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Thread: Vietnamese boats

  1. #1
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    Default Vietnamese boats

    My work takes me to many different parts of Vietnam so I thought I'd post some pictures of the variety of boats that I've come across over the last couple of years. They're not all great boats but some are, I think. A few weeks ago a forum member was also expressing interest in working sampans. I'm not sure how many of these would qualify as sampans but I'm sure they're close. If there's a bit of interest, I'll post a few from each area every few days or so. These are from Hai Phong, an area just south of Ha Long Bay in the north of Vietnam:







    This last one has a hull of woven bamboo sealed with tar. These are common around Ha Long in this oval shape and with the wooden frame on top. This one is in the channel between Hai Phong and Cat Ba Island, which forms the southern edge of Ha Long Bay. The boat above it belongs to one of many floating villages off Cat Ba Island. These raft villages consist almost entirely of floating fish farms. The fishing boats mainly catch fish, squid and so on to use for food for the fish grown in the farms. Rick
    Last edited by RFNK; 05-13-2009 at 11:59 PM.

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    Default Re: Vietnamese boats





    This little school doesn't really qualify as a wooden boat I guess but I thought some of you might be interested in it anyway. It's often too rough and usually too expensive for these raft village children to travel into the town of Cat Ba to attend school so this little `satellite' school was set up to ensure that these children attend school at least 4 times per week. Rick
    Last edited by RFNK; 05-13-2009 at 10:17 PM.

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    Default Re: Vietnamese boats

    I've seen boats like your first example in the Philippines - used by refugees and then abandoned.
    IMAGINES VEL NON FUERINT

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    Default Re: Vietnamese boats

    From China and Vietnam I'd guess Andrew? Rick

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    Default Re: Vietnamese boats

    Specifically Vietnam - although in the second wave (post -79) of boat people they did tend to be ethnically Chinese!

    What struck me is how long the abandoned boats survived in a tropical climate.

    Many more of them are at the bottom of the South China Sea as many more refugees were picked up at sea (and the boat either abandoned or sunk as a hazard)
    IMAGINES VEL NON FUERINT

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    Default Re: Vietnamese boats

    The basic control when I was last there was that you needed written government permission to purchase a marine engine, and permission to install it in a boat.....
    Wakan Tanka Kici Un
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    Default Re: Vietnamese boats

    I thought of this: www.vietnamboats.org

    I know that the founder of this group died not long ago in an accident on a local highway. But the site is still running and they have a lot of links and info.
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    Default Re: Vietnamese boats

    Thanks Bob. I wasn't aware of this site or the foundation. Very interesting! Rick

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    Default Re: Vietnamese boats

    Great pictures, Rick. This promises to be a great thread.


    Steven

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    Default Re: Vietnamese boats

    Here's a couple taken at the National Maritime Museum - at the Sydney Woodenboat Festival in 2004. I'm fairly sure (hey, this was five years ago) that these are both boats used by Vietnamese refugees fleeing to Oz.



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    Default Re: Vietnamese boats

    Thank you for the photos Rick.

    Please keep them coming.

    Rufus.

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    Default Re: Vietnamese boats

    I'm fairly sure (hey, this was five years ago) that these are both boats used by Vietnamese refugees fleeing to Oz.
    Thanks Ian. I remember seeing these boats at that show too and I think you're right that these were used by Vietnamese or possibly Cambodian refugees. I'm pretty sure though that the second boat (at least) isn't Vietnamese - it looks more like an Indonesian style of boat - maybe someone else with more knowledge of SE Asian boats will chip in here? Rick

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    Default Re: Vietnamese boats

    I can't find much info on the anmm.gov.au site. They list the Tu Do - which I'm pretty sure is that first photo I posted



    When Tu Do arrived in Darwin, NT, on 21 November 1977, the 31 Vietnamese refugees crowded on board hoped for a better life in Australia - symbolised by the vessel's name, 'Freedom'. 'Boat -people' often fled the turmoil of Indochina in simple coastal fishing craft like this one, unsuited to the long ocean voyage. Those on Tu Do were lucky - evading pirates in the gulf of Thailand and surviving violent storms at sea.
    Tu Do has elements of traditional junk hull construction. The museum located the late Tan Thanh Lu who built the boat to escape Vietnam with his family. He and his family have provided advice on restoring Tu Do to its appearance when it arrived in Darwin.
    Length: 19.4 m
    Beam: 5.2 m
    Draft: 1.8 m
    Propulsion: Jinil 3JDM diesel, 34kW
    Construction: Carvel planked on sawn frames and planked /bulkheads using local Vietnamese timbers
    Last edited by The Bigfella; 05-14-2009 at 01:21 AM.
    Carpe the living sh!t out of the Diem

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    Default Re: Vietnamese boats

    Thanks again Ian. I'll bet you're right about your first photo being the Tu Do (pronounce that one as doo zaw) - I didn't realise it was a photo of just the forward section before - duh! It's interesting reading the commentary by the museum about the unsuitability of these boats for ocean voyages. The South China Sea's coasts have been almost depleted of fish so boats that still look pretty much like this one are venturing further and further out in search of fish these days, spending weeks at sea. You have to wonder how many are lost each time there's a typhoon or other major storm. The numbers would have to be high but, on the other hand, very, very many of these boats have survived the typhoons at sea too. Rick

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    Default Re: Vietnamese boats

    Sorry Rick. I didn't realise I had a full hull shot.... here she is in the background

    Carpe the living sh!t out of the Diem

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    Default Re: Vietnamese boats


    Very much Indonesian Rick and thanks for the photos ...I know very little of Vietnam .
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    Default Re: Vietnamese boats



    I think you might be wrong on this one Ian, didn't the museum aquire this one from the Mollucca Islands or somewhere ?
    At the age of 62 I have come to realise that you can't breed out stupidity.

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    Default Re: Vietnamese boats

    Whatever the case... these are great pictures and it's nice to learn a bit more about this stuff.

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    Default Re: Vietnamese boats

    Dunno guys... it was 2004, and I just wandered by with a camera. Don't want to drift Ricks thread. It isn't shown on their site now.
    Carpe the living sh!t out of the Diem

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  20. #20
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    Default Re: Vietnamese boats

    Well, as promised, every now and again I'll post some more pictures of Vietnamese boats. These are all from Mui Ne, a cape just north of Phan Thiet on the South-Central Coast, between Nha Trang and Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon). This fleet is quite large but there are many of this size in VN. The fleet just down the coast at Phan Thiet would rival this one for size. Nearly all these boats are operational. When flying into these areas with large fishing fleets at night, you get the impression of flying over a city of lights until you realize the lights are too evenly spaced to be on land - they're boats out at sea. From the beach at Mui Ne or Da Nang, or many other places, the horizon out to sea glows at night from the number of boats, again giving the impression of a city out there. The bamboo boats in the south always seem to be sealed with lacquer rather than the tar or pitch that is more common in the north. Boats on the central and southern coasts always have the eyes painted on the bow - there are various explanations for this but the `so the boat can find the way home' explanation seems to be the most consistent. I do suspect there's a deeper meaning but I haven't quite got there yet! Rick





    Last edited by RFNK; 05-17-2009 at 11:27 AM.

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    Default Re: Vietnamese boats







    Chao tam biet!

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    Default Re: Vietnamese boats

    thanks RFNK
    My sampan is coming along.
    just put the frames in and the plankings at the turn of the bilge. I have been dithering on some detail's but those have now been done. since I am using my old shop scrap for the build planking has been somewhat slow mostly because i have narrow widths. the next 4 planks are 8 inches wide so it will move pretty quick now.

    so far the sampan has cost me 300$ in a couple planks that o wanted wide and full length (garboards), and SS screws.
    its a fun project.

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    Default Re: Vietnamese boats

    I went looking for the specifics of a book I remembered (exact title and author) that might be of interest to those contributing to or following this thread - "The Junks and Sampans of the Yangtze," by G.R.G. Worcester. You can find it used via most of the online book vendors, although it's become very pricey.
    Last edited by Wiley Baggins; 05-20-2009 at 10:37 AM. Reason: Removing redundancy

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    Default Re: Vietnamese boats

    Hello gentlemen,

    It has been a long time since I last "came" here, but I shall not complain about being (still) busy - hence my few visits - since I actually came to see if anyone was talking about the so many recent bankruptcies of yards and boat equipment suppliers, the catastrophic situation in which we are in the whole yachting (an shipping!) world: Royal Denship, Jongert, Couach, Boater's World: all gone! Feretti and Rodriguez almost down, as well as Beneteau.... ..and so many large shipyards...

    But then I stumbled on RFNK's thread. Thanks for posting these pretty pictures! I specially like the one of the boat with the green deck!

    The fishing/ boatbuilding industry is severely hit here too. As RFNK mentionned: there has been such an overfishing, not only by vietnamese fisherman (whose main mistake is to fish too small fish) but also by large foreign fleets that have in a very short time depleted the offshore waters of the reproducers! Now, most of the boats you see on RFNK's pictures are....house boats! There is practically no new wooden boat building in the whole country now, and even repair yards close down as boat owners cannot afford repairs.

    In Mui Ne though, as he mentionned, and other places, many are still active, and the night horizon is just a line of lights! Alas far from what it was just ten years ago...

    I shall definitely come back to post her whenever I have some time in hand, as it seems to draw interest. There is a LOT to say about Vietnam boats. See you guys

    RNFK: send me a PM with your contacts, please.

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    Default Re: Vietnamese boats

    Re: the eyes at the bow. I read somewhere (a Tom Colvin book?) that fishermen painted eyes that looked down into the sea so the boat could find the fish. Other vessels have them looking forward so as to avoid navigational hazards. When I painted the eyes on my Gazelle I followed the latter practice.
    Goat Island Skiff and Simmons Sea Skiff construction photos here:

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    Default Re: Vietnamese boats

    Very interesting thread. Please keep the photos coming.

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    Default Re: Vietnamese boats

    Thank you for the photos and comments. It is inspiring to see how little it actually takes to be on the water.

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    Default Re: Vietnamese boats

    While my work takes me all over Vietnam, I nevertheless spend most of my time in and around Hanoi. Hanoi is surrounded by water, as it's located in the Red River Delta, and, as it's low-lying and flat, there are many ponds and lakes - all shallow. There aren't too many wooden boats around Hanoi but there are many boats, so I hope these are interesting at least. I'll top this up in a day or two as there are some interesting barges I want to add but I want to find out what they're actually made from first!

    In spring, the lotuses begin to bloom so te lotus blossom collectors go to work each morning collecting the flowers in these little woven bamboo boats. They paddle them with little paddles that look life ping-pong bats or just push along with a pole:



    The entire Red River Delta has barges like these shifting sand, gravel and clay around. The Me Kong Delta is full of wooden barges but nearly all the barges I've seen in the Red River are steel. Samuel Plimsoll may not be too impressed with some of the loading practices. While the river is generally free of waves, the current can be really severe so you really have to wonder about these tolerances.








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    Default Re: Vietnamese boats

    The sampan communities in the Red River Delta lead very tough lives. The river floods nearly every year but also dries out a lot each year too, leaving these people stranded in bywaters surrounded by putrid mud.





    The ferries that cross the many branches of the delta are gradually being replaced by a network of huge bridges but there are still a few around.



    And, Vietnam, being a romantic place, has lots of these swan boats. They're not wooden either - sorry, but they are quite nice ... Rick


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    Default Re: Vietnamese boats

    Those laden barges are a nightmare waiting to happen - and it would happen rapidly....

    I remember being in a 16' boat in Vanuatu and I couldn't see enough to count everyone on board, but it was at least 25 of us.....
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    Hi Rick. I just love that rudder. The guard over the prop must be in case someone falls off the stern.
    ..don't judge a man till you've walked a mile in his shoes..

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    Default Re: Vietnamese boats

    There's quite a big wooden boatyard in Vung Tau. I'll send some photos from there in the next edition.

    As seen all over SE Asia, the waterways are pretty much clogged up with debris, old nets, vines, water plants etc. so prop. guards are common to prevent entanglement and damage. Throughout SE Asia you also see boats with the engine and prop. shaft mounted on a swivelling hinge on the transom so that the prop. and shaft can be lifted quickly over any obstacle. I'll include plenty of shots of this arrangement too.

    Rick

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    Default Re: Vietnamese boats

    As mentioned in the last lot of photos, here are some Hanoi barges. They're mostly made of cement - I thought perhaps ferro-cement at first but the `restoration project' in the first photo suggests to me that there probably isn't much ferro! I suspect the framing/reinforcing is mostly timber and bamboo. Some of the barges are steel.

    These barges carry ceramics (mostly pots) from villages just downstream from Hanoi to the river bank in the photos. This bank serves as a warehouse through the year, building up a very large stock of pots and other ceramics which are sold off just before Tet (Vietnamese New Year). Some of the stock is sold through the year as well - most visitors to Hanoi will have seen people with huge baskets of ceramics making their way on bicycles into the city each morning from this area in the north of the city, and then plying their way back again, seemingly with the same heavy load, each evening.

















    Vung Tau boatyard next time. Rick
    Last edited by RFNK; 06-03-2009 at 11:29 AM.

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    Default Re: Vietnamese boats

    After boring you all with cement barges and fibreglass pedal boats, I thought I'd better get back to some wooden boats. These are at Vung Tau - a large city at the mouth of the Me Kong, about an hour's fast ferry ride from Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon). The shots are nearly all from one of several boatyards in Vung Tau. My wife says this boatyard reminds her of our front yard in Australia ... Rick












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    Default Re: Vietnamese boats

    VT continued .....






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    Default Re: Vietnamese boats

    These shots were taken in and around Hoi An, a small town just south of Da Nang. The Japanese occupied Hoi An during previous centuries so it's possible that the boats have some Japanese features. I selected these boats for this set of pictures as 2 Metre Troll seems to be looking for ideas for the sampan he's building at the moment. Hopefully these will be of some use. Hoi An's a popular tourist spot so I'd expect some forum members may be familiar with it.












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    Default Re: Vietnamese boats









    Not sure where to next time but I hope some of you enjoy these. Rick

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    Great Rick ! I would love to visit there
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    Default Re: Vietnamese boats

    Love it rick please keep them coming.
    i dont know how close you want to get but i personally would like to see some of the construction of the sampans and small boats. the pics so far are filling in lots of blanks that i had from the research but as always there is more questions than i have answers for.

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    Default Re: Vietnamese boats

    I'll see what I've got. I'm going to Oz in a couple of weeks for a couple of months so if I don't already have any, there'll be a bit of a wait. Rick

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    Default Re: Vietnamese boats

    cool thanks a million for what you have posted as is.

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    Default Re: Vietnamese boats

    Mainly for the benefit of 2MT, here are some shots from all over Vietnam showing small boat detail. Hopefully this will be helpful.










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    Default Re: Vietnamese boats






  44. #44
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    Default Re: Vietnamese boats

    The shape painted on the bows of most. Is that an eye, for decoration and for the boat to be able to see in the fog?
    Or does it hold some spiritual purpose ?
    ..don't judge a man till you've walked a mile in his shoes..

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    Default Re: Vietnamese boats

    It's more common in the south and central parts of VN than the north. I've been told two main things. Firstly, that it ensures the boat can find the way back home (most plausible in my opinion). Secondly, so the boat can see where to go. I don't think it's really spiritual as such but I think it has spiritual/animistic origins. i think it's likely now just a tradition that has a superstitious side to it - it's inviting bad luck not to follow this tradition. There's an area north of Nha Trang where the eyes are round rather than eye-shaped. I was told this is an expression of affinity with the whales sometimes seen in that area. Rick

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    Default Re: Vietnamese boats

    great Rick thanks. gives me a bunch of better info. the "ribs" in most pics seem to be in groupings of two.

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    Default Re: Vietnamese boats

    Happy to see that you keep posting these nice photos, RFNK! You love taking pictures and do it well!

    Those interested in the boats built in this country may wonder what is the long piece of wood seen extending the stem of this vessel and as well the big groove in the stern of this upside-down one.





    These is one of the most remarkable inventions by ancient Vietnam boat-builders (of the central Vietnam Area). The long piece of wood slides in a groove cut in the curved stem-piece, seen on this picture
    ,
    and acts, when down, as a centerboard (or should we say a "fore-board"???), the curve of the stem forbidding it to rotate, while the rudder also used to slide down from the big groove in the stern, which is straight. These two, acting togethre, allowed to reduce leeway while also equilibrating the boat under sail as needed, and could both be lifted up when arriving on shallows or of course beaching.

    Now, all these boats are fitted with engines and only a few keep the "fore-board" up, more for aesthetic reasons than practical purposes, and the old wooden rudder has been changed for an ugly all steel one moved aft to give way to the prop.

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    Default Re: Vietnamese boats

    and acts, when down, as a centerboard (or should we say a "fore-board"???), the curve of the stem forbidding it to rotate, while the rudder also used to slide down from the big groove in the stern, which is straight. These two, acting togethre, allowed to reduce leeway while also equilibrating the boat under sail as needed, and could both be lifted up when arriving on shallows or of course beaching.
    Thanks for that Luke - I had no idea what these features were all about. It would be great to see this arrangement in action. The next time I'm around Da Nang or thereabouts I'll see if I can have a chat about this with some of the old timers. I'm in Australia for a while at present but will be back in VN in a few weeks. Once back I'll post some more pictures - I'm focussing on my own boatbuilding efforts at home for now! Rick

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    Default Re: Vietnamese boats

    Back in the crazy city (Ha Noi) for a while now so I thought I'd better get busy again with the VN boats travelogue. This is Nha Trang, probably my favourite city in VN:





    These little skiffs are common around Nha Trang. They're made of aluminium sections riveted together and sealed with some sort of tar or lacquer. The little yellow one has a great shape IMHO but, although the other one makes quite a nice picture, it seems a bit wonky to me:







    Of course, the need for antifouling etc. is universal, isn't it?



    Last edited by RFNK; 09-17-2009 at 09:13 AM.

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    Default Re: Vietnamese boats

    The bow of this little green fishing boat is as blunt as it appears. I watched a builder about 2 hours north of Nha Trang planking one of these but, unfortunately, I had no camera with me! It really is amazing how they get these planks to bend around such a tight curve. The planks were green but I saw no sign of steaming. However, I couldn't stay to really find out how they do it - maybe another time:






    It's all about fishing, of course. Each morning there are little markets set up around the harbour and there's always great competition to buy the first fresh fish:






    Me Kong Delta's southern edges next time! Rick
    Last edited by RFNK; 09-18-2009 at 03:27 AM.

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