Dubai: An Emirati shipbuilder has built the largest wooden Arabic dhow in the world.
Measuring 91.47 m long and 20.41 m wide, the size of the dhow named ‘Obaid’ in reference to Obaid Jumaa bin Majid Al Falasi, was verified by Guinness World Records today in Dubai.
Shipbuilder Majid Obaid Al Falasi, who began his apprenticeship at the age of nine in the mid-1940s, started working on the majestic dhow years ago with no actual engineering vision or blueprints.
Instead, the dhow was massively developed and scaled up, a skill local craftsmen say they own, describing it as the ‘art of dhow building’.
The 52-year-old said he built the biggest dhow not for the sake of prestige, but in memory of his late father, Obaid Jumaa bin Majid Al Falasi.
“Our forefathers were divers, our ancestors worked in the sea, and my own father perused this craftmanship for almost all his life.
"This is a gratitude to my father, and my country which always aims for the forefront positions.
“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 shows in the world,” he added.
A modern adaptation is adding steal to the wooden structure.
The majestic dhow is larger and stronger than a traditional one and will be able to carry four times the cargo in and out of Dubai’s docks.
“I see it in the eyes of my son. He is passionate about what I do, and what his grandfather used to do.
"This is what matters, for them to be able to continue the tradition and have it transferred to the next generation,” Al Falasi added.
As a visual representation, the dhow is the length and almost half the width of a standard American football field.
Standing at a height of 11.229 meters and weight of 2500 tonnes, the dhow has been constructed from material sourced both locally and abroad and will have an estimated load capacity of up to 6,000 tonnes.
Around 1,700 tonnes of wood, brought from Africa, was used in addition to 800 tonnes of steel.
It is powered by two 1850 horsepower engines and will be used to transport cargo from the UAE to Yemen, Somalia, Sudan, Egypt, Kenya, Pakistan, India, and maybe Iraq.
“At a speed of 14 knots, it will be enough for this dhow to operate and achieve its desired ROI. Who knows, you might see this dhow docking at different ports all across the world.”