33rd Al Gaffal Race Commences from Sir Bu Na'air Island on Friday Morning

15 May 2024

The Higher Organizing Committee of the 33rd Al Gaffal 60ft Traditional Dhow Sailing Race, held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Executive Council, has decided to hold the race on Friday, the 17th of May 2024.

The organizing committee has notified all participating boats, sailors, and success partners from government departments and national institutions of the new date and directed all participants to move towards Sir Bu Na’air Island to complete the procedures, which include technical inspection and receiving the GPS tracking device.

The great race, now in its 33rd edition, was founded by the late Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum and has been organized by the Dubai International Marine Club since 1991. It commences from Sir Bu Nair Island, passes through Moon Island, and concludes at the Dubai shore, covering a race distance of more than 50 nautical miles.

The organizing committee convoy for the race arrived on Sir Bu Na’air Island yesterday (Tuesday), marking the beginning of preparations for the 33rd Al Gaffal Race, while the remaining teams will move from today, such as Al Shindagha on board are the crews of Dubai Media Incorporated, as well as the Dubawi boat, which carries international media to cover and follow up on the event.

Mohammed Abdullah Harib, a member of the Higher Organizing Committee and Supervisor of the race, was keen to extend his sincere thanks to the success partners from government departments and national institutions for their great cooperation and understanding of the reasons for amending the race date due to the weather forecast and fluctuations in wind direction and speed in the Arabian Gulf waters this week.

He said that the Organizing Committee worked to respond to the directives from the officials to ensure the security and safety of everyone, including the organizers and participants in the race. Choosing the date represented the most prominent challenge, and in his speech, he praised the continuous cooperation of the boat owners, captains, and sailors, who welcomed the decision.

The event supervisor indicated that the delegation that arrived on Sir Bu Nair Island yesterday will begin its duties today in completing the registration procedure as well as conducting technical and safety inspections and receiving the GPS tracking device, which will be activated on the day of the race.

Harib explained that the organizing committee will continue to monitor the weather forecast and sea conditions to ensure that the race will be held in the best possible condition for the continuation of the epic race in the 33rd edition.

123 Dhow Boats

123 dhow boats have confirmed their participation for the event, carrying more than 2,500 crew and sailors on board, preparing to retrace the footsteps of their forefathers, returning home from diving and fishing trips in search of abundant livelihoods.

The organizing committee has decided to postpone the closing date for registration until the vision became clear regarding the new date, as the number reflected the great and continuing interest in the success of the race, which has gained great popularity among the people of the emirates for its unique family gathering on board.


Number of participants in Al Gaffal Race from 1991-2023

First edition in 1991: 53 boats

Second edition in 1992: 75 boats

Third edition in 1993: 70 boats

Fourth edition in 1994: 48 boats

Fifth edition in 1995: 65 boats

Sixth edition in 1996: 73 boats

Seventh edition in 1997: 74 boats

Eighth edition in 1998: 80 boats

Ninth edition in 1999: 69 boats

Tenth edition in 2000: 83 boats

Eleventh edition in 2001: 87 boats

Twelfth in 2002: 84 boats

Thirteenth in 2003: 91 boats

Fourteenth in 2004: 91 boats

Fifteenth in 2005: 89 boats

Sixteenth in 2006: 84 boats

Seventeenth in 2007: 93 boats

Eighteenth in 2008: 97 boats

Nineteenth in 2009: 93 boats

Twentieth in 2010: 95 boats

Twenty-first in 2011: 100 boats

Twenty-second in 2012: 102 boats

Twenty-third in 2013: 101 boats

Twenty-fourth in 2014: 100 boats

Twenty-fifth in 2015: 111 boats

Twenty-sixth in 2016: 106 boats

Twenty-seventh in 2017: 121 boats

Twenty-eighth in 2018: 122 boats

Twenty-ninth in 2019: 131 boats

Thirtieth in 2021: 106 boats

Thirty-first in 2022: 118 boats

Thirty-second in 2023: 125 boats

Thirty-third in 2024: 123 boats