Traditionally, Dhows have been used in the United Arab Emirates as fishing and transport boats, and to support pearl divers. The region’s booming leisure industry though has led to a rising popularity of Dhow racing, attracting thousands of entrants and spectators.
That’s why, perusing the Abu Dhabi Sailing & Yacht Club’s sailing calendar, you’ll find a full schedule of modern sailing and rowing races, as well as three categories of Dhow races.
Teams compete in these heritage races with 22ft, 43ft and 60ft Dhows. The boats' wooden hulls are designed and built with knowledge passed down through generations of shipwright families. A dash of modern technology is added by uprating boats with carbon fiber rigging and high tech sailing fabrics that allow Dhows to reach speeds up to 22 knots in the 60ft category.
2018 marks the second running of the 60ft Dalma Dhow Race, and no less than 116 Dhows hoisted their sails at the starting line. With each Dhow having a total of 15 crew members, the race numbers are impressive. Roughly 1,700 participants set off from Dhalma Island, tacking and gybing their way through the Khor Al Bazim lagoon to the port town of Al Mirfa 80 miles away. There are no handicaps - the first team to cross the finish line is the winner.
The race, which started today at 6:30 AM (GMT+3), is the hallmark of a 5 day festival that takes place in Al Mirfa until October 29th. The race is also famous for handing out a hefty 5.2 million GBP in prize money, with the first five positions receiving both sizeable cash prizes as well as a car.
We wish everyone taking part in the 60ft Dalma Dhow Race a safe journey - YB Tracking is with them every step of the way!
All photos (c) Abu Dhabi Sailing & Yacht Club