Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Dhow Racing in Abu Dhabi

Great video here of  a dhow regatta in Abu Dhabi, with more than 80 boats competing:

These modern racing dhows look fast and sexy. It's very nice to see a culture adopting and adapting modern yacht racing to its native boats (or vice versa).

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Models in the Madrid Naval Museum, Part III

This final series of photos from a recent visit to the Museo Naval de Madrid looks at models from the Pacific region other than China and the Philippines, which we covered in the two previous installments. (Also included here are a couple of full-size canoes, not from the Pacific.) As before, the captions are rough translations of the Spanish exhibit cards, followed by my own comments (if any) in parentheses. Click any photo to enlarge. 

This photo and the next two: Parao (19th C.), Mayalan warship

(Interesting slanted shields fore and aft to protect the gunners and helmsmen. I wonder if they were sheet iron.)

Parao (19th C.), Malayan merchant vessel. (The term "parao," which also applies to both the previous and the following models, evidently doesn't describe a particular hull type or the usage of the vessel.)
Parao (19th C.), Moluccan warship model made from cloves

Piragua (19th C.), Pacific Ocean; fishing and passenger carriage on rivers and bays
Tambil (19th C.), Singaporean pleasure boat
Piragua with outrigger (19th C.), Hawaiian fishing canoe. ("Piragua" is another ambiguous term, apparently referring to boats with narrow, canoe-like hulls that may nevertheless be very different from one another.) 
(unknown. I failed to record the exhibit card. Chinese sampan?)

Canoe from the forest of Betancu, Rio Sinu Province of Colombia (1862): 15M LOA, 1.13M beam. Presented to Queen Isabel II of Spain. (A 49' 2" dugout -- that requires some big tree!)

(Unknown. I could not find an exhibit card for this large dugout canoe. Note the difference between the bow of this canoe and the previous one.)
(Same canoe as previous photo.)

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Models in the Madrid Naval Museum, Part II

Here's a look at Chinese ship and boat models in the Museo Naval de Madrid. As in the previous post, about Philippine vessels in the same museum, the captions are my none-too-adept translations of the Spanish exhibit cards, followed by my own comments in parentheses. Click any image to enlarge.
Champantain (19th C.), Chinese coast guard vessel, generally used to pursue opium smugglers (I've never come across this name for a vessel type. I wonder if there's a different term in English.)

(another shot of the champantain in the previous photo. She looks speedy, as a contraband patrol boat should.)

Junk Keying (19th C.), Two models of junks similar to the Keying, the first Chinese vessel to sail from Hong Kong to London (The trip was via Cape of Good Hope and USA, in 1846-48. See the Wikipedia article for more.)

(the stern of the junk on the right of the previous photo)

Chinese funerary offering (17th C.) (Just as Chinese grave goods often depicted the happy home and residents of deceased lands-people, so too did boat dwellers depict their homes in goods buried with loved ones) 

Sampantanka (19th C.), River vessel for passenger carriage and selling merchandise (i.e., a sampan. The model wasn't specifically identified as Chinese, but I'm pretty confident that it is)

Lorcha (19th C.), Chinese; used for cabotage and piracy. (Cabotage is coastal cargo carriage. This one is definitely a pirate. If you click to enlarge, you'll see cannon in the bow and stern, and the rowers are protected by round shields, as in the old, inaccurate illustrations of Viking ships.)
"House of Flowers" (18th C.), Chinese pleasure vessel (model appears to be made of ivory. The detail carving is lovely and intricate.)

(closeup of the vessel "House of Flowers," in previous photo)

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Models in the Madrid Naval Museum, Part I

If you get tired of fine art at Madrid's incredible Prado museum, a nice break is the Museo Naval de Madrid, almost next door. Run by the Spanish armed forces, it has extensive exhibits of Spain's naval history, ranging from Columbus to the present-day Spanish navy. The exhibits are entirely in Spanish, so those who don't read the language have to be able to appreciate what they see without explanatory material.

In this post, we'll look at the museum's models of Philippine boats. Of course, the Philippines were a Spanish colony prior to the Spanish-American War, and the Spanish had plenty of opportunity to observe the local watercraft and collect models thereof.

The museum allows photography but not the use of flash which, combined with the fact that all the models are behind glass, partially explains the quality of the photos here. Click any image to enlarge. Captions are my inept translations of the Spanish exhibit cards. My own comments follow the main captions, in parentheses.

Philippine Prao (19th c.), Dugout for passengers and fishing. (double outrigger, Chinese-style reed-mat lugsails.)

Banca (19th C.), Philippine, passenger vessel used in ports and bays; also for fishing. (Double outrigger, canoe-shape hull, multiple thwarts, European-style lugsail with a line of reefing points. No rudder: might have been steered with a paddle.)

Casco (19th C.), Philippine river cargo launch (To all appearances, a Chinese Sampan. Chinese-style mat sails look very small, are probably not to scale. Identification might be faulty. If so, probably my error.)

Panco (19th C.), Jolo, Philippines. Used for piracy. (Top view. This ungainly vessel seems unlikely for its stated use.)

Casco (19th C.), Philippine river cargo launch (Euro-style lugsails with vertical seams)

Guilalo (18th C.), Philippine, used especially on the Bay of Manila to transport passengers into the capital and Cavité. (Settee sails have an Indian Ocean flavor. Double outrigger. Clipper bow.)