posted on 01/02/2009: 1408 views
Emiratis and GCC nationals raced 80 dhows along the coast of Dubai yesterday in a route designed to reflect one that pearl divers used years ago.
The race began at The World islands, with the traditional sailing boats carrying 15 to 20 people past The Palm Jumeirah to The Palm Jebel Ali before finishing at the Burj Al Arab.
This is a traditional race that has been happening in the country for a long time now,” said Admiral Mohammed al Khaosan, a former commander-in-chief of the UAE Navy and one of the organisers of the event. "The UAE has been doing this for the last 20 years.”
The event was organised and controlled by the Dubai Offshore Sailing Club and is one of many held during the season, which runs from September until the end of March.
The final race runs from Sir Bu Naair Island to Dubai over a distance of 100 nautical kilometres. It is set to be the richest in the event's history, with Dh10 million (US$2.7m) in prize money available.
Unlike other forms of boat racing that can see crews jostling their vessels for a good position at the starting line, the dhow crews wait for a signal before hoisting the huge booms that hold the sails.
"We are proud of our sailing, and this is one of our maritime heritage events, which is supported by the local population and the government,” said Adml al Khaosan. – The National
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