Histories & Culture
Boat building

Many types of boats have sailed the Gulf seas and Indian Ocean. The "baghla" and the "baqaara" are among the traditional ocean-worthy boats that have been built for centuries. They were used for travel in view of their size and speed.

The "jalibut", and the "sambouk" (a smaller version of the boum), came into use early in the 20th century.

The baghala has a short curved stem-piece and a distinctive square stern set with windows, which are often false.

The boum is a double ended craft. It is likely that the design originated in
Bahrain and spread to other areas such as Oman. It is the largest of the Arabian wooden sailing vessels with tonnage reaching 400 tons and dimensions of 15m to 40m in length and 5-10m in width. The design is characterized by a long straight planked bow-sprit, angled at about 45 degrees.

The sambouk has a low finely tapered bow and a square stern, and two masts. It is one of the most graceful and evocative of Arabian vessels and has been widely used throughout the Gulf. Today sambouks are used as general purpose fishing and trading vessels but they were previously favored for pearling.

The jalibut is more launch-shaped than any of the other design and is characterized by a vertical bow and a straight keel. It is a type of boat most commonly to have an engine.

Before nails were available, the craft were stitched together with huge needles and cord. Although they look fragile they were able to stand strong gales and high seas. Today, builders construct a shell of planks to which the ribs are fitted in sections. Vessels are made by carvel construction - planks are laid flush to each other. While planking is usually of teak imported from India, the ribs are made from trees known as "mit" brought from
Iraq, India or Somalia.