In Indonesia, They Still Build Schooners Like They Did 400 Years Ago

by Owen James Burke


This 80-foot schooner, being built on Tanjung Bira Beach in Indonesia, will be no different from the schooners built on the same beach 400 years ago: with hand tools and timber.


Hauling lumber

These traditional sailing vessels called Pinisis, which can often exceed 100 feet in length (assuming there is sufficient timber available), are made watertight not by tar and rope (as traditional western vessels were) but with a sticky sap found in Indonesia.


A couple of elementary tools, and a few good hands and a good stock of lumber are the only things these men of Bulukumba, Indonesia require to build their superyachts.


The Pinisi is an interesting design in that it is a blending of east and west. It has the hull shape of a dhow (a traditional eastern style sailing vessel), yet it has rigging more like a western ketch (rather than a schooner, as its foremast is larger than its aft). Throughout the centuries, these boats have floated all walks of life including fishermen, merchants and even warriors.

Maybe in some places, they still do build them like they used to. I’d like to see how they step the mast.

dailymail via Noah Sabich

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