More than 90 dhows and 2,000 Emirati crew members take to the sea for the 19th annual Sir Bu Naa'ir Al Gaffal dhow race.
Thousands take part in Dubai dhow race
DUBAI // More than 90 dhows and 2,000 Emirati crew members took part in the 19th annual Sur Bin Naa'ir Race on Saturday. The race, billed as one of the biggest traditional sailing races in the world, gave residents and tourists breathtaking views of the boats finishing in front of the city's skyscrapers. The dhows started from Sur Bu Naa'ir Island before rounding Moon Island and finished at the Mina Seyahi in front of the The Dubai International Marine Club (DIMC). Families and friends of the competing crews manned their own dhows and took to the water to offer support. Strong on-shore winds made for good sailing conditions and the winning dhow, Al Ghafai, crossed the finishing line at 1pm after setting off at 7.30am. The winning crew was greeted by an Emirati cultural band as they docked. "It was good conditions out there and we put in a lot of effort and worked hard and are pleased that we won," said Obaid Saeed al Tayer, captain of the winning boat. "We will enter again in the next year, it is an honour to take part in such a race." Mr al Tayer, who last won the race in 1992, dedicated his victory to the Crown Prince of Dubai Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed. "I love the sea and this race and it is a great honour to win today after so many years," he said. Abdullah Hareb, one of the organisers, said the race was getting more popular every year. "We have gone from nine participants when the race started back in the early 1990s to over 90 this year and we are expecting the race to grow next year. "It is such a success and an important part in keeping our tradition alive with the younger generation." firstname.lastname@example.org