Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The most beautiful boat race in the world ?

 Billowing sails: Some of the 99 boats taking part in the Al Gaddal dhow race from the island of Sir Bu Nair, near the Iranian coast to Dubai

From DailyMail

Skimming the surface of the sea, brilliant white sails billowing in the wind, they are a timeless image of elegance.
But the 99 dhows taking part in this year’s Al Gaffal race are not simply a stunning site on a beautiful day.

 Mission: The race was begun to encourage the long tradition of dhow building, which had slowly been dying out

They are also keeping alive an ancient tradition of shipbuilding which stretches back to Greek and Roman times.

Elegant: The dhows are some of the most easily recognisable boats operating in the Emirates - or anywhere else in the world

The ships – recognisable by their triangular lateen sails – were once used on the trade routes across the Indian Ocean.

Finish line: The race ended off the coast of Dubai. The distinctive Burj hotel - can be seen in the background of this picture

They are now a less common site.
But the Al Gaffal allows thousands of spectators, positioned on the Dubai shore, to see them in all their glory.
In its 22nd year, the race at Sir Bu Nair Island, near the coast of Iran, and finishes just off the emirate state’s International Marine Club.

 Mists of time: There are records of this boat type being made in Greek and Roman times but it is unclear when the first dhow was built

It began at 6.30am and by midday, many of the 60ft boats were crossing the finishing line.
Organisers chose Sir Bu Nair as the starting point as it is where pearl divers – who were the early staple of the Dubai economy – stopped to rest on their way home from months at sea.

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