Ready, Set, Sail!

With the sea frothing at its mouth and a ready wind filling their sails, enthusiasts at the Dubai RC44 Cup 2008 rode the waves in a frenetic frenzy of fun and excitement.

Our lensman Kiran Prasad anchored his fears and jumped into the fray for his share of salty, undulating and undiluted fun

In the mid-1980s, Dubai’s deputy ruler, His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, conceived a sailing competition to bring back the traditions that once made the region the envy of the sailing world, and when the racing seasons begins in Dubai, cultural history melds against the most visionary city in the world.

The Dubai International Marine Club (DIMC) began organising racing in 1986 with only a handful of surviving dhows. The races were a success and encouraged owners to improve boating standards but without affecting the basic, traditional designs. Today, there is a stir with sailing enthusiasts competing for prizes, money, and more importantly prestige.

The sea is calm, as the wind gently tugs at the dhows ready to set sail. The tranquility is quickly disrupted by a flare gun, triggering the start of one of Dubai’s most heated competitions. Commands are shouted by the dozen or so crew members as a myriad of international dhows flutter in the horizon.

Dhows were traditionally used for trading exotic commodities between the Arabian Gulf, India and the East African coast. Now by returning to the cultural identity of the Gulf, sailing has given new life to the Emirate, making it a world class destination for water lovers everywhere.

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