Thursday, November 4, 2010

Curvy Dugout

Just had to share this photo I stumbled upon of an extraordinary double-curved dugout from the village of Omorate, in the Omo River Valley in Ethiopia. Not much detail about it, but read what you will in this blog where I found it. (Thanks to the source bloggers, Ray and Gary.)

I can't imagine that one would prefer to build a boat shaped like this, and it's almost equally hard to believe that it warped like this after it was put into use. The only remaining explanation is that no straight trees were available to the builder, who had to settle for this curvy one. It must be awfully hard to maneuver, but its owner gets bragging rights to "Most Distinctive" in the Indigenous Boats Beauty Contest.


  1. I wonder if the curvy monoxylon :-) is so hard to operate. The stem and stern seem to be in alignment so that the boat should track straightish.

    Thanks for the Dalca pic. that and another of the Dalca that I found give me inspiration for my Bronze Age boat hull, over which I have been dithering far too long.

  2. Edwin,
    My guess is that the curve would act like a rudder and constantly turn the boat to port (I'm assuming that the poler in the photo is facing the bow). But boats do surprising things, and as you suggest, perhaps it's not as bad as it looks. If the center of the double curve is on the boat's lateral pivot-point, then the curve forward of that point would tend to steer right, and the curve aft of that point would steer left. Maybe it balances out.

  3. Bob

    It could have the suprising benefit of creating something similar to a natural "J" stroke so that one would only needed to paddle on one side of the boat with a straight stroke in order to keep going straight.