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article imageTraditional dhow boat race retraces Gulf pearl route

By AFP     May 14, 2017 in Sports

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.

Dhows participate in the Al-Gaffal traditional long-distance dhow sailing race near the island of Si...
Dhows participate in the Al-Gaffal traditional long-distance dhow sailing race near the island of Sir Bu Nair on May 14, 2017
Karim SAHIB, AFP

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," was awarded 10 million dirhams ($2.72 million).

Dhows participate in the Al-Gaffal traditional long-distance dhow sailing race near the finish line ...
Dhows participate in the Al-Gaffal traditional long-distance dhow sailing race near the finish line off of Dubai on May 14, 2017
Karim SAHIB, AFP

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.

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