World of Boats

  • Boat Name: Unknown
  • Boat Use: Fishing
  • Boat Type: Sewn Planked Double-Ender
  • Build Date: 1930’s
  • Country of Origin: Oman
  • Area of Origin: Tarqa, Eastern Oman
  • Boat Dimensions: Length 32 ft 0 in


With all his scientific ingenuity man has not yet succeeded in producing the ideal fastening – that which holds the planks to the frame of the boat or to the next plank. Steel (even stainless) rusts, brass becomes brittle, wood rots, stitches wear and stretch and the more sophisticated alloys are too expensive for practical purposes.

The stitching of the planks is still a method used in India and Ceylon and on some of the Pacific Islands (the proas from Kiribati for example), but it is no longer practised in Europe or the Far East and has never been used in Africa except by Arabs.

The Arabs no longer stitch their boats (this one was derelict) but for those that do, terylene and nylon are good substitutes for coconut twine – the original material used in this boat.

To allow for errors in fitting, the ‘working’ of the boat, the stretch of the twine and the shrinking and swelling of the planks, the Arab boatbuilder incorporates padding inside the boat, held in position by the stitching itself.

The dhow ‘Sohar’, used by Tim Severin for his epic voyage to China (‘The Sinbad Voyage’) was built in Oman and was stitched in exactly the same way as this boat.


This fishing boat was found by Commander Alec Tilly who arranged for its repair and shipping to England and we are again extremely grateful to P&OCL; for bringing it freight-free to England.

User Comments


See also «A note on a sewn canoe in use at Gao, the Republic of Mali. Timothy Insoll. Department of Archaeology, University of Cambridge»

Robin Stobbs

Sewn boats are still made in the Maldives. African sewn boats were the ‘type’ and the ‘dau la type’ – these were of Swahili origin, not Arab?