Warren's Story (1993)
Dubai's First Inflatable Powerboat Offshore Race
.... at Chicago Beach Hotel
I raced Inflatable Offshore Powerboats in the Gemini Marine Team when I was based in Cape Town South Africa. My Co-Pilot and I were in the top five racing Teams. Gemini Marine were Inflatable Boat Manufacturers and, in 1993, invited by Dubai International Marine Club to send a Team to Dubai to participate in a series of International Offshore Inflatable Powerboat Races.
We stayed at the Chicago Beach Hotel. Each day we traveled to the Dubai International Marine Club (DIMC) in Mina Seyahi where our boats where moored. I remember there was very little between DIMC and Chicago Beach Hotel apart from some Kebab shops. We got to sample their food every day! Only facility on Dubai Creek was the newly opened Dubai Creek Yacht and Golf Club. We had a lot of fun exploring up and down Dubai's coast in our boats. Races were held offshore from the Chicago Beach Hotel. They had a large grand stand erected and the races were televised throughout the UAE and even in UK and other Gulf countries I heard.
Rais Hassan Saadi and Col Hareb took us out for dinner after we won and then took all the competitors on a dhow after dinner. During the month we spent in Dubai there were many US Military in Dubai as they had been involved in removing Saddam Hussein from Kuwait and and the problems in Somalia. There were about 6 or 7 large US Navy ships in Jebel Ali Port. All this meant we could not get into good establishments like the Hyatt Regency Hotel as security thought we were American Servicemen. Apparently only Officers were allowed into these upmarket venues! However we did get to regularly enjoy Chicago Beach Hotel's Night Club.
I often visit Dubai these days and love to see how Dubai has changed from as it used to be. Dubai shows what man is capable of when there are the means and the will to get things done!
These are my newspaper clippings from 1993.
Khaleej Times, Saturday, May 22, 1993
The Winners Warren Duncan and Greg Dreyer and (right) the Zapcats in action. The Rais Hassan supported Zapcat Inflatable Boat Races held at the Chicago Beach Hotel yesterday was good entertainment, although an attempt on the World Speed Record had to be postponed due to poor water conditions. The visiting Crews from South Africa then applied themselves to a series of races. Henning Blaaw and Albert Lombard in boat number one took the first race followed home by Duncan and Dreyer. The Duncan/Dreyer combination in the Chicago Beach Hotel sponsored boat took the next heat and the final race to take the day's overall honours. Duncan and Dreyer finished with 24 points followed by Blaaw and Lombard (21) and Ball and Coetzee (9). At the end of the event prizes were presented to the participants by Brig Saif Al Shaffar and Colonel Saeed Hareb of the Dubai International Marine Club. - KT Photos by Oswald Rodrigues