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Dubai International Marine Club

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Sailing into the Past Dubai  United Arab Emirates

Sailing into the Past

For centuries—somewhere around 2,000 years, in fact—traditional Emirati dhows have sailed the waters of the Arabian Gulf, and could be found beyond in the waters of the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean as well. While in recent decades traders have adopted modern tankers over the dhow, every May there is a glorious return of the ancient craft in the Al Gaffal Traditional Dhow Sailing Race—al gaffal translates as “the return.” The race which now includes 100 dhow begins in Sir bu Nair, 50 nautical miles off of the coast, and ends at the Dubai International Marine Club. It was first held in 1991 to commemorate the pearl divers who helped put Dubai on the map in its early days as a trading port. Today, the regatta provides an incredible photo opportunity and a reminder of Dubai’s commercial roots on the water.