Mediterranean Boats of Portugal – new stamp issue released

Mediterranean Boats of Portugal – new stamp issue released
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StampNews.com got to know that Portugal Post released it version of "Mediterranean Boats" EUROMED series on the 9th of July. The three boats depicted in this stamp issue portray Mediterranean traditions, not only regarding shipbuilding techniques but also in what concerns their origins

Located on the south-western edge of Europe, Portugal was classified as a border country by geographer Orlando Ribeiro. Boats travelling from the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea, which had been visiting the country since ancient times, strongly influenced Shipbuilding, leading Portuguese shipwrights to adopt two distinct techniques: Nordic clinker planking (overlapping planks and an end structure) and Mediterranean smooth planking (a front structure and juxtaposed planks).

The Douro River represents the cultural frontier that separated the two aforementioned styles, with Nordic-style boats prevailing in north-western rivers. To the south, and along the coast, Mediterranean-style boats dominated.

In addition to this cultural duality, barges and other boats boasting markedly Mediterranean features were commonly found in the Algarve, particularly in the coastal areas closest to neighbouring Andalusia, of which the most representative examples are the Calão and the Xávega. The latter has not been included in this stamp issue, as it is already featured in the "Portucale 77- Barcos da Costa Portuguesa" (Portucale 77 – Portuguese Coastal Boats) issue, launched in 1977.

Both these boats bear traces from ancient Phoenician and Greek vessels, mostly evident in their bow decorations. Both boats feature a raised piece on the bow, horn- shaped in the Calão and in the shape of an elongated, stylised swan neck in the Xávega. Both boats feature barge-like hulls, without transoms. The Calão was propelled by oars or sails, whereas the Xávega was only propelled by oars. Although both were trawlers, the Calão also assisted larger ships engaged in deep sea fishing, namely tuna fishing, and transported fish to the shore.

The Canoa do Alto or Caçadeira, the Canoa da Picada and the Caíque were seagoing boats. The optimal performance afforded by their hulls inspired the building of recreational boats, widely used in regattas from the 19th century onwards, particularly by the Portuguese Royal House.

The Canoa da Picada carried salted sardines to the port of Lisbon; its leisure version, rigged differently, was known as coquette.

The Caíque, a fishing boat also used in port-to-port shipping, sailed on Moroccan waters and the Western Mediterranean. The "Bom Sucesso" (Good Fortune), a boat from Olhão, crossed the South Atlantic to take the news of the expulsion of Napoleon's armies from Portugal to the Royal Family, exiled in Brazil.

The Galleon was introduced to the Algarve from Andalusia, to sail the high seas. This boat was soon replaced with a steam version and since then reconverted, to be used in the transport of salt. Its excellent performance on the high seas led a few sailing enthusiasts, namely from the Netherlands, to buy these boats and turn them into sports and pleasure craft.

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