Al Gaffal 60ft Traditional Dhow Sailing Race

More than a race, Al Gaffal is synonymous with the history of the traditional dhow in the Gulf region.

Saturday, 26th May 2012
1 day
7:00 AM
Dubai International Marine Club

Mina Seyahi, Al Sufouh Road, Dubai Marina

+971 4 405 8843

The long distance traditional 60ft contest is the last race in the watersports season at Dubai International Marine Club. The race, which was designed to commemorate the pearl divers who were integral to the early trading port of Dubai, started at the small uninhabited island of Sur Bu Na'air, 50 nautical miles west of the UAE, where the pearl fleets used to stop on their long journey home after months at sea looking for pearls to meet their families and loved ones. 

Starting with 53 43-feet long dhows during the first competition in 1991, the race has grown into a major sporting event, featuring about 100 traditional third version traditional boats (60 feet), and has seen more than 3,000 participants sailing the waters of the Gulf. 

The dhows today are pristine with beautifully polished hulls and crisp sails but still retain the traditions of the past with strict rules in place to maintain the heritage. Al Gaffal will start at Sur Bu Na'air Island at 7am and finish at Mina Seyahi.