Named ‘Obaid’, in reference to Obaid Jumaa bin Majid Al Falasi, an Emirati shipbuilder who began an apprenticeship at the age of nine in the mid-1940s, the largest wooden Arabic dhow in the world was verified by Guinness World Records on 28th October 2020 in Dubai.
The majestic dhow measures 91.47 m long and 20.41 m wide. To visualize this, it is the length and almost half the width of a standard American football field, floating over the Indian Ocean. For another visual reference, if the dhow were to be balanced vertically, would make it stand as tall as the Big Ben in London. Building a big handmade boat in a country with no forests is a challenge, but crafting the world’s largest dhow is a challenge on a higher level. Decades on from the heyday of the Creek's trading boats, a family-run yard still produces traditional hand-built vessels – and most importantly has just been recognized with the Guinness World Records title of the largest wooden Arabic dhow.
Work on the 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’.