman’s Empowerment talk with a beautiful and magnetic Royalty – watch this space!

Majesty 105

Diva hangs out with the Dubai International Boat Show team at DIMC

With His Highness SHeikh Marwan on board his yacht in Um Al Quwain during a Millionaire Group soiree

It is one of Dubai’s busiest weeks. All my friends are super busy….earlier today I caught up with an excited Barbara who is from the main organising team of the Dubai International Boat Show. We became friends early last year while I was shopping with NJD for a yachting weekend with friends and we clicked right away. She is awesome and we had a ball at the Motorshow together. The boat show publicity is done by Wallis Marketing (Mike Wallis and I go back years when we first went to Sharm al Sheikh together with a group for diving and dining – he of course played golf as well but I’ve never delved into this one sport – shame). Mike has an awesome team and together with them and Barbara’s dynamic team at DWTC, I reckon the public is in for a cool show this year.

Few of the cars I have driven already will also be on show :). Naturally my friends from Rolls Royce, Bentley and Mercedes Benz will be there in full force. The Supercar Promenade will show the finest models on four wheels with world class marques that will align perfectly with the prestige of the high-end boating brands.  Visitors will be able to get behind the wheel of some of the world’s fastest and most expensive cars – among them Bentley Continental Series 51, Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG, and Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupé :). My daughter had an awesome time at last years show playing on the yachts and she showed her VIP tag to anyone who sat up and noticed. Little diva is having a fabulous time skiing in Switzerland and I have not had a single phone call :(.

This year’s 20th edition of the Dubai International Boat Show will celebrate the rich history and incredible growth of the regional maritime industry, bringing together the ‘who’s who’ in the vast sector from across five continents. In addition to an impressive number of global and regional firsts, the world’s leading marine leisure industry players will unveil their launches to tens of thousands of boating enthusiasts, confirming the event’s growing international reach and continued ability to attract top quality buyers in record numbers two decades after its inaugural staging. Members of our Millionaire Group are waiting in anticipation and keep asking me about what’s in store.

I remember hanging out 8 years ago with the Victory team at DMC when the show still revolved a lot around sports and I was doing profile stories on the main players for our Group. I’m glad they are still members of our group and still as dynamic as ever. Before that, 20 years ago, the Dubai International Boat Show was originally launched as the ‘Watersports & Powerboat Show’ as a fully indoor event held at the Dubai World Trade Centre.  Its current home at the Dubai International Marine Club, Mina Seyahi has accelerated its transformation into one of the most influential brands in the world and witnesses incredible growth of 43 times in size and 14 times the number of exhibiting companies since its inception.

Boat Show - image courtesy DIBS

According to a story Mike’s team sent our Millionaire Group today, with an astounding 33 premiers, including world and regional launches, and 750 companies plus 430 boats on display, the strength of this year’s 20th anniversary event programming clearly reaffirms its position as one of the top five international boat shows and the Middle East’s number one destination for leisure marine trade.  46 countries including Austria, Cyprus, Djibouti, Egypt, Hongkong, Madagascar, Poland, Philippines, Seychelles and Tunisia will be there.

The show will feature 186 new exhibitors and some of the world’s most renowned brands this year, including Abeking & Rasmussen, Al Futtaim Marine, Blohm + Voss Shipyards GmbH, Bombardier Business Aircraft, CSO Yachts, Dutch Thruster Group, Fehrmann Metallverarbeitung GmbH, Fraser Yachts, Green Marine, Kaiserwerft GmbH, Koot Yachts, Limassol Marina, Mave, Milano Teleport S.p.A., Oldenburger Yacht Interior GmbH & Co., Otto Pienning GmbH, RE-Boat Srl, Sunreef Yachts, Yamal Boats and many more. Plus 11 members of the world’s most prestigious super yachts builders association (SYBAss), to include Abeking & Rasmussen, AMELS, Benetti, CRN, Feadship, Fincantieri, Heesen Yachts, Lurssen, Oceanco, San Lorenzo, and Trinity Yachts, will show their latest yacht models and designs in a dedicated SYBAss Pavillion.

Several of the Dubai International Boat Show stalwarts including leading shipyard Westport have increased their space while North Africa’s latest shipyard, Koot yachts, are among the many first time exhibitors alongside Al Rubban, AM Shipyard and Dutch Thruster Group, who also make their debut appearance. Key exhibitors including Al Shaali, ART Marine, Aquaspeed, Azimut, Cummins, Emirates Boats, Gulf Craft (my favourite), Heinen & Hopman, Princess Yachts and Sunseeker will be very popular I’m sure.

Enjoy the show….Island girl is back on the clear blue waters of the Arabian Sea…even if it is on a yacht in April with my pals in Umm Al Quwain – its too cold for me still to jump into the sea so my after work swimming sessions are on hold. Next up is my take on the soiree with the 100 Top Arab Women’s networking at Emirates Towers plus the Emirates Festival of Literature – it sure is a busy March!

JetPad – Island girl to immerse into the blue waters on a cool new toy

This was the awesome action today at Jumeirah Beach Resort 🙂

Today I went to check out some alternatives to watersports – since my diving instructor screwed me on special offers for PADI lessons, this island girl decided there are other ways to have fun on water and the next best thing launching into the UAE next week at the Boat Show will be a new fun toy for big people like me called a JetPad.

So I had a short chat with the Chairman of JetPad, Alexander who insisted I see a demo of the said JetPad as we sat by the sea at Jumeirah Beach Hotel – I saw it, loved it but I was wearing a nice dress with my sexy Pisces sandals with strings so I could only watch this cool baby on water but have not tried it yet.

It was interesting that this is a UAE product and its all set to splash local waters – its an eco-friendly, fun thing and it is a safe personal watercraft. It is noise-free, Zero Emissions + safety-compliant. Its more like a personal watercraft (PWC) that I’m sure will address a gap in the pleasure craft market.

Historically, PWCs have received a negative response from beachgoers, environmentalists and regulators for their noise, emissions, frequent gasoline leaks and questionable safety issues – I have almost been hit by a few before. One of my Local Emirati friends has one for the kids and its a lot more bulkier than what I saw today. And with an 800km coastline in the UAE and a ban on traditional PWCs in place, the need for an alternative is pressing.

JetPad meets this market demand with a game-changing design incorporating cutting-edge safety features, and featuring innovative lithium ion battery-powered technology that results in zero emissions. Very guilt free I must add and its flip-proof. Knowing how accident prone I can be, this is a definite plus!

Weighing just 70kg, the versatile PWC is easily transported or carried on a boat and capable of reaching speeds of up to 45 km per hour. It has a runtime of 60 minutes, charges in just 30 minutes, and requires minimal maintenance.

Other key features include a controlled speed limiter, and a navigation and on-board entertainment system. Initially launching with the ‘Go-Kart’ edition, JetPad also plans to introduce the ‘Explorer’, which will appeal to budding marine biologists and oceanographers with its steering-wheel controlled fish-eye camera.

Alexander tells me that JetPads will be manufactured in the UAE using top quality ConformitéEuropéenne (CE)-approved components on an ISO-certified assembly line. The first units are set to go on sale in May 2012 locally and internationally…this Pisces water baby is thrilled!

The story of whitebait

On my way back from Fiji, my daughter was most amused when she saw me have a roti sandwich with fried whitebait in Sydney and asked why would I have that for dinner when there was an amazing buffet of delicacies laid out for us in the Business Class lounge.

I quickly launched into the story of whitebait or digana as it’s referred to in Fiji. Digana, or inanga (common galaxies) is a delicacy amongst food enthusiasts around the world and in Fijian families like mine, it is frozen for consumption when in season for visitors like myself who will never experience the amazing taste in any other part of the world.
The most common whitebait species is found in New Zealand and Fiji waters. They are caught using small open-mouthed hand-held nets similar to ones we used for catching baby prawns in our childhood as a weekend activity.

Whitebaiting in the Pacific is a seasonal activity with a fixed and limited period when they can be caught. Foodies in other parts of the world often find whitebait very different and superior in the Pacific than in other parts of the world. In human terms it’s the difference you would find between Europeans and East Europeans or how people find North Americans far superior than the South Americans who are often seen as low class. They are all humans but many people unfortunately view them differently in terms of superiority. Its the difference of a quality German product and a cheap replica done in some dodgy factory in China. In the same way foodies view the whitebait in the Pacific as far superior in taste and texture than what is found in other parts of the world.

As a delicacy, whitebait commands high prices to the extent that it is the most costly fish on the market, if available. It is normally sold fresh in small quantities, although some is frozen to extend the sale period. I’m just grateful my sister always keeps them in supply for my visits to Fiji.

I met a Kiwi who told me that whitebaiting in NZ was a sport because it takes a lot of patience, luck and the reward of a good catch. In places like Mokau District, there are even a few varieties of whitebait. I remember a menu in Portugal not long ago that had whitebait. I looked at the picture and immediately asked the waiter in Lisbon if it was really whitebait. He showed me a sample and it was a far cry from being delicate. I would even go as far as saying it was an insult to call it whitebait.

If you are a foodie and have a soft spot for high-end seafood that tickles your palate, I suggest trying this delicacy when you are next in the Pacific and lucky enough to be there during the whitebaiting season.