Author Topic: An ancient craft  (Read 2364 times)

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Offline Maik

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An ancient craft
« on: Tuesday, 21 June, 2016 @ 13:58:51 »
Yiannis Prasinos is standing at the tiller with his eyes fixed on the sea as he steers his caique, Chryssa, with effortless grace. After all, he did build her with his own hands. At 50, Prasinos must be the youngest marine carpenter in Greece today. He is the fourth generation to work in his family’s boatyard, joined to the sea at birth. Today, though, he carries a heavy burden: to salvage an art that is 2,500 years old and at threat of extinction. He faces the task of preserving secrets that have been passed down from the masterbuilder to the assistant and never committed to writing, techniques that have been tried and tested through the centuries to keep the boats afloat and strong enough to withstand the buffeting of the Aegean waves, the secret ritual for when to cut down a tree for wood (“In January, with a full moon, so it has all its juices”) and how it is hewn to form a mast.

According to a survey by the Traditional Boat Association of Greece, of the 14,500 wooden boats that sailed the country’s seas 20 years ago (making it the biggest fishing fleet in Europe), 12,500 have been destroyed. The demolition began in 1996 with European Union regulations to prevent overfishing, which prompted thousands of Greek fishermen to hand in their licenses and agree to destroy their boats in exchange for subsidies. As the fleet dwindled, so too did the craftsmen. Today, there are just a handful of caulkers, riggers and sailmakers to be found, and what few traditional boatyards remain are doing battle to hold onto their spots in the country’s ports, eyed by bar and cafe owners with expansionist dreams.

Traditional Boat Association of Greece

Offline Aristarches

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Re: An ancient craft
« Reply #1 on: Wednesday, 22 June, 2016 @ 03:05:45 »
John Green?