Dubai sails into record book with world's 'largest wooden Arab dhow'


A traditional dhow, which was hand-built in Dubai has been officially recognised by the Guinness World Records.

Measuring 91.47 m long and 20.41 m wide, the dhow named Obaid is almost the size of an American football field.

It is named after Obaid Jumaa bin Majid Al Falasi, an Emirati shipbuilder who began an apprenticeship at the age of nine in the mid-1940s.

His son Majid Obaid Al Falasi (52) said it was not prestige that drove him to build the dhow, but he did it for his late father.

Work on the majestic dhow started years ago, with no actual engineering vision or blueprints but was massively developed and scaled up. Local craftsmen say they own the experience, describing it as the 'art of dhow building'. 

"Our forefathers were divers, our ancestors worked in the sea, and my own father perused this craftmanship for almost all his life. This is gratitude to my father, and my country which always aims for the forefront positions," said Majid Obaid.

"We tried to get the longest pieces of log available. We are born as dhow builders, and can build dhows using other material, but wood keeps its identity. This achievement is just the inevitable continuation for building dhows in the world,” he added. 

A modern adaptation is adding steel to the wooden structure. The majestic dhow is larger and stronger than a traditional one, and will be able to carry four times more cargo in and out from Dubai’s docks. 

The dhow stands at a height of 11.229 meters, and it weighs 2,500 tonnes. It has been constructed from material sourced both locally and abroad and will have an estimated load capacity of up to 6,000 tonnes.

It is powered by two 1,850 horsepower engines and will be used to transport cargo from the UAE.

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