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Bluewater Rafting

They say that the first man to cross the river probably used a log, but I’m not so sure. If you’ve ever tried stepping onto a floating log then you’ll know that it’s not easy; as soon as you put a foot aboard, it starts to spin around. Myself, I think that the first palaeolithic sailor used half a dozen logs which he lashed tightly together – and in northern Brazil there are people who still put to sea aboard…

Sugru for Sailors

Do you remember when Blu-Tack was first invented? It completely revolutionised the way we stuck posters and maps and pics on the wall. Well, Sugru is somehow vaguely reminiscent of Blu-Tack, but it’s even better. It’s a kind of modelling-clay come glue which sets to the consistency of a hard rubber and which is so versatile that it can be used to mend almost anything. In fact, it enables us to fix problems that we didn’t even know we had!…

Modern Canoe Building in Brazil

In our last article we introduced you to the dug-out canoes of Bahia. In chapter two of the story of Brazil’s traditional boats we show you how the natives have adapted their boat building methods to cope with modern legislation. In the Bahia de Todos os Santos and in neighbouring Camamu the dug-out canoes are low and narrow – and slow. Even the bigger ones, which accommodate six fishermen, are relatively low and very slow. They are evidently very heavy.…

Dug-Out Canoes on the Bahia

Traditional boats have always been a big passion of mine. They appeal to my interest, as a sailor, in all other watercraft, and they also tickle my perpetual fascination with history. Having now spent three and a half years messing about on the east coast of South America we’ve had the chance to get to know the local boats pretty thoroughly; and certainly I’ve had the chance to compile a vast portfolio of photos of the various craft. Whilst I…

Zen and the Art of Boat Building

Two years – that was how long it had taken us. Looking back, I can hardly believe that we managed to achieve so much in such a short period. In two years we had turned a badly-built, 50 foot hull and deck into a sturdy, seaworthy vessel! However, at the time it did not seem to us that we had achieved anything remarkable; indeed, at the time it felt to us as if we were working with iron balls chained…