The Dghajsa (British sailors pronounced it dy'so) was rowed in a very curious way, reflecting a strange amalgam of Maltese and English styles. A single oarsman would row standing up with crossed oars, as in the picture. This would be the obvious thing to do in a protected harbour filled with fast-moving vessels.
|Picture by Nick Tynan|
Racing involved two forward and two rearward facing rowers, and they still race like this.
Two Dghajsas are competing in the Great River Race this year - I can't wait to overtake them in Gladys.
The late, great Cyril Tawney featured the Dghajsa in his poignant and moving song, the Ballad of Sammy's Bar, written when he was based in Malta during his time in the submarine service. I heard him sing it at Blackheath Folk Club many years ago - a totally memorable evening.