22 May 2021, Dubai : His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of The Executive Council of Dubai, directed to organize the 30th edition of the Al Gaffal Long Distance Race, as continuation of the message and path of the heritage sports founded by the late Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, who is behind the insightful idea and the development of the Al Gaffal race since 1991, which is held annually for more than three decades now.
His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum stressed that the Al Gaffal Race depicts a great message to the people of the UAE in expressing their devotion towards the past culture of their forefathers, on how their life was linked to the sea that offered them a safe haven and abundant livelihood.
His Highness, the Crown Prince of Dubai said: “We’re directed to continue the historical saga in fulfillment of the generosity and the efforts of the race founder, the late Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, in which it will be renewed annually in order to preserved his legacy. He has given a lot of efforts and attention to this event since its inception and developed it by motivating the participants through various initiatives that contributed to the publicity of various race categories, which reflected his passion and beliefs in importance of reviving this heritage.
His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, directed the organizing committee of the Dubai International Marine Club to work for the success of the upcoming event in partnership with the government departments, national and private institutions, in order to successfully facilitate the task of the participants from the boat owners to the sailors, in overcoming all the difficulties and in observing all the precautionary measures and regulations issued by the health authorities to limit the spread of the Coronavirus - Covid19.
The Dubai International Marine Club approved the period from 3rd to 5th of June 2021 as the date for the 30th Al Gaffal Long Distance Race.
H.E Ahmad Saeed bin Meshar, Chairman of the Dubai International Marine Club, expressed his deep gratitude on behalf of the club’s board of directors, all the marine sports affiliates and enthusiasts of the great race, to His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Executive Council of Dubai, for directing to organize the race in continuation of the great message sent by the late Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, who was keen to developed continuously the race for three decades until it became one of the annual festival awaited by all the segments of society in this country.
Bin Meshar added that the organizing committee of the Dubai International Marine Club will work on implementing the directives of His Highness, the Crown Prince of Dubai, in cooperation with the club’s strategic partner to make the event happen on its 30th edition, in conjunction with the activities for the 50th year of the UAE and a few months before the launching of the Dubai Expo 2020 which will bring the world together in the pearl of Gulf, with the same motivation and vision that indicates the interest of the People of the Emirates in reviving the past of their forefathers.
Fingerprints & History
The memory of marine sports preserves many histories of the pioneering stances and initiatives established by the late Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum who has placed a luminous fingerprint in the history of the marine sports, especially in the Al Gaffal race and in traditional racing in various categories.
The late Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum established the Al Gaffal Long Distance Race as an implementation of his vision and idea on the 23rd of May 1991 with the participation of 59 boats in 43ft dhow category, that sails from the island of Sir Bu Na’air towards the Dubai coast with a race distance of more than 50 nautical miles.
The Al Gaffal race began when the late Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum directed the managements of the Dubai International Marine Club (DIMC) in 1991 to organize this race in line with the directives of the wise leadership on the importance of preserving and reviving the heritage of the marine sports, that linked the lives of the people in the emirates and the neighboring region which embodies thru various races that encourages the present generation to contribute actively to revive this heritage.
Two years after launching the first race they evaluated the experienced of the participants in 43ft dhow boats in terms of its safety and sea worthiness. In the opinion of the late Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum the necessity of building and constructing a dhow that can withstand the waves in the Arabian Gulf and will bring them safely to Dubai shore, in which he proposed a new category the 60ft dhow boats. In the third edition of the Al Gaffal race, we witnessed a joint race between the 60ft and 43ft dhow boats in which it has proven that 60ft dhow boat is more efficient in the race and was officially approved to be used on the fourth edition of the Al Gaffal in 1994.
The interest of the late Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum in marine sports continues and the development of the Al Gaffal Race. He also initiated a new way of honoring the people of the sea by adding a new race category, the 30ft Dubai Traditional Rowing Race in which he announced during the Al-Fahidi Council in 1996. The first race was witnessed in March 1997.
The first season of the 30ft Dubai Traditional Rowing Race achieved a great success beyond its expectation that makes everyone to look forward to the year 1998 and with the interest of the late Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the launching of the most traditional rowing race (Al Maktoum Cup) has been held annually as the final round that represents a great. In the recent season the participation expanded from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries including the Kingdom of Bahrain and the Sultanate of Oman.
In continuation of his initiative, the late Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum established the 22ft Dhow Sailing Race Category in 1999 which serves as an academy to enhance the skills of the young sailor in preparation for their readiness to join the bigger race categories.
First Race: 23 May 1991
First Edition: 59 boats of 43ft Dhow
The champion: Al Awir (47) Owner’s Name: Mohamed Al Tayer
Date: May 1993
First Edition: 16 boats with 60ft Dhow
The champion: Mansour (36) Owner & Skipper’s Name: Rashid Saeed Al Tayer