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On sailing a dhow at sunset, Marlin Lodge

We've been in Mozambique for six days, and Marlin Lodge is stunning. Twice we went on a dhow cruise near sunset. The dhow is a traditional Arabic sailboat with a large lateen (triangular) sail and simple rigging (one halyard, one sheet). They have no keel: heeling is controlled by moving the passengers and/or sacks of ballast. The cruises are provided by the local islanders, in locally owned boats in which the mast looks improvised and sails are patched together from bits of tarpaulin and other material:

dhowSail.jpg

Our first skipper was all of 16 years old (his crew a year younger) and the teamwork whereby they handle these heavy, keel-less boats is most impressive. The rig is much more efficient on one tack than the other (where the sail presses against the mast). For our later trip, I had worked out how to get on helm, right across Flamingo Bay as it turned out. This photograph is significant as it is husband Keir's very first image taken with the Leica-lensed Panasonic Lumix camera that I used on safari:

dhowJM.jpg

To see how wonderfully elegant these boats are under sail, and why sunset is the best time to enjoy them, words are inadequate, so here's another image.

dhowSunset.jpg

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on October 20, 2008 12:56 PM.

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