Five students and one Faculty member from Ras Al Khaimah Men’s College participated in the 20th Al Gaffal Sir Bu Nair to Dubai race on Saturday 29 May.
The race is the premier UAE sailing event and tracks the traditional course the pearling fleets would follow on their way back to Dubai at the end of the season.
It travels from Sir Bu Nair Island to Dubai International Marine Club.
The students were Ebrahim Ali Murad, Majid Sultan, Abdullah Ahmed, Saif Saif and Hazza Hassan, all of whom are members of the College rowing crew.
The event was a memorable experience as participation required an overnight boat trip from Abu Dhabi on the Thursday towing the 60′ jalbut out to the island 60 nautical miles off Dubai.
Friday was spent preparing the sail boats for the race the following day. The race started early on Saturday, but for our five students aboard Jalbut No.109 the race came to a cruel end at the half way point at Moon Island. An unseen crack in the superstructure buckled under the pressure of the surging pace at which the boat had been travelling, causing rapid flooding.
The safety boat quickly towed the stricken boat to nearby Moon Island where the masts and rigging were dismantled for a slow tow to Dubai. The crew and boat under tow finally arrived safely at the Dubai International Marine Club at 6 pm.
The event gave the students an opportunity to compete in a carnival event that is the premier sailing event in the UAE. They made new friends and gained pride from participating in a traditional Emirati carnival event.
Finally, the students got to grapple with the fortunes of the Arab Gulf, experiencing both the high of sailing surrounded by a fleet of boats and the low of having to deal with a sudden crisis, all part of life at sea for the forefathers of the students at the Ras Al Khaimah Men’s College.