Canoe and Kayak Sailing

canoe and kayak sailing

“In walking you are bounded by every sea and river, and in a common sailing-boat you are bounded by every shallow and shore; whereas, a canoe can be paddled or sailed, or hauled, or carried over land or
water”.

Quoted from “Thousand miles in the Rob Roy Canoe on rivers and lakes of Europe“, MacGregor, 1866.

The use of sailing canoes dates back to ancient Polynesia, when they were used to explore the Pacific Ocean. The technology was popularized in the western world in the 1860s, when Scottisch John MacGregor built sailing canoes and travelled all over Europe.

There’s quite some amateurs building sailing canoes these days: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4. Picture: Outrigger Sailing Canoes.

Floating Grain Mill in Old China

floating grain mill

A Floating Grain Mill on the Hwei River in China (19th/20th century). Source. Previously: “Boat mills: water powered, floating factories“.

Japanese Tub Boats

japanese tub boats

“Taraibune (tub boats) were once found along the Echigo coast of the Sea of Japan and on Sado Island. Now they are used only in six small fishing villages on Sado Island. They have survived to the present because of their low cost and durability.”

“Tub boats are made of local sugi (Japanese cedar) and madake (timber bamboo). The woodwork in a tub boat is not at all beyond the skills of an experienced carpenter, but the braiding of the hoops is now an extremely rare skill.”

“Japanese tub boats are used for nearshore fishing and seaweed collecting. A key tool of the taraibune angler is the glass-bottomed box which is floated alongside the boat. This enables him (or more frequently, her) to clearly see the bottom in shallow water to identify likely prey or harvest. A variety of long-handled tools is trailed behind the boat — to collect the fish, shellfish, or vegetation at hand. Tub boats are propelled facing forward with a paddle, though in one village the men use outboard motors.”

Tub boat“In spite of their ancient appearance, they date from only the middle of the 19th century. Prior to that, dugouts and plank-built boats were used to collect the rich shallow-water sea life around the southern tip of Sado Island, but in 1802 an earthquake changed the area’s topography, opening up a multitude of narrow fissures in the rocks along the shore into which it was impractical or dangerous to take long, narrow boats. Derived directly from the barrels in which miso is brewed, tub boats proved to be adept at navigating these narrow waterways. Indeed, they can be easily spun in their own length.”

More at Douglas Brooks Boatbuilder & Indigenous boats. Previously: The woorden work boats of Indochina.

The Wooden Work Boats of Indochina

The Wooden Work Boats of Indochina

“The wooden work boats of Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos (French Indochina) have a long and fascinating history of sail and trade in South East Asia and beyond. Today, the sails are nearly all gone but the boats and their builders survived by adapting the traditional sailboat hulls for motoring. Our goal is to document the building, design and uses of as many traditional and unique wooden work boats of Southeast Asia as possible before the master craftsmen who build them are gone.”

Great pictures at Boats and Rice. Via Duckworks Magazine. Previously: The Junk Blue Book. More boats.

Barge Haulers on the Volga (1870-1873)

Barge haulers on the volga

Barge haulers on the Volga“, a late 19th century painting by Ilja Repin.

Making a Dugout Canoe Using Stone Tools and Fire

Making a Dugout Canoe Using Stone Tools and Fire

“The Dugout Canoe Project (.pdf) began as an experiment to use traditional Native American technologies. Archaeologists are reliant on just a few ethnohistoric sources that mention how Native Americans made dugout canoes using stone tools and fire. Numerous contemporary examples of dugouts exist, particularly Plimouth Plantation’s Wampanoag Indian Program, made by burning and scraping out logs. However, to the best of our knowledge, no one has attempted to fell a tree using only stone tools and fire. We wanted to see if we could cut down a live tree using these technologies, something that may not have been done in this area for several hundred years.”

“Dugout canoes are probably the first type of boat ever made. People from all over the world made dugouts. They were widely used in North America before the arrival of Europeans. Dugout canoes were made by Native Americans across North and South America for transportation and to hunt fish with a spear, bow and arrows, or with hooks made from antler or bones. In Eastern North America, dugout canoes were typically made from a single log of chestnut or pine. Carefully controlled fires were used to hollow out these logs. The fires were extinguished at intervals to scrape out the burned wood with wood, shell or stone tools, giving the canoes a flat bottom with straight sides.”

Courtesy of the Fruitlands Museum. More posts on primitive technology.

The Junk Blue Book: Indigenous Fishing and Cargo Craft

Vietnamese junk qtbc 1 “The Junk Blue Book of 1962 is a detailed catalog of the indigenous boats of what was then South Vietnam, during a period when most such vessels were still powered by sail. It was a manual put together by the US Dept. of Defense early in the involvement in the war in Vietnam. It was used as a guide to identify coastwise marine traffic involved in smuggling supplies and personnel south into the Republic of Vietnam from then North Vietnam. Although its production was driven by perceived military necessity it is a unique chronicle of the indigenous fishing and cargo craft of the mid and southern Vietnamese coasts.”

The book is in the public domain and can be found on scribd. A pdf-version is available on a dedicated site. Via Indigenous boats. See also: the wooden work boats of Indochina.

Ship mills

Ship mills on the rhine anton woensam

Boat mills: water powered, floating factories” at Low-tech Magazine. Some extra images below:

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Obsolete Technology Prints and Photograph Collections

Tissandier collection

Three wonderful collections from the Library of Congress, showing obsolete technologies.

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Hoisting Coal from Canal Boats with Dederick Machines

Hoisting coal from canal boats 2

“An improvement made by Mr. P. K. Dederick, of Albany, N.Y., was a horse-hoisting machine that very materially reduced the labor of the horse in hoisting. Previous to this, the horse walked forward to hoist a full bucket, and was obliged to back to lower the empty bucket into the hold of the vessel. With most horses, this latter was harder work than hoisting the loaded bucket, while the Dederick machine increased the speed of unloading but little, it reduced the labor of the horse about one-half.”

Quoted from: “Coal handling machinery“, C.W.Hunt Company, 1893.