More than 150 sailors from around the world gathered in the capital ahead of today's launch of the Abu Dhabi National Day Regatta 2008.
100 boats to compete for Dh75,000 in prizes
ABU DHABI // More than 150 sailors from around the world gathered in the capital yesterday ahead of today's launch of the Abu Dhabi National Day Regatta 2008. Crews from Australia, Canada and the UK were putting the final touches to racing dinghies, catamarans and yachts ahead of the two-day competition. More than 100 boats will take to the water to compete for Dh75,000 (US$20,420) in prize money.
One participant is Adil Khalid of the UAE, who won a gold medal in the 2007 Pan Arab Games. Depending on what class Mr Khalid decides to race in, he could face off against his longtime friend and rival, Kuwait's Ahmed Abdulatif. The Kuwaiti team coach, Faysal Mohamed Bouchema, said his side was hoping for a light wind, conditions most suited to his sailors' training. Another competitor, Mamoon Sadiq, 44, has represented Pakistan in previous international races.
"I have retired from professional competitions these days," he said, "and am here just for the fun of sailing." The race will start shortly after 10.30am today. Six races will be held over the two days. Boats will race around a course measuring three nautical miles, marked by four buoys. Races can take 30 minutes to almost two hours, depending on weather. The regatta will end tomorrow with a prize-giving ceremony and a banquet at the Emirates Heritage Club.
The competition began in 2000 and includes eight classes of boats, although only five compete for prize money. First-prize winners receive Dh7,000, while second and third place are to be awarded Dh5,000 and Dh3,000 respectively. The prize money is provided by the government-funded Emirates Heritage Club, which aims to preserve UAE traditions. Abu Dhabi also will host the Emirates International Open Regatta, on March 5 to 7.