dreams

eached my planned milestone of 15 km, in 2h 55′, or 5.14 km/h in average. I’ve been able to increase my sustained – speed considerably from last measured numbers at 4.4 km/h: revised my paddling techniques, learned a bit about the current, wind and especially the tide, changed to a slightly heavier but narrower boat with greater water – piercing power and lower windage. With the progress made so far, I’m confident to say that my 25 kilometres projected target is foreseeable beyond the horizon! 😀 But apart from those numbers, the best things are many beautiful scenes and interesting encounters on my paddling ways, one of which I would really want to tell below!

I came across this fishing boat which is frequently anchored in a calm river corner, and something on its stern immediately catches my eyes (click on the below images to see larger versions, you could have noticed a big model boat at aft). Feeling curious, I knocked on the wooden planks, an old men, perhaps in his late 60s or early 70s appeared. We then had an interesting talk, about – an – hour – long, on everything: boating, fishing, the tide, life on rivers… (pity that I hold on too much to our conversation and forgot to shoot him a picture). The man lives on the boat with his wife, and they do fishing on rivers and canals, roaming from place to place, pretty much anywhere in the Mekong delta.

Then, all of a sudden, the man proposed me to try a kind of crab claw sail onto my kayak, then he talked about sailing, I saw passion sparkled in his eyes. He talked about the “good old days” of sail, then he talked about ghe nang, its unique system of daggerboard. The conversation went on to everything about sailing and rigging. The man then explained a bit about his model boat, made out of pieces of foam, glued together and painted outside, the big fishing vessel in his dreams. Everyone has a dream, even this poor, 70 year old man! When I show this photo and recount part of the story to some of my friends, they all indifferently reply in one same way: it’s just a model boat, so what!? 😢

⓵⏎ Ghe nang: a “classic” of Vietnamese traditional boat building, very well admired by ones who got to know it, best described in: The Junk Blue Book – Marion C. Dalby (Vietnamese: Hải thuyền thanh thư) and Voiliers d’Indochine – J.B. Piétri (Vietnamese: Thuyền buồm Đông Dương). Ghe nang has a unique architecture: a light yet durable double ender with wooden upper structure and woven bamboo bottom, a symmetric system of retractable daggerboard at bow’s (and rudder at aft’s) slotted sternposts. Back in its time, the boat is known for its extreme agility (perhaps the best in its tonnage class) and seaworthiness in rough water and difficult weather conditions.

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