Bracera as the most popular costal sailing vessels of the Croatian Adriatic coast

Bracera as the most popular costal sailing vessels of the Croatian Adriatic coast
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StampNews.com hurries to inform that Croatian Post has released a special stamp from the series "PUMED – THE SHIPS OF THE MEDITERRANEAN SEA". The item depicts bracera – one of the most characteristic costal sailing vessels of the Croatian Adriatic coast and one-mast bracera with the lug sail from the 19th century is the best known among all types. The stamp was unveiled and put on sale on the 9th of July.

Bracera is one of the most characteristic costal sailing vessels of the Croatian Adriatic coast and one-mast bracera with the lug sail from the 19th century is the best known among all types. It seems that this solid and very mobile small ship developed as the result of the Liburnian traditional form. The Liburnians were actually for millenniums first class seamen and ship builders.

Their shapes and solutions were adopted also by practical Romans and millenniums later also by Americans. The vessel had wide applications because it was especially apt for trade and general communication between numerous Adriatic islands as well as between its neighbouring coasts. Braceras were used to transport wine, olive oil and other agricultural products, but also people and cattle and they were used for fishing, harvesting sea sponges and excavating sand from the sea along the whole coast.

The vessels were oar-powered or wind-powered which for millenniums were the main power resources for vessels. It is presumed that the name bracera is derived from the word Brazza – a historic name for the island of Brač from the period of domination of the Venetian Republic of San Marco. Besides, it seems that bracera was also a more adequate response to the demands of the environment and the inhabitants of the eastern Adriatic coast preferred to build smaller and cheaper bracera vessels than the more expensive trabakul and pelig ships.

On the other hand, the hull of the vessel was a crucial factor of the inseparable hull-sail system. Therefore, in the Adriatic region the sails of ships changed according to the demands of the environment and customs: from the supported sail, over square, lateen, lug and gaff sail and the immovable staysail at the bowsprit. The number of masts could be one and in Istria two or three.

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