Traditional 22ft Dhow Sailing Race, organised by the Dubai International Marine Club (DIMC), is being held on Friday 23rd September and is the opener to the DIMC watersports season.
Fifty five entries will take part in the first of four races in the 2011 - 2012 calendar. Al Zeeb, Al Wasf and Al Iz who ended last season with 20, 21 and 27 points consecutively are favourites having each won a race during the last four round championship. Skill, teamwork and concentration are all key elements to dhow racing as much as making sure the sails and hull of the boat are in tip top condition as a breakage or slip up can add unwanted points to the overall score.
Mohammed Hamad Al Ghashaih, skipper of Al Wasf works hard toward improving his team and boat. ‘Sailing is a passion for me and I love to win.’ He said. ‘The competition is strong and the teams all train hard, it’s important to have trust within your team and develop together. I race in the 43ft class as well and think that competing in the 22ft class has made me a better sailor. It’s a good class to start in.’
A hundred and eighty 22ft traditional dhows competed over the 2010 – 2011 season, up to a hundred and thirty managed to compete in all the races and the remaining boats managed at least two rounds. ‘As many of the sailors will compete in two or three classes it can be quite a commitment as we will hold as many as 20 sailing races in the different classes over the year, ‘ said Saeed Hareb, President of the UAE Marine Sports Federation and CEO of DIMC. ‘We are committed to preserve the traditional races of the region and we probably have the best success rate in the world in this field. To retain the traditional element the races are only open to UAE Nationals in the 22ft class and through this we have introduced something like 1000 locals to the sport of sailing over the last few years.’ As Candidate 986 for the Federal National Council elections it is a very busy time for Saeed Hareb but he will be starting the race on Friday, as it is his passion to be on the water and to see the dhows out racing.
‘I’m very happy to see so many dhows taking part this week, the interest in dhow racing is growing both locally and internationally and we are very proud of our achievements. As Chairman of the DIMC Sports Committee I hope to build on the successes and develop new strategies in line with the developments made,’ said Huraiz Al Mur Bin Huraiz.
The race briefing will be at 14:00 and the race will start at 15:30 in Mina Seyahi followed by prize giving at DIMC. DIMC website