Friday, 4 May 2012

Bundle Boat

Bob Holtzman at the always-interesting Indigenous Boats has posted this picture from Tim Severin's classic book The Sindbad Voyage.
It is a shasha from the Batinah coast of Oman, made of bundles of palm fronds. As Bob points out, it is a simple and practical boat for a place with no timber. He also draws attention to the blades, which are attached to the oar shafts diagonally to reduce the twisting moment. A true 'diamond scull'.
Reed boats are usually paddled because of the difficulty of attaching the thole pins securely enough to take the strains of rowing, but the fishermen of Oman seem to have solved the problem simply by extending the frames upwards where appropriate. 
The palm fronds used to be held together with palm ropes but nowadays polyprop has been substituted. Extra buoyancy is provided by strategically placed styrofoam. There is a good description of the boat here
As elsewhere round the world, this interesting and characterful boat is being edged out by fibreglass things with outboards. Sigh.

1 comment:

J. Harp said...

Very interesting that you featured this paddle boat. This is ancient. This is witness to mans journey through the ages. What's the nationality of the boatman if you don't mind?