Boat Making in Goa

The importance of Goa in sea trade made Goans skilled at ship building and boat making, till today the crafting of Odis or big boats and Poneyleys or canoes is ongoing in the South Goa district of Colva and Palolem; and the North Goa district of Madkai near Ponda. Boats are now utilized by the fisher folk across Goa and by others to transport sand used in construction projects. The tools used are basic and include the axe the big one called Kurad and the small one called Tasani; the Vinney or chisel; the Khalasani or curved chisel; and Hathodi the hammer and sharpening stones. Earlier, oak, pine and corkwood were used to make ships while now the single tree trunk of a mature mono-embryonic mango tree is used for making a sturdy boat as this wood is soft, light and good for carving. The trunk is first leveled (the top is sliced) till the height of the boat is obtained. The pith is scooped out from the trunk, and water is filled in the cavity while the inside of the boat ar not carved so that the wood stays soft. The oars are made from the sliced top. The boat can be rowed with either one or two oars. Once the boat is completely carved the surface is filled and sand papered till it becomes smooth. Then, cashew oil is applied on the surface to waterproof it. The ideal proportions for a boat are : girth of the tree, 7 hands; diameter 1.75 hands; and length, 17 hands, that is, from the tip of the fingers to the elbow. Big boats are kept on planks while under construction.

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