Monday, April 23, 2012

The Shasha - An Arabian Bundle Boat

"On Oman's Batinah coast fishermen still use the shasha, one of the oldest boats known to man, made of a bundle of palm fronds tied together." (From The Sindbad Voyage by Tim Severin. Click image to enlarge.) 

I've never heard of this boat and know nothing else about it. It makes perfect sense, however, in a land where good lumber is almost nonexistent but palm trees thrive. 

Most bundle boats are propelled by paddle, but this one uses oars. Generally, bundle boats lack the strength to mount an oar pivot, but it seems not to be a problem here. Each oar rests against a single fixed thole, and is held in place with a lashing. Note how the oar blades are fixed to the shafts at an angle to reduce torque -- a sophisticated touch on a primitive boat type.

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