After an expected trail, Al Gaffal – the long distance traditional 60ft contest is ready to welcome all in its wonderful sailing dhow race. Because of existing importance of traditional dhow used to carry out old pearl trade, his highness Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid AlMaktoum and other famous officials of Dubai’s ruling family came together to start the Al Gaffal race.
To bring back the local history of traditional boats, his highness organised a race, which added a new script in the history of traditional dhow in the Gulf Region. The race started at the small uninhabited island of Sur Bu Na’air (50 nautical miles west of the UAE) to commemorate the pearl divers appointed to the early trading port of Dubai. To keep the memories of past experiences, the first race was organised on May 23rd 1991. The race was well thought-out by military and Dubai International Marine Club. However, the competition had only fifty three dhows including a mixture of 43ft and 60ft boats.
As a result of changing times, the traditional dhow race has remarkably transformed to a challenging contest where sailors can use polished hulls and crisps, but they have to follow strict rules. To preserve the heritage of sailing traditional boats, the languages, songs and chants are passed from one to another generation. There are many young sailors, who like to join their father and grandfathers to revive the essence of the traditional 60ft contest.
When: May 26th 2012 – 7:00am
Where: From Sur Bu Na’air Island to Mina Seyahi.