Traditional Dhow Sailing Vessel

Traditional Dhow Sailing Vessel



We are searching data for your request:

Forums and discussions:
Manuals and reference books:
Data from registers:
Wait the end of the search in all databases.
Upon completion, a link will appear to access the found materials.


Sambuk

Sanbuk (ultimately from Middle Persian sanbūk [1] ), known in New Persian as Sunbūk ( سنبوک ‎) and in Arabic as Sanbūk ( سنبوك ‎), Sanbūq ( سنبوق ‎) and Ṣunbūq ( صنبوق ‎), is a type of dhow, a traditional wooden sailing vessel. It has a characteristic keel design, with a sharp curve right below the top of the prow. Formerly sanbuks had ornate carvings. [2]


Ghanjah

The ghanjah dhows had a curved prow with a characteristic trefoil ornament carved on top of the stem-head. They also had an ornately carved stern and quarter galleries. Their average length was 97 ft (30 m) with a 15 m (49 ft) keel-length and an average weight of 215 tons. Usually they had two masts, the main mast having a pronounced inclination towards the prow. They used two to three lateen sails supplementary sails were often added on the bowsprit and on a topmast atop the main mast. [3]

The ghanjah is often difficult to distinguish from the baghlah, a similar type of dhow. Besides the trefoil-shaped carving on top of the stem-head, ghanjahs had usually a more slender shape. [4]

Ghanjahs were widely used in the past centuries as merchant ships in the Indian Ocean between the western coast of the Indian Subcontinent and the Arabian Peninsula. [5] Many ghanjahs were built at traditional shipyards in Sur, Oman, [6] as well as in Beypore, Kerala, India.

Ghanjahs were largely replaced by the newer-designed and easier to maneuver booms in the 20th century.

  1. ^ Thabit A. J. Abdullah, The Political Economy of Trade in Eighteenth-Century Basra, SUNY series in the Social and Economic History of the Middle East , 2000, ISBN978-0-7914-4808-3
  2. ^ Clifford W. Hawkins, The dhow: an illustrated history of the dhow and its world
  3. ^Too Late to Document Dhows?
  4. ^The Traditional DhowArchived July 25, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ Gardiner, Robert (2001 [1998]). The Victory of Seapower. Caxton Editions. 1-84067-359-1. p. 89
  6. ^The Traditional DhowArchived July 25, 2012, at the Wayback Machine

This article about a type of ship or boat is a stub. You can help Wikipedia by expanding it.


A dhow is a traditional Arab sailing vessel with one or more lateen sails. It is primarily used to carry heavy items, like fruit, along the coasts of the Arabian Peninsula, Pakistan, India and East Africa. Larger dhows have crews of approximately thirty people, while smaller dhows typically have crews of around twelve. Dhows are much larger than feluccas, another type of Arab boat usually used in fresh water in Egypt, Sudan and Iraq.

History
Even to the present day, dhows make commercial journeys between the Persian Gulf and East Africa using sails as their only means of propulsion. Their cargo is mostly dates and fish to East Africa and mangrove timber to the lands in the Persian Gulf. They often sail south with the monsoon in winter or early spring, and back again to Arabia in late spring or early summer. The term "dhow" is also applied to small, traditionally-constructed vessels used for trade in the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf area and the Indian Ocean from Madagascar to the Bay of Bengal. Such vessels typically weigh 300 to 500 tons, and have a long, thin hull design. Dhow also refers to a family of early Arab ships that used the lateen sail, the latter of which the Portuguese likely based their designs for the caravel (known to Arabs as sambuk, booms, baggalas, ghanjas and zaruqs). Yemeni Hadhrami came to Beypore, Kerala, India around the early 18th Century and started Dhow building from there due to the availability of good timber in the forests of Kerala and also the presence of skilled crafts persons in ship building. Beypore Dhows are known as 'Uru' in malayalam, the local language of Kerala. Settlers from Yemen, later known as 'Baramis', are still active in Uru business in Kerala.

Navigation
For celestial navigation, dhow sailors have traditionally used the kamal (A kamal is a celestial navigation device that determines latitude. The invention of the kamal allowed for the earliest known latitude sailing, and was thus the earliest step towards the use of quantitative methods in navigation. It originated with Arab navigators of the late 9th century, and was employed in the Indian Ocean from the 10th century. It was adopted by Indian navigators soon after, and then adopted by Chinese navigators some time before the 16th century. The kamal consists of a rectangular wooden card about 2 by 1 inches (5.1 by 2.5 cm), to which a string with several equally spaced knots is attached through a hole in the middle of the card. The kamal is used by placing one end of the string in the teeth while the other end is held away from the body roughly parallel to the ground. The card is then moved along the string, positioned so the lower edge is even with the horizon, and the upper edge is occluding a target star, typically Polaris because its angle to the horizon does not change with longitude or time. The angle can then be measured by counting the number of knots from the teeth to the card, or a particular knot can be tied into the string if travelling to a known latitude. The knots were typically tied to measure angles of one finger-width. When held at arm's length, the width of a finger measures an angle that remains fairly similar from person to person. This was widely used (and still is today) for rough angle measurements, an angle known as issabah in Arabic, or a chih in Chinese. By modern measure, this is about 1 degree, 36 minutes, and 25 seconds, or just over 1.5 degrees. Due to the limited width of the card, the kamal was only really useful for measuring Polaris in equatorial latitudes, which perhaps explains why it was not common in Europe. For these higher-latitude needs somewhat more complex devices based on the same principle were used, notably the cross-staff and backstaff. The kamal is still a tool recommended for use in sea kayaking. In such an application, it can be used for estimating distances to land. Around this time (of the Discoveries) the Arabs were using a very ingenious instrument in the Mediterranean Sea that allowed them to know latitude. It was called al-kamal – the guiding line. It was simply a small wooden board with a notch made on top and in the middle of it and a piece of string that was attached to the centre of the board it could only be operated at night. To find where they were, an operator would adjust the distance of the piece of wood closer or farther away from his eyes in order to have the bottom of the plank levelled with the horizon and the North Star placed inside the notch. The operator would then tie a knot in the string on the point where it touched his nose, and a celestial location was then marked. There were no angles to measure and record or complicated mathematical formulas to consider. From then on the navigator knew that every time the horizon was levelled with the bottom of the board, the North Star was inside the notch, and the distance measured in the string was the same as marked, he was in a place that had the same latitude as the one where he had made those measurements. Portugal had to wait for Vasco da Gama to bring it from India on the first voyage he made there in 1498). This observation device determines latitude by finding the angle of the Pole Star above the horizon.


What were dhow ships used for?

Dhow ships are known as innovative sailing vessels that have a raised hull and a sharp pointed bow. Made from wood, dhows usually have minimum two triangular sails. Many dhows even have single large sail that not only facilitate easy sailing but also provide excellent power to the boat.

Similarly, what are the most common characteristics of the Arab dhow? Dhow, also spelled Dow, one- or two-masted Arab sailing vessel, usually with lateen rigging (slanting, triangular sails), common in the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean. On the larger types, called baggalas and booms, the mainsail is considerably bigger than the mizzensail.

Also question is, how big is a dhow?

Nearly 90 meters long and 10 meters high, the wooden dhow modeled on traditional Arabian cargo ships will be the largest of its kind in history, according to the makers.

A dhow, a caravel, and a junk are examples of sailing vessels. The Chinese junks were used earlier than the dhow or the caravel. The Arabs used the dhow. These sailing vessels had a double-ended hull. The sails were more triangular in shape than square in shape.


History and Construction of the Dhow

For many centuries, boats that sailed on the Indian Ocean were called dhows. While there were many different types of dhows, almost all of them used a triangular or lateen sail arrangement. This made them markedly different than the ships that evolved on the Mediterranean. These ships had a characteristic square sail. The dhow was also markedly different than the ships that sailed on the China Sea. These ships were known as junks.

Unfortunately, there is almost no pictorial evidence of early dhows. Most of our knowledge of the dhow&rsquos early construction comes to us from the records of Greek and early Roman historians. Added to this, we can compare some similar hull constructions used in the later Roman period, after they had opportunity to learn from the Arab sailors. Along with this we can examine early shipwrecks, and lastly we can learn from modern day construction of dhows. It seems that dhow making is considered an art, and this art has been passed down from one generation to another, preserving, at least in part, the dhow&rsquos basic design and use. (Some modern dhow makers now nail their hulls together, and many are now making a square stern rather than a double-ended vessel.) By taking all of these into consideration, we can get an excellent idea of how the ancient dhow was constructed and what its sailing abilities were.

Despite their historical attachment to Arab traders, dhows are essentially an Indian boat, with much of the wood for their construction coming from the forests of India.

In Europe, boats names are based on the type of sail rigging the boat has. Thus, it is typical for Europeans to label all Arab boats as dhows. In the Middle East however, boats are classified according the shape of their hull. Thus, dhows with square sterns have the classifications: gaghalah, ganja, sanbuuq, jihaazi. The square stern is basically a product of European influence, since Portuguese and other boats visited the Arab gulf since the sixteenth century.

Older type vessels are now called buum, zaaruuq, badan, etc., and still have the double-ended hulls that come to a point at both the bow and the stern.

The generic word for ship in Arab is markab and safiinah. Fulk is used in the Quran. The word daw is a Swahili name, and not used by the Arabs, although it was popularized by English writers in the incorrect form of dhow.

The dhow was known for two distinctive features. First of all, it&rsquos triangular or lateen sail, and secondly, for it&rsquos stitched construction. Stitched boats were made by sewing the hull boards together with fibers, cords or thongs.

The idea of a boat made up of planks sewn together seems strange. Actually, it is a type that has been in wide use in many parts of the world and in some places still is. In the Indian Ocean, it dominated the waters right up to the fifteenth century, when the arrival of the Portuguese opened the area to European methods. A Greek sea captain or merchant who wrote in the first century AD reports the use of small sewn boats off Zanzibar and off the southern coast of Arabia. Marco Polo saw sewn boats at Hormuz at the entrance to the Persian Gulf. He took a dim view of them: &ldquothey were twine and with it stitch the planks of the ship together. It keeps well and is not corroded by sea-water but it will not stand well in a storm.&rdquo (Marco Polo, Book I, ch xviii, translated by H. Yule, 3rd edition, London, 1903, I, p.108)

Later travelers reported seeing large sewn boats of 40 and 60 tons&rsquo burden and versions of fair size were still plying the waters of East Africa and around Sri Lanka in the early decades of the twentieth century.

&ldquoThe earliest surviving example of a sewn boat, as we shall see, was found beside the great pyramid of Giza, but it is unquestionably a descendant of ancestors that go back to Egypt&rsquos primitive times. Sewn boats are mentioned by ancient Roman writers, from tragic poets to the compiler of Rome&rsquos standard encyclopedia, in ways betraying their conviction that such boats belonged to the distant past, the days of the Trojan War, of Aeneas and Odysseus. They were surely right in connecting sewn boats with an early age. They were wrong only in assuming that it had not lived on: marine archeologists have found remains of sewn boats that date from the sixth century BC on into the Roman Imperial age. By the fashioning of a hull by sewing planks together, despite its early appearance and continued existence, remained a byway. As the following chapters will reveal, the mainstream of boat building followed a different channel.&rdquo (Ships and Seamanship in The Ancient World, Lionel Casson, Princeton University Press, 1971)

History of the Dhow

According to Hourani, fully stitched construction was observed by medieval writers in the Red Sea, along the east African coast, in Oman, along the Malabar and Coromandel Coasts of India and in the Maldives and Laccadive Islands.

Deloche summarizes the characteristics of pre-European influence, ocean going Indian ships based on pictorial evidence. They were double-ended craft. Prior to the eleventh century AD, the stern was raked, but after that time, a long projecting bow became the predominate characteristic. Hull planks were flush-laid and stitched with the stitches crossed and penetrating right through the planks.

Procopius, writing in the sixth century AD, tells us that ships used in the Indian Seas &lsquoare not covered with pitch or any substance, and the planks are fastened together, no with nails but with cords.&rsquo (Ray, 1994, pg 173)

Some illustrations of stitching can be found in Sanchi sculptures of the second century BC, and paintings accompanying al-Harari&rsquos Maqamat of AD 1237. The thirteenth century AD account of Marco Polo is less than complimentary: &ldquoThe vessels built at Hormuz are the worst kind, aand dangerous for navigation, exposing the merchants and others who make use of them to great hazards.&rdquo

A possible reconstruction of early ocean-going dhows. Their main characteristics were sewn double ended construction, steering oars at the stern and a lateen rigged sail.

A possible reconstruction of a later dhow with stern rudders and a rope system of steering.

Contemporary records prove without a doubt that during the third millennium BC, Babylon carried on extensive overseas trade through the Persian Gulf southward to the east African coast and eastward to India. Hardly anything is known about the vessels used on these ambitious runs other than that they were very small the largest mentioned has a capacity of some 28 tons. (Ships and Seamanship in The Ancient World, Lionel Casson Princeton University Press, 1971, Page 23)

A &lsquoseagoing boat&rsquo of 300 gur is mentioned in a document of 2000 BC see A. Oppenheim &ldquoThe Seafaring Merchants of Ur.&rdquo (Journal of the American Oriental Society 74, 1954, 6-17, especially 8 note 8. For the size of the gur, see Appendix 1, note 5)

Masts and sails

In early times the masts and yards were probably made of coconut wood and teak, although a number of woods were used in later construction. It is thought that originally sails were woven from coconut of palm leaves, and that eventually cotton cloth became the favorite for merchants on long voyages. Cotton cloth was manufactured in India. Two main sails were carried, one for night and bad weather, and the other for day and fair weather. Sails on a dhow could not be reefed.

The lateen sail used by Arabs stops short of being completely triangular. Their sails retained a luff at the fore part in proportion to the leech of roughly 1-6 in the mainsail. The retention of this luff added a much greater area of sail to be hoisted than would a completely triangular design. During the Byzantine era the Lateen sail completed its evolution into a triangle, and this idea spread from Byzantium to the rest of Europe, where it developed into the varieties of mizzen sails which later gave European sailing ships so much flexibility. From there it was eventually developed in the west into all the types of fore-and-aft rig known to yachtsmen today, a form superior still to the lateen for sailing close to the wind.

It is assumed by some that the lateen sail developed on the Red Sea, and spread from there to the Mediterranean Sea and Persian Gulf. There is some evidence that a fore-and-aft lateen rig arrived in the Aegean Sea from the 2nd century onward, and in the Persian Gulf around this time.

The masts and rigging of the dhow was similar in all types of dhows, with added rigging in larger vessels. Masts were secured at the base by being slotted into a mast step, which fit over the floor timbers. The rigging of a typical dhow can be seen in the diagram below. Cables were often made of coir.

The lateen sail on the dhow looks triangular to the casual observer, but in fact it is quadrilateral and is correctly termed a settee sail. Was sail is made of several cloths, sewn parallel to luff and leech. Different types of sail were made according to the requirements: a sail wanted for reaching would be made less flat and with a fuller luff than a sail wanted for beating.

The lateen yard was normally very long in proportion to the mast and hull, and was sometimes made of more than one piece of timber. In this case, it was fitted with a strengthening piece, along the middle. Two holes were them made so that the halyard type could be secured to prevent it from slipping along the yard. On a yard of very great length a second strengthening piece would be fitted along the middle of the first.

Modern Dhows

There were a number of different types of dhows that evolved. Some of the types common during the last two hundred years are illustrated below.

Above: A baghlah with a modern square stern. Illustration taken from Paris' Souvenirs de Marine, 1882.

Above: a Cuch dungiyah. Illustration taken from Paris' Souvenirs de Marine, 1882.

Above: a sewn fishing badan, as seen in the 1830's.

Above: A cargo badan seen in the 1830's. Drawing first published in Paris' Essai sur la construction.' Note the double keel pieces and the rope system of steering on each of the two above dhows.

Above: A baggarah with a rope steering gear in the 1830's from Paris' Essai sur la construction. The hull of this small boat is very similar to a battil, but the stern-piece is continued in a straight line instead of the club like shape of the battil, but lacks protection despite it's high stern post. This vessel is also known today as a shahuf, and is often used as a fishing vessel along the coasts of the Persian Gulf, Oman and Yemen.

Dhow shipbuilding is a very ancient trade. In various places around the world, ship building techniques and styles developed until they were successful. Once they reached this stage, schools of shipbuilding, with their various skills and knowledge solidified certain styles of boats. These styles changed very slowly over the centuries as ship building techniques were often closely guarded secrets. Ship builders took special pride in their particular style of building.

Thus, three styles of ships developed in the ancient world. On the Mediterranean, triremes and trade boats shared similar styles, with small square sails, and outboard steering oars. On the Indian Ocean, dhows, with their triangular sails and stitched hull design dominated the waters. On the China seas, Chinese junks, with their tall forecastles, multiple masts, and unique sail rigging and sternpost rudder existed for centuries.

Each of these seas was separated from the other, some by landmasses, and some by dangerous striates and massive cultural differences. Bridging the gaps between these civilizations were other smaller civilizations that daringly took goods and knowledge from one sphere to the other. In Arabia, the Nabataeans played this role. In Asia, sailors with their lashed-lug ships seemed to have played this role.

It was only when ship builders saw a proven improvement that they would adapt it into their own design. Thus, ship design changed very slowly over time, allowing us to fill in the gaps in shipbuilding knowledge, but looking at previous designs and later designs. Changes in shipbuilding technique also point to nautical contacts between these three great shipbuilding spheres. Added to this, it must be accepted that many if not most dhows were built in India, and sold to Arab traders.

Dhows and the Nabataeans

As mentioned in my paper Who were the Ancient Arab Traders, the Nabataeans were known as seamen, and at various points in history totally dominated the shipping that was taking place on the Red Sea. While they originally obtained their boats by piracy, they must have either bought boats from India, or constructed or remodeled them themselves. It is interesting to note that some nautical historians point to the Red Sea as the probably place where the lateen sail was first developed. Perhaps the Nabataeans played a role in its development, since the lateen sail would have made it possible for them to bring the frankincense harvest up the Red Sea to their port at Leuke Kome. (See Sailing and Navigation) Whatever the case, dhows were the preferred boat for transporting cargoes on the Indian Ocean, and they dominated this scene for almost two thousand years.

Bibliography

Casson, Lionel, Ships and Seafaring in Ancient Times, British Museum Press, 1994, London

Flecker, Michael, A ninth-century AD Arab or Indian shipwreck in Indonesia: first evidence for direct trade with China. World Archaeology, Volume 32(3): 335-354 Shipwrecks, Taylor & Francis Ltd, 2001

Griffith, T., Marco Polo: The Travels, Wordsworth, London, 1997

Hourani, G. F., Arab Seafaring in the Indian Ocean in Ancient and Early Medieval Times, Princeton University Press, Princeton, 1995

Manguim, P. Y., Southeast Asian shipping in the Indian Ocean during the first millennium A.D. In Tradition and Archaeology, (eds H. P. Ray and J.F. Salles), State Publishers, New Delhi, 1996, pp 181-198

Paris&rsquo Essai sur la construction, 1930

Paris&rsquo Souvenirs de Marine, 1882.

Ray, H. P. and Salles J. F., _Tradition and Archaeology: Early Maritime Contacts in the Indian Oce_an, State Publishers, New Delhi, 1996

Tibbetts, G. R., Arab Navigation in the Indian Ocean before the Coming of the Portuguese, London: Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland, 1981

Vosmer, T., 1997, Indigenous fishing craft of Oman, International Journal of Nautical Archaeology, 26(3): 217-235

Page Discussion

Membership is required to comment. Membership is free of charge and available to everyone over the age of 16. Just click SignUp, or make a comment below. You will need a user name and a password. The system will automatically send a code to your email address. It should arrive in a few minutes. Enter the code, and you are finished.

Members who post adverts or use inappropriate language or make disrespectful comments will have their membership removed and be barred from the site. By becoming a member you agree to our Terms of Use and our Privacy, Cookies & Ad Policies. Remember that we will never, under any circumstances, sell or give your email address or private information to anyone unless required by law. Please keep your comments on topic. Thanks!


Contents

Even to the present day, dhows make commercial journeys between the Persian Gulf and East Africa using sails as their only means of propulsion. Their cargo is mostly dates and fish to East Africa and mangrove timber to the lands in the Persian Gulf. They often sail south with the monsoon in winter or early spring, and back again to Arabia in late spring or early summer.

The term "dhow" is also applied to small, traditionally-constructed vessels used for trade in the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf area and the Indian Ocean from Madagascar to the Bay of Bengal. Such vessels typically weigh 300 to 500 tons, and have a long, thin hull design.

Dhow also refers to a family of early Arab ships that used the lateen sail, the latter of which the Portuguese likely based their designs for the caravel (known to Arabs as sambuk, booms, baggalas, ghanjas and zaruqs).


Freighting

While pearling and fishing have been traditional functions of country craft, the larger vessels, such as the boom, have been involved for centuries in carrying freight across and along both sides of the Gulf littoral and as far as the Indian sub-continent and the east coast of Africa, as noted above. This trade was an essential activity, moving a wide range of goods mostly into the Gulf states. In this photograph, taken in the early 1970s on the dhow jetty at Doha, building supplies are being carried ashore down an improvised gangplank.

But time brings changes and while there is still the necessity to move freight, the traditional craft have changed in a variety of ways. This photograph is of a Pakistani boom that has been modified to carry freight, in this case, livestock. The superstructure at the stern is a modern version of the older structures though has been painted to give some resemblance to a more modern, steel, freighter. Yet there is still a zuli hanging from the stern. Curiously, the stem piece has been cut down and even appears to have a forward crank in its leading edge. The mast has no sailing function but is rigged as a derrick for handling purposes.


The History of Dhows – An Ancient Art

The word daw is a Swahili word, the language most widely spoken in East Africa, where all along the coastline you’ll see wooden boats with triangular sails bobbing in the water. These are dhows, a traditional East African boat that has been sailing those very waters for millennia.

The word dhow is actually a generic term for a variety of traditional sailing vessels with one or more masts with lateen sails (a classic triangular-shaped sail attached to a cross beam that is raised and lowered according to the winds) found in the Indian Ocean or the Red Sea. Historians speculate that the dhow was either invented by Arabs or Indians and they were originally fishing or trading vessels used mostly to carry items such as fruit, fresh water or other goods, along the coasts of the Arab countries, as well as Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, and East Africa. Although originating in India or the Arabian Peninsula, it was on the East African coast where they flourished and are still in use today. By reading through ancient Greek texts we see reference to these dhows dating back as far as 600 BC.

Still today, dhows set off on journeys between the Arabian Gulf and East Africa, using only the wind in their sails for propulsion. On these commercial journeys where they mostly carry goods such as dates, fish and mangrove timber, the dhows will often sail south with the monsoon winds in winter or early spring, then return in late spring or early summer. In Zimbabwe, on the Zambezi River, you can find our 2 East African dhows sailing gently up and downstream, carrying travellers from around the world on a journey of bliss with no set destination or purpose – other than enjoying the magnificent surroundings and taking the opportunity to find stillness and peace.

The crafting of a dhow is considered an art, one that is passed down from one generation to the next. Traditionally it’s a lesson shared from father to son, using their bare hands and the same style of tools from ages ago. It’s a practice filled with respect to an ancient form that still holds up today.

The masts and yards were originally made of coconut wood and teak from India, but now a larger variety can be used. Sails were probably woven from coconut or palm leaves and the arrival of cotton (which was also from India) made longer voyages possible. What was especially unique about the dhows is that the planks were stitched together using rope or coir (a coconut fibre), instead of hammered with nails. Cotton soaked in coconut oil is also used to stuff any gaps, expanding when wet and keeping leaks out.

Zambezi Truth, Victoria Falls

The system of dhows traversing along the East African, Arabian and Indian coasts had an enormous cultural and economic impact on this area. It made possible a steady flow and interchange of ideas, goods, religions, flavours, and skills. This sharing of ideas and building of an international community significantly predates the modern phenomenon of globalisation. As commerce was the main goal of these interactions there was a certain freedom that would later be stripped by colonial rulers arriving from Europe. Being at the mercy of monsoon winds, meant that sailors would spend some time in the various trading ports and interact socially much more than they would have on a quick stay. In essence, these dhows were a vehicle of dialogue between civilisations and very effective channel of communication, for instance, carrying the message of a religion like Islam up and down the African coast.

All things to consider when enjoying your intimate Zambezi Truth voyage in Victoria Falls, perhaps it too will allow you to connect across a different culture and learn new skills and ideas.


Arabian Dhow


Click for Larger Image

Perspective Forward | Perspective Aft | Perspective Above Aft

Copyright 2013 - 2016 Michael Kasten

The Dhow in History

The 36 meter vessel shown here is modeled after a type of traditional Arabian Dhow, most closely resembling the Sambuk and Baghala types. The most traditional rig for this kind of vessel is the Settee rig (trapezoidally shaped sails) or the Lateen rig (triangular sails). Both of these are able to sail down wind like a square rig, but they are also able to sail well to windward and tack into the wind like a fore and aft rigged craft.

Most sources attribute the origins of the Dhow to India, where it appears they were built near the supply of wood. Originally the Dhow and other craft in the region were built using stitched-together planks, and on some smaller local craft that kind of construction can still be found.

The Dhow was developed over many centuries as a trading vessel, carrying cargo east as far as China by way of Sri Lanka and the Straits of Malacca, bringing goods to and from Alexandria via the Red Sea, thus connecting the Roman Empire with the Han Dynasty in China. The Arab trade routes also extended south to Zanzibar in Africa. Some sources claim that the very earliest craft were trading along similar coastal routes in the Indian Ocean as early as 3,000 B.C. These craft eventually developed into the Dhow as we know it today.

With the triangular Lateen sail, the Dhow could out-sail the square rigged craft of the Mediterranean, and better navigate the contrary winds of the Red Sea. With knowledge of navigating by the stars passed down from the Egyptians, the use of the magnetic compass learned from the Chinese, and the stern mounted rudder of the Chinese Junks, the Dhow was well equipped to dominate the Indian Ocean trade routes during the last 2,000 years.

Thus, the Arab merchants must be given due credit, having made longer voyages than Columbus nearly fifteen hundred years before Columbus sailed toward the new world.

The features that distinguish the Dhow are its Lateen or Settee rig, and typically a double ended hull form. Other features that have come to characterize the Dhow are the long raked bow, and the high and relatively upright stern. In some forms such as the Baghala, and the Shuw'i (or Shu Ai) the stern was widened into a massive wide transom often carried right down to the waterline. In other types, the hull was more or less double ended, but often a platform extended over the stern, much like the Indonesian sailing Pinisi (which seems to have been derived from the Dhow in terms of its hull form and structure).


Click for Larger Image

The Dhow as a Yacht

The sailing Dhow shown here has been designed with a new purpose. that of being a spacious and comfortable private charter yacht or luxury yacht for entertaining guests. In the model shown here we have struck a good compromise so that while we do have a transom, we also have a fully double ended hull shape at the waterline. i.e. the best of both types. As such, this design most closely resembles the type of Dhow called the Baghala.

The stern has ample width, and is tucked up high to stay out of trouble in a following sea, a feature common to the sea-going Sambuk types. The aft deck extends beyond the lower transom just enough to house the rudder head, so that a tiller or wheel can be arranged easily. It is common among traditional dhow types to have a rounded stem, which when finished off with the high curved stem timber seems to resemble a scimitar…! Balanced with “davit” boards that extend from the stern, the result is both functional and well balanced.

In terms of its structure, the Dhow is very much the same as the Indonesian sailing Pinisi types, which are outlined on our Pinisi History web page. It is assumed by many that the dhow was in fact the inspiration for the Pinisi craft of Indonesia.

If tradition were to be followed faithfully, the rig for this vessel would be designed in keeping with a typical sailing Dhow, in other words having a Lateen or Settee type of rig. If adaptations are made to allow the rig to be more easily handled, it could be arranged with an A-frame mast so that the yard would not need to be brought around when tacking.

Many drawings of traditional sailing Dhows show the Lateen / Settee rig with a tilted trapezoidally shaped topsail above the main sail. It is not such a far stretch then to imagine there being a few more battens or yards in between, with a single sail arranged in panels between the yards. Essentially, this would become a modified Chinese junk sail having the rakish look of the lateen rig… For this design, three masts arranged this way would work out well, and would preserve the ability of these craft to sail directly off the wind like a square rigged ship as well as to tack through the eye of the wind. The advantage here is that the yards would not need to be man-handled in any way.

Particulars

  • 36 meters Length on Deck (118')
  • 31 meters Loaded WL Length (102')
  • 10.7 meters Moulded Beam (35')
  • 4 meters Loaded Draft (13')
  • 300 metric tons Displacement (290 Imperial long tons)


Sinking of the Lusitania

A dhow is a traditional sailing vessel used in the Mediterranean and Indian Ocean. Typical of low burthen.

The vessels attacked by unsurfaced torpedo launches tended to be steam vessels.

Obviously a dhow can be used for military purposes but the odds being lower the rules are different in the proportionate effort to warn and evacuate the crew and passengers. Proportionality is an important consideration in customary law and this applies to the rules of war.

Contraband cargo is only an issue for neutral shipping, the commercial vessels of the enemy with certain specified exceptions such as fishing or scientific vessels were forfeit as enemy property already. Convention (XI) relative to certain Restrictions with regard to the Exercise of the Right of Capture in Naval War. The Hague, 18 October 1907. Again the reason for listing exceptions the one I have linked to is based in type there is also a convention noting exceptions based on that enemy merchant shipping might be exempt based on absence of notification of hostilities, is that commercial vessels are not immune to seizure or destruction.

Cruiser rules applies under a particular set of circumstances dealing with unescorted vessels on the high seas or unprotected coastal waters. It does not remove a warship's rights to utilise force when subject to force or the threat of force.

Chlodio

A dhow is a traditional sailing vessel used in the Mediterranean and Indian Ocean. Typical of low burthen.

The vessels attacked by unsurfaced torpedo launches tended to be steam vessels.

Obviously a dhow can be used for military purposes but the odds being lower the rules are different in the proportionate effort to warn and evacuate the crew and passengers. Proportionality is an important consideration in customary law and this applies to the rules of war.

Contraband cargo is only an issue for neutral shipping, the commercial vessels of the enemy with certain specified exceptions such as fishing or scientific vessels were forfeit as enemy property already. Convention (XI) relative to certain Restrictions with regard to the Exercise of the Right of Capture in Naval War. The Hague, 18 October 1907. Again the reason for listing exceptions the one I have linked to is based in type there is also a convention noting exceptions based on that enemy merchant shipping might be exempt based on absence of notification of hostilities, is that commercial vessels are not immune to seizure or destruction.

Cruiser rules applies under a particular set of circumstances dealing with unescorted vessels on the high seas or unprotected coastal waters. It does not remove a warship's rights to utilise force when subject to force or the threat of force.

RandomRodent

I am saying it is not as simple as that. If a vessel is carrying a cargo even of munitions (to differentiate from troops) and is unable to defend itself and is unprotected the customary usage of war requires it must be approached and warned. If a vessel is conducting some form of war making activity then it may be destroyed without warning. If a vessel is able to defend itself to a degree sufficient to harm a warship or is protected by warships or shore batteries it may be destroyed without warning.

Now the German argument appears to be that surfaced submarines were subject to the threat of ramming, the counter argument being that ramming was in fact remarkably difficult to pull off (except against friendly vessels on manoeuvres I know of one German vessel and one British vessel than managed to sink a friendly vessel on exercise).

However looking at the Dardanelles situation in detail we see different tactics were applied depending on the situation and target. This would correspond with an attempt to remain within the laws of war. So far neither of us have turned up Ottoman correspondence nor German nor Allied nor neutral (yes I have been steadily widening my search parameters) that anyone felt otherwise at the time. Now an inability to turn it up currently does not constitute proof that none such exists, however so far as we know the Ottomans felt Allied usage was consistent with the rules of war and the Germans likewise failed to cite it as justification under the laws of retaliation.


Watch the video: Oman - Traditional dhow sailing vessel building