Please select your home edition
Edition
Hoppes 728x90 Discover a Hopper lifestyle

Another ancient sailing ship to set forth

by Nadim Kawach,Emirates Business/Sail-World on 12 Jan 2010
Jewel of Muscat in her first sea trials SW
When 15 Omani sailors set sail from the port of Muscat next month, it will mark the beginning of yet another attempt to recreate the journeys of hundreds, sometimes thousands, of years ago.

In other examples of what seems to be becoming a world-wide trend, the Phoenicia, an ancient replica of an Egyptian sailing vessel, is currently circumnavigating Africa, and last year a Chinese vessel, the Princess Tai Ping was tragically split in two when just one day from completing a double trans-Pacific crossing when it was hit head-on by a cargo ship.

In the new effort, the ninth century wooden square-rigged sailing ship will be heading for Singapore. It has been modelled on the famous Tang Treasure ship that sank in the Indian Ocean while laden with gold and other precious items belonging to the old Chinese Tang dynasty.

The 18-metre long Jewel of Muscat, a reconstructed ninth century sewn-plank ship, has started sailing in the Sea of Oman on the first sea trials ahead of its formal voyage to Singapore towards the end of February.

The sailing vessel is scheduled to start its journey across the Indian Ocean with transit stops along the western coast of India and other south Asian countries. It will keep to ancient trade routes and stop in India, Sri Lanka and Malaysia before arriving in Singapore five months later, where it will be given as a gift from Oman to the people of Singapore.

'Singapore is one of Oman's oldest trading partners. Jewel of Muscat will be displayed in Singapore to highlight the awareness of the old trade routes between the two countries,' Badr bin Hamoud Al Busaeedi, Director-General of the Omani Foreign Ministry, said at a launch ceremony this week.

He said Jewel of Muscat was modelled on the wreckage of the ninth-century Tang Treasure ship that was carrying more than 60,000 pieces of Chinese ceramics, silver and gold artefacts, spices and other commodities. 'The idea of this was inspired from the Tang Treasure that was discovered in 1998 in Indonesian waters… it took us about 12 months to construct this vessel, which represents an important Omani cultural and heritage initiative,' he said. To reconstruct the vessel, a 1,200-year-old method of sewing the hull planks together with handmade coconut-fibre rope was used to make the vessel extremely resilient. No nail or screw was used during the process of shaping the first plank for hoisting the palm-leaf sails that were woven in Qantab.

Captain Saleh Al Jabri, who will co-head the mission, will soon begin the sailing process by testing the two steering systems. He is a former instructor with Oman Sail and second in command of the training ship, Shabab Oman.

The first sea trial of the Jewel went well, but the captain admits there is still much work to be done to prepare her for her voyage.

'All our efforts have paid off; Jewel of Muscat is a magnificent initiative and an authentic symbol of Oman's heritage. She is now all set for her sea trial and as her captain I am really looking forward to steering her along the old trade routes from Muscat to Singapore via India and Malaysia, just as our forefathers did.' According to the Singapore Tourism Board (STB), the Tang Treasure shipwreck which was discovered in 1998 contained rare and well-preserved pieces of stoneware, and centuries-old gold and silver pieces including the largest Tang dynasty gold cup and an exquisitely decorated silver flask.

Later uncovered by professional salvage divers, the 22-metre long traditional vessel provides strong evidence to suggest that the early Chinese seafarers were trading in items that suited the global market more than 1,000 years ago. The treasure was purchased by the Sentosa Leisure Group in 2005 and is on loan to the STB.

The sailing ship, constructed on a beach in the Omani town of Qantab, is made from Afzelia african timber from Ghana. The planks are are sewn together with coconut fibre and must fit perfectly to ensure that the ship is watertight. The wood is protected by a layer of goat fat mixed with lime.

'The Tang Shipwreck Treasure is a priceless find that provides firm archaeological evidence of the existence of a maritime Silk Route between the East and the West via Southeast Asia centuries ago,' the Board said in a statement.

'Behind the artefacts is a story that needs to be told – one of how people lived and traded in the early days, how they interacted with people of other lands. It also has a special meaning for Singapore, which has a long and distinguished maritime history being strategically located at the cross-roads of maritime trade routes and home to the treasure.'

During the journey the crew will use 9th century navigation techniques, reaching Singapore by June 2010. The project is jointly funded by Singapore and Oman.

NRC Marinepests -728x90px-BOTTOMGul 2020 FOOTERBoatSecure Banner Bottom Ad 1 - 728x90

Related Articles

Star class makes dramatic return for Tokyo 2021
Surprise reinstatement in the Olympic sailing competition With the Tokyo Olympics being delayed for a year, a little-known clause in the World Sailing Constitution has been activated, leading to reinstatement of the Star class in the Olympic sailing competition.
Posted today at 12:00 am
America's Cup: Far-off dream but a great challenge
'We will come through this and we will all be stronger for it' - Ben Ainslie “We will come through this and we will all be stronger for it. At times like these we all need a light at the end of the tunnel and, for us, that's the America's Cup.”
Posted on 31 Mar
Doyle Sails News - March/April 2020 Review
Doyle Sails News - March/April 2020 Review covering all the latest updates on racing and cruising Doyle Sails News - March/April 2020 Review looking at the Hugo Boss campaigns, more on Doyle's Structured Luff technology, Cruising Code sails, visit Doyle Sails Palma and an update from the Superyacht Challenge Antigua and more.
Posted on 31 Mar
Olympic postponement creates new challenges
Latest Sail-World newsletter from David Schmidt in the USA After much debate, hand-wringing, and tough decision-making, the International Olympic Committee and the Japanese organizers of the XXXII Olympiad have announced that the Tokyo 2020 Olympics will be postponed by one year due to the novel coronavirus.
Posted on 31 Mar
21 knots upwind in a Moth!
Amazing on-board video from Dylan Fletcher sailing in December Back in the depths of December Dylan Fletcher was learning how to hike and sit out at over 21 knots upwind in training on Portland Harbour. This video taken from the bowsprit shows just how extreme this is...
Posted on 31 Mar
The crème of UK dinghy racing virtually set
For live eSailing demonstration event On Wednesday 1st April at 15:00, the RYA and YachtsandYachting.com will be hosting a 'live' eSailing demonstration event. Attracting the crème of UK dinghy racing talent, the event promises to be a real showdown in virtual and tactical skills.
Posted on 31 Mar
Over 30 Young 88 racers continue racing online
Virtual Regatta now hosting a 10 race virtual regatta for 40 skippers The Young 88 Owners Association have been exploring options to fill the gap whilst we can't get out on the water with a 40 yacht regatta comprising two fleets of 20 to face off before a finals series.
Posted on 31 Mar
Video: SSANZ Round the North Island full doco.
All of the action and reactions from on and off the water in the SSANZ Round the North Island Relive all the moments from the 2020 edition of the Shorthanded Sailing Association Evolution Sails Round North Island Race which took a fleet of 38 yachts from Auckland to Mangouni, Wellington, Napier and then back to Auckland.
Posted on 31 Mar
Emirates Team NZ online store still open all hours
The official ETNZ clothing store is open for online shopping and can take your order any time The good news is that our the ETNZ online clothing store remains live for our fans around the world to order great Emirates Team New Zealand clothing product.
Posted on 31 Mar
Sailing everyday while witnessing Olympic dreams
Windsurfing by its own nature is an individual activity The Corona virus pandemic has caused many people around Australia to go into self-isolation. As most are aware, this means only leaving your home when necessary. Luckily for us windsurfers one of the hall-passes comes in the form of individual exercising.
Posted on 31 Mar