The third traditional dhow festival, organised by Katara under the patronage of HH the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, will coincide with the launch of the 45m Fath al-Khair on a 27-day Gulf tour in the third week of November.
Fath al-Khair was built exclusively for HH the Emir of Qatar in 1983 by the Amireya workshop in Qatar. Made to promote tourist trips for the Ministry of Information and Tourism, the dhow is now part of the cultural and heritage initiatives of Qatar Museums Authority (QMA).
Fath al-Khair will sail out from Katara on November 22. The first stop is Bahrain, followed by Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman and the UAE before returning to Qatar on December 18, which is Qatar’s National Day.
The dhow festival, which focuses on maritime heritage and is held in co-operation with QMA, will take place from November 19 to 23.
The Fath al-Khair voyage, which aims to revive and preserve the cultural heritage of the region’s ancestors’ travels and transportation by using dhows and also teach the younger generation about this kind of travel, has as its focus the promotion of the country’s history.
“These days, most countries do not have dhows that have the capacity for long journeys and there are hardly any trained oarsmen,” said Dr Khalid Ibrahim al-Sulaiti, general manager of Katara.
He hoped that the Fath al-Khair voyage would help the country revive its cultural heritage and promote Qatari history to the world in a big way. “It would also help educate and share Qatar’s legacy with the younger generation.”
The voyage would enable the younger generation of Qataris to understand more about navigating the sea. Also, during the course of the journey, the local sailors could meet their GCC counterparts and exchange expertise. “Katara will nurture and educate today’s generation of sailors through an opportunity to learn and discover different fields of art, culture and science,” explained Dr al-Sulaiti.
QMA representative Rida Mousa said, “QMA is keen to revive and preserve Qatari heritage, especially the country’s maritime legacy. QMA’s collection of sailboats is considered one of the most important Arab traditional dhow collections in the GCC region.”
Hasan al-Kaabi, captain of Fath al-Khair, said he and his team members were proud to be associated with a venture aimed at showcasing Qatar’s heritage and history to the region’s millions of residents.
The sea, he said, has all along played a major role in the country’s heritage and served as a bridge of exchange between Qatari societies and the rest of the region. “We hope to bring bring this back to life once again with the support of our young generation.”
Crew member Saleh Youssef al-Kuwari described that the launch of the Fath al-Khair voyage is the best way to connect the Qatari youth with their past customs and traditions as well as shed light on the importance of learning and exploring the field of sea navigation.
Those interested in the Fath al-Khair voyage can make enquiries at 44080000/50123288.