DUBAI // Sultan Saeed Harib sailed a superb tactical race to qualify in first place in the second round of the Dubai Traditional 22ft Dhow Match Race. The Shamardel skipper led the fleet from the start in the race held at Dubai International Marine Club (DIMC) on Saturday. Dahees with Hassan Abdullah al Marzouqi at the helm, was in second place, and Lahoub, skippered by Mohammed Abdullah al Marzouqi, followed by Rejam sailed by Khalid Tarish al Qubaisi, the last of the top four boats to qualify through to the next match race round.
The traditional dhow typically races on a downwind one-leg course but for the match race series the organisers introduced the triangular course for the eight boats that qualified for the match race series last November. The fleet quickly settled into two distinct groups of four, on the back of a northwesterly 17-knot breeze, but the pattern did not last. Muzahem was second place for much of the first two legs but a tactical mistake put them out of the running.
Al Za'eem was also positioned well in the race but had trouble at the downwind mark and lost valuable ground to Lahoub. The skippers then had to focus on when to turn for the top mark, taking into consideration current, tide, wind, the shape of the hull and sail and advice shouted from support crews. "I wanted to be the last boat to jibe to make the angle easier on my crew," said the winning skipper Harib.
"The wind was very gusty and quite strong; I wanted the gusts to work with us and not overpower us so it was important to get the angle right." The race was organised by Saeed Harib, CEO of DIMC. The final will be held on Friday May 7 in the lagoon in front of Le Meridien Mina Seyahi. * With agencies