Friday, March 20, 2009


Just came across this nice BIG photo of a jangada, on a Microsoft clipart site, no less. (Click the photo for really good detail.) I've discussed these rudimentary but graceful Brazilian fishing boats previously. I believe this will capture them all:


  1. Interesting: this boat seems to have a pointy bow, making this jangada almost into a broad flat skiff. Even after the jangadas converted to plywood design, they tended to retain the raft "bow" -- is this a recent evolution or a jangada showing a regional variation?

    The great book to read about their culture is of course Sheperd Forman's book, "The Raft Fishermen," an ethonographical and economic study of ca 1960s, when the fishermen were still using the balsa-like logs (before that species became deforested making log transport too expensive). -- Wade

  2. Wade,
    Thanks for this input and the observation of the pointy bow, which I hadn't noticed. I can't provide any more information about it, but I hope someone else adds to the discussion.
    I'm adding a link to Forman's "The Raft Fishermen" on Amazon at the bottom of the post itself.

  3. I actually think that this is just an illusion created by the angle at which the image was taken. I don't think there is a pointy bow. It is just a common rectangular jangada hullshape.

    I also think that a pointy bow wouldn't be functional. Somehow the jangada is almost a wave piercing boat anyway. In a seaway the deck would be constantly washed by waves. The crew gathers around the maststep, which gives a good handhold, while the oarsman tends the steering oar. Tillers on shallow skegs&rudders are also in use.

  4. Peter is correct. The bow line does not converge. In JANGADAS - a book produced by Banco do Nordeste a Brazilian bank- we find detailed illustrations and drawings by Nearco Araujo a university professor of Urbanism in Brazil. To view some page shots just follow the link. Glad to contribute. Best- Paul Lima

  5. Paul, I have been searching for Nearco Araujo's book for some time. I am no sailor but lived in Brazil in my youth and have thought off and on about building a small (one man) version of the modern jangada.There is some info on but not enough for me to launch into a project. Anyone have info or plans on how to build a jangada or where to find Nearco's book. Thanks.

  6. I picked up my copies in Brazil (2nd and 3rd addition). The 3rd addition was published in 1995. Do not know if others followed. Google turned up zero information. Still, I'm fairly confident that should you contact a major book store chain in BR they'll be happy to ship you one.

    Alternatively, why not learn first hand? Fly to a major city in Brazils northeast coast and pick from one of many small coastal hamlets. There the art of Jangada building is alive and well. There are even the old log rafts being built and used although these are hard to find. The one man Jangada you spoke of (I believe) is called a pataki and is commonly used for training young fishermen.

  7. Hi
    I have interest about a jangada. so, I want to buy used jangada or will built new jangada. Please know me the best way.

  8. I've never seen published plans or a description of the building process. I suspect the only option would be to travel to an area where jangadas are in use, and try to buy one there, or take careful measurements and observations if you want to build one yourself.