Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Wind instruments, after a fashion

More photos from the hard drive ...

These were in the "Boats" folder. At first, I couldn't figure out how a photo of gulls was filed there. Then I saw it.

Gulls and half a gull. White Rock.

I was waiting for Laurie on the highway bordering the beach in Campbell River three years ago, when I saw this boat, far in the distance. I could barely see it against the light, even squinting through my closed fist, but the camera did better.

It looks like a Chinese junk, with the traditional battened sail, and in traditional red, too. But what is it doing here?
Junks were efficient and sturdy ships that sailed long distances as early as the 2nd century AD. They incorporated numerous technical advances in sail plan and hull designs that were later adopted in Western shipbuilding.
The historian H. Warington Smyth considered the junk one of the most efficient ship designs, stating that "As an engine for carrying man and his commerce upon the high and stormy seas as well as on the vast inland waterways, it is doubtful if any class of vessel… is more suited or better adapted to its purpose than the Chinese or Indian junk, and it is certain that for flatness of sail and handiness, the Chinese rig is unsurpassed."

I had always thought of a junk as a small, one- or at the most two-sailed boat from past centuries, but browsing Google images, and reading a few sites, I realized that the sail is useful even on quite large ships, and has become a favourite of recreational boaters today. And if you are at all interested in boating or boating history, you will find the Wikipedia page fascinating.


  1. what a pretty and fun sighting

    I have to imagine someone who enjoys sailing and woodwork would find this an interesting project.

    With Vancouver being a key movie / TV making spot, you might wonder if it was used in a film.

  2. About the film' that's a possibility I hadn't considered. And they're being produced as sport sailing boats recently, I learned. Intriguing!


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