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HomeMiddle EastDubai dhow boat race retraces Gulf pearl route – Cars & Boats

Dubai dhow boat race retraces Gulf pearl route – Cars & Boats

More than 120 traditional dhows retraced a centuries-old pearl diving route off the coast of the United Arab Emirates on Sunday for an annual boat race.

The “Al-Gaffal” race, Arabic for “The Return”, traces the path pearl-divers would take on their return home from a day at sea.

The wooden dhows with billowing white sails made the 51.3 nautical mile (95-kilometre) journey from the island of Sir Bu Nayer to the Dubai coast.

The winner, the dhow “Zilzal,” or “Earthquake,” captained by Dubai Crown Prince Sheikh Hamdan, was awarded 10 million dirhams ($2.72 million). 

The tradition of dhows dates back to pearl diving in the Gulf, a major industry for coastal communities until the mid-20th century, when manufactured pearls made their way into international markets.

The crew of Zilzal, a dhow captained by Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammad bin Rashid al-Maktoum, sails towards the finishing line off the coast of Dubai to win al-Gaffal traditional long-distance dhow sailing race which started at the island of Sir Bu Nair in the Gulf, on May 14, 2017. (Photo: KARIM SAHIB/AFP/Getty Images)

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