Even though the windows of my 15th floor hotel room at the Doha Hilton do not open, I can hear SuperCat and the CatLight raceboats testing and practicing on the waters of Doha Bay. It’s just after 4 p.m. and the sun is low. The light, almost “Golden Hour” quality, is the stuff professional photographers crave.
Of course, as you can see from the photo above, I will never be confused with a professional photographer and that’s just fine with me. But if you look closely—grab a magnifying glass or a pair of readers—you’ll find some white froth in the bottom right corner of the frame. Those are a few of the “Water Bike” racers (you know them as personal watercraft riders) getting in some seat time before they race tomorrow.
This afternoon, I heard the rumble of a couple of big-blocks on the water. After, the soft hum of outboards. And now, every so faintly, the nasal buzz of personal watercraft. Testing is music to my ears.
Softer light now, water empty, and it occurs to me that to be here is a privilege. Most impressive in this moment—and I have to limit this stuff to moments because the impressive ones, such as the round of applause for organizers Gro Helgeson and Lucy Nicandri during the drivers’ meeting, just keep on coming—is the cohesiveness among the offshore racers. Maybe it’s that they are far away from home, or maybe it’s because they took an enormous leap of faith to be here, but they are bonded. That won’t change when we leave here Sunday.
Editor’s note: Look for frequent updates on the Qatar Cup as events unfold.