View Full Version : 9 Foot Carvel Pram Dinghy.
10-29-2004, 11:06 AM
I fished one out of the CausewayBay Typhoon Shelter today. Nine foot of a length, traditionally built, it is planked with inch thick teak on sawn frames. The centers run every 8 inches or so, all the way to solid transoms. There are a set of floorboards as well.
A year or so ago, the owner wanted HK$4000, or US$500 @ for it. She was sitting pretty then, on a floating pontoon made of wooden beams and empty plastic bottles. Today when I returned, she was submerged and a home to small fish. As my friend Ah Sing, a shelter boatman, began to bail her, she rose to the surface covered in black moss, stinking but intact. I had got her for HK$500 or US$65!
I have yet to see a solid planked pram dinghy in HK and I would like to know how common is this type of vessel abroad. I am hoping that it is locally built. Thanks.
[ 10-29-2004, 12:25 PM: Message edited by: Jerry Sousa ]
Pram in shape but not pram in construction and teak. The description sounds to me like a Chinese boat, either a Chinese design or a Chinese version of the Nordic classic. Good job. Pictures?
10-29-2004, 05:34 PM
Construction sounds like a yachtified version of a "three plank boat", Jerry! Must surely be very heavy?
10-30-2004, 02:30 AM
To my eye, and I've still not seen her out of the water, she's built to a "Western" design, nothing really Chinese about her. I would guess that, due to her scantlings and materials she was built locally some twenty or so years back, simply because they don't build boats out of such good wood to such high standards anymore. I would think that she is a one-off, custom build for a "discerning gent", as a boat seller might put it. Interestingly, she has two sets of oarlock holders. And yes Andrew, she is heavy!
All small wooden boats have some design and technology elements in common and I too have noticed some similarities between the Norwegian pram and the Chinese sampan. However simple the craft may be though, national and regional differences do exist and their characteristics and nomenclature should be maintained as accurately as possible. After all, we already use the word dinghy (a Bengali word for a small type of Indian boat), to describe small boats used as tenders, in general.
I think that the final diagnostic of a boat's provenance ought to be it's shape not it's construction. Thad pretty much got it- "pram in shape, but not pram in construction and teak".
But when Andrew states "sounds like a yachtified version of a "three plank boat", he is alluding to something which the Chinese do very well, which is to modify something of theirs to suit the taste of foreigners!
We might draw an analogy when we look at chinese food available in the United States. Some of what passes as chinese food only appears in America, like 'chop suey' for instance, (and would'nt that make a lovely name for this little boat!). The dish might be made by Chinese in a chinese restaurant but it's not chinese food, at least it's not traditional chinese food.
Anyway, there is something about the lines of a sampan which mark it out as distinctly Chinese, though that too is gradually becoming less traditional with the passing of time.
I shall ask Capt. Ho (retired), what he thinks of the boat. Ah Sing introduced me to him yesterday and it was with his tender that we towed my boat back to his fleet of craft. He had a three foot model of a junk on his boat which he had built himself. He told me that he started out his working life building sampans in a shipyard in Kowloon. He was interested in my plans for a boat shop on Lantau island, so after we lashed the boat securely, we all went for a jolly to Tai O!
10-30-2004, 06:08 PM
Jerry I think you have perhaps taken custody of the smallest lorcha in captivity!
She sounds absolutely fascinating.
There's a chap in the yard near my house who is refitting a small "motor junk" - the ordinary Hong Kong pleasure boat - which was brought to England from Hong Kong and exhibited at an early London Boat Show, in the late 50's or early 60's.
Two things struck me at once - the quality of build is much higher than one commonly sees now and she is much more "Chinese". Very large lumps of teak, hewn to shape...
11-01-2004, 11:17 AM
She's in Tai O now. The transport cost's were triple the price of the boat! My PC's acting up or I'd go on for a bit long...
11-02-2004, 09:44 AM
Uncanny or wot! Who should call me up this afternoon, the day after I pulled a boat out of the Shelter but Ah Kwun, whom I had'nt heard from and lost touch with, for over one year! (I had bought my first wooden boat from him some three years back, from his yard at the back of the shelter. It was good to hear his voice again.)
That's the magic of the Causeway Bay Typhoon Shelter for you.
[ 11-02-2004, 11:10 AM: Message edited by: Jerry Sousa ]
11-03-2004, 05:30 AM
I often think of the story you told me of the two missionary ladies, 1942-5.
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