Big prize money for traditional dhow race.

AED6 million (US$1.63 million) is the prize money for this year’s traditional dhow sailing race, due to be run on May 26.

It’s a great sight too, the 60 foot traditional wooden dhows racing 54 nautical miles into Dubai from Sir Bu Naair island. This year it’s expected that there will be more than 100 dhows in the fleet


Althought he dhows are traditional the race is new, the first one being in 1991 but the traditions are old – it replicates the pearl trading route of Dubai’s early history.

The starting line will be about a mile long, where the dhows await the ‘start’ order, then they unfurl their sails and begin the difficult race. Depending on wind and sea conditions the winning dhow can take up to eight hours.

The beautiful boats are hand crafted and can cost up to AED350,000 (US$95,000).

Just across the road from the beach in Umm Suqeim, only about a kilometre from Burj Al Arab, our world-famous seven star hotel, is a boat workshop where dhows are rebuilt and refurbished.

It’s a real contrast between the ultra-modern hotel and the traditional handcrafting being done in a very basic traditional boatyard. That mixture of traditional and ultra-modern is one of the attractions of this area of Dubai.




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