Under the patronage of Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed bin Zayed Al Nahyan  The fourth Dalma traditional sailing festival from May 18-22

April 28, 2021


Under the patronage of Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed bin Zayed Al Nahyan

The fourth Dalma traditional sailing festival from May 18-22

Registration open from April 29 for the Dh25million traditional dhow race

More than 120 entries expected to race under strict Covid-19 safety protocols


The fourth Dalma Traditional Sailing Festival held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Ruler’s Representative of the Al Dhafra region, takes place from May 18-22, as announced by the Abu Dhabi Sailing and Yacht Club.

The highlight of the festival is the 60-foot dhow race covering a distance of 80 nautical miles (125km) organized by the Abu Dhabi Culture and Heritage Festivals and Programs Management Committee in association with the Abu Dhabi Sports Council.

The festival, sponsored by the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC), Al Masoud Motors and Dalma Cooperative Society.

The support for the now annual festival comes within the framework of the national companies’ keenness to support community events as well as encourage traditional marine traditions.

The festival is conducted in accordance with Covid-19 precautionary and safety protocols.

Abu Dhabi Sailing and Yacht Club will open registration for sailors from Thursday, April 29 and continue until May 9.

A prize fund of Dh25million is to be split among the first 100 boats to cross the finishing line. It is the biggest prize fund in the history of traditional sailing races.

The winner will receive Dh1.5million with the second and third set to pick up Dh1.1million and a car, and Dh900,000 plus a car, respectively.

The race flags off from Dalma Island and passes through Sir Baniyas, Ghasha, Umm Al Turcom, Al Fatayer, Al Bazm, Marawah and Janana before finishing at Al Mirfa city. 

The climax of the race is the boats will sail across the 65km distance from the start between the islands of Al Bazm and Al Fatayer.

It is expected that the number of sailors present at the center of the event will reach 120 teams from different parts of the country.

The festival has achieved unparalleled successes in its past three editions, in light of the support of the wise leadership of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Ruler's representative in the Al Dhafra region.

It previously gained a remarkable public presence that enriched the heritage village through the accompanying events on the historic Dalma Island, especially in the competitions for which a set of valuable prizes were allocated.


Al Mazrouei: The festival embodies our heritage, shedding light on our history and civilization.

His Excellency Major General Faris Khalaf Al Mazrouei, Commander in Chief of Abu Dhabi Police and Chairman of the Cultural and Heritage Festivals and Programs Committee, emphasized the importance of the festival to preserve traditions.

“The traditional Dalma Festival is a heritage painting that invites the citizens of the country to reflect on the values ​​of the past, history, civilization, development and the achievements of the UAE over the past 50 years,” he said.

“To draw a bright future that combines the nobility of the past and the modernity of the present.”

Al Mazrouei explained that the festival stems from the approach of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, "may God rest his soul", and his eternal sayings continue to safeguard the UAE's culture and heritage.

He applauded the directives of His Highness the UAE President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, "may God protect him", and supported His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, and the follow-up of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, representative of the ruler in the Dhafra region, "sponsor of the festival", to preserve the authentic customs and traditions, as well as passing these on to the next generations.

Al Mazrouei indicated that the festival has become a distinctive feature on the map of the marine heritage festivals.

“It is an occasion to revive and immortalize Emirati heritage, and to promote patriotism in the emerging generations,” he said.

“Additionally, the festival shines a light on Dalma Island and a number of Emirati islands in the Al Dhafra Region in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, highlighting their historical value and natural beauty.”


He expressed his thanks and gratitude for the patronage of Hamdan bin Zayed

Al Rumaithi: Supporting the wise leadership behind the historical scenes of the marine heritage

His Excellency Ahmed Thani Murshid Al Rumaithi, Chairman of both Abu Dhabi Sailing and Yacht Club, and the Higher Organizing Committee for the Race thanked the leadership of the country for their constant and continuous support for the various heritage events in general and the heritage marine sports in particular, stressing that support is the basis for the various successes achieved.

“Thank you, the people of loyalty,” he said. “Our leadership always sets an example and is an example in loyalty and belonging to the authentic national heritage.

“We always learn from their Highnesses Sheikhs and we draw inspiration from them for love and love for everything related to the legacy of fathers and grandfathers.”

Al Rumaithi thanked His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Ruler's Representative in the Al Dhafra Region, for his patronage and support for the historic Dalma Race Festival, stressing that his patronage will double the value of the event.


The vision of a wise leadership

Al Awani: The Fourth Dalma Festival further enhances the preservation of the maritime heritage

His Excellency Aref Al Awani, General Secretary of Abu Dhabi Sports Council, thanked His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Ruler's Representative of the Al Dhafra region, for his generous support and patronage of the Dalma Festival.

“The keenness to organize the festival amidst strict precautionary and preventive measures of the Covid-19 is an indication of the wise leadership’s interest in supporting the maritime heritage of the country,” he said.

“This event is an effort to preserve and create awareness of the country’s maritime heritage and for the younger generation to participate and experience the traditional sports.”

Al Awani said the sports council attached great importance in supporting the Dalma Festival and harnessing all possibilities to achieve more successes for traditional sports and the marine heritage, based on the vision of His Highness Sheikh Nahyan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Sports Council.

“The highlight of the festival is of course the Dhow sailing race over the 80 nautical mile distance for the fourth successive year. The lucrative cash prizes to the winners confirm the wise leadership's interest and encouragement to preserve the UAE's maritime heritage.”

Al Awani also expressed his gratitude to the Abu Dhabi Sailing and Yacht Club, the Festival Management Committee of the Cultural and Heritage Programs, and sponsors and supporters of the race, while wishing the participants success in the event.

 Issa Al Mazrouei: A major event that preserves the revival of the past of our fathers and grandfathers

Issa Saif Al Mazrouei, Vice Chairman of Culture and Heritage Festivals and Programs Management Committee in Abu Dhabi, said the Dalma Festival displays the UAE’s marine life of the past.

“The objective of this event is to preserve the local maritime heritage and create an awareness among the Emirati youth as well as the expatriate community,” he added.


A new date for the fourth event

Al Muhairi: Strict precautionary measures and the highest safety standards for the participants

Majid Ateeq Al Muhairi, Executive Director of Abu Dhabi Sailing and Yacht Club, has promised a week of festivities and another successful staging of the Dalma Festival.

“With every passing year, our experience in organizing the event increases, so the fourth edition will be an exceptional one, particularly with the highest safety standards maintained for all participants and the general public.

“We expect the entries for the Dhow sailing race to reach more than 120 teams. The registration is open from Thursday, April 29, until May 9.

“We also urge all teams to speed up the registration process and observe all the precautionary measures followed in the protocol for the return of sporting activities and events.

“It is hoped that the final date for the race will be announced on May 11, which will result in either confirmation of the current date set from May 18 to May 22, or postponement to the date of May 25 to May 29, according to weather reports.”


Al Qubaisi: The festival preserves the authentic heritage of the Emirates

Abdullah Butti Al Qubaisi, Director of Events and Communication Department of the Committee, said that the festival gets underway from May 18 to 22.

“The competitions will be limited to angling, running races, the Dalma sailing and rowing races, and cycling, in addition to events and competitions organised by the Abu Dhabi Sailing and Yacht Club, and Abu Dhabi Sports Council,” he said.

Al Qubaisi praised the fruitful partnership between the Culture and Heritage Festivals and Programs Management Committee, the Abu Dhabi Sailing and Yacht Club, and Abu Dhabi Sports Council, which contribute to preserving the country’s maritime heritage.

“The heritage events strengthen the national identity and preserve the culture and heritage of the country,” he added.

“It sheds light on the heritage of the Emirati islands and the marine heritage, which are also tourist attractions.”

Al Qubaisi extended his sincere thanks and gratitude to everyone participating in and supporting this heritage festival, as well as to the media, for their effective role in promoting such a heritage event on Dalma Island.