Khalifa-owned dhow wins race
dubai — As the backdrop over the Arabian Gulf slowly filled with bright white sails at 2pm on Saturday, it marked the start of the Dubai International Marine Club’s (DIMC) race season. And the dhow named ‘Abu Al Abiyadh’, owned by by the President, His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, reigned victorious over its 103 competitors.
As 104 traditional 43-feet long wooden dhows took to the waters this weekend, the Dubai Traditional Dhow Sailing Race (Heat 1) got off to a cool start, despite the soaring temperatures in the air. But of the 104 boats that entered, only 90 managed to cross the finishing line.
About 90 minutes after setting off 16 miles from the Dubai Marina shores, it was skipper Maktoum Ateeq Al Muhairi and his team of more than 12 sailors from Abu Dhabi who celebrated the win at about 3.30pm.
Riding a dhow owned by the President, Al Muhairi told Khaleej Times, it was Mother Nature who was on his side on the day.
“I’m very happy. When the race started I chose a nice spot and stayed on its course most of the race. In my opinion, that is what took us over the finishing line first because the wind there was really good. It really helped.”
Racing since he was just 18, Al Muhairi, a 36-year-old, said his crew worked seamlessly together, which made the race smooth from the get go.
“There was one point where there were a lot of waves so we had to change direction twice because of that. But we worked through it well,” he said.
Using nothing but blood, sweat, tears and sails to power the boat to its end point, just two miles from shore, onlookers watched as two dhows battled for victory, with boat number 61 coming out on top.
Taking second place on the day was Burraq (skipper: Rashid Mohammed Rashid M. Al Rumaithi), followed by third place winner Al Farouq, (skipper: Ahmed Rashid Juma Al Suwaidi).
I chose a nice spot and stayed on its course most of the race. In my opinion, that is what took us over the finishing line first.”
Maktoum Ateeq Al Muhairi, skipper of Abu Al Abiyadh
A team in action during the Dubai Traditional Dhow Sailing Race.
Dhows line up as the race season of the Dubai International Marine Club began on Saturday.
The winning dhow team expresses their joy by waving the UAE flag after the Heat 1 competition.
A team checks the sail of their dhow before the beginning of race on Saturday. —