Traditional Boats & Rigs of the Indian Ocean, The


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by H. Warington Smyth

reprinted from Mast and Sail in Europe and Asia

The Indian Ocean, that sea of bright colouring, the home of the wide-sweeping monsoons, brings us to many old craft relics of the early days of man’s seafaring.    Mostly fair-wind sailers, there are few vessels in this portion of the East of a sea-going character, as we understand the term, capable of keeping the sea or working off a lee-shore. Trained to the long use of favourable monsoon winds which are experienced in certain directions for considerable periods of the year, which come and blow and go again with unfailing regularity, the Eastern sailor with characteristic philosophy has as a rule resigned himself to the inevitable, unwilling to attempt to do otherwise than bow to the evident decrees of Fate, and take a fair wind when it is provided for him by a kindly Nature. His ship is thus, as a rule, high-sterned to prevent pooping; she is fitted with sails of light calico material, and by way of rigging a quantity of ungainly cordage in various stages of decay. Careful corking and water-tight decks are alike generally unknown. Labour-saving appliances such as windlasses and blocks are rarely employed and imperfectly understood.

44 pages


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