With its global premiere at the Qatar International Boat Show at the Mourjan Marinas in Lusail City, this trendy Silvercraft model will be a sure hit with sport fishing enthusiasts. Convenience and practicality lies at the core of the new Silvercraft 31 HT, an upgrade from the previous model that takes advantage of every nook and cranny of this fishing boat and family cruiser. Doha, 5th of November 2015 – Qatari boat enthusiasts are gearing up for what is anticipated to be a striking presence by Gulf Craft, including the largest superyacht on display at the Qatar International Boat Show.
Visitors to the show, which runs from 10-14 November, will have an opportunity to experience the innovative shipyard’s impressive range of craft.
Accounting for 40 per cent of Qatar’s leisure marine market share, Gulf Craft’s unique understanding of the diverse needs and requirements of Qatari sea travelers further amplifies the shipyard’s participation in the exhibition. Reaffirming its commitment to its loyal Qatari market, Gulf Craft will also be making the global premiere of two of its latest creations, which will be revealed to the public for the first time at the show. Guests can visit Gulf Craft at stand number B25 at the Mourjan Marinas in Lusail City, the show venue. March 19, 2014 – Gulf Craft, recently named one of the world’s top 10 superyacht builders, has docked in Doha with its most impressive fleet of luxury superyachts, sport cruisers and leisure craft ever to be showcased in Qatar, led by its largest superyacht – the Majesty 135. In association with its local representative Aurora Yachts, the shipyard is displaying a wide range of vessels at this third annual ‘Gulf Craft Exclusive Preview’, which opened today at The Pearl Qatar and will run until March 21st. Headlining the impressive line-up of models from its Majesty Yachts, Oryx and Silvercraft ranges is the Majesty 135.
The Qatari premiere of the Majesty 135 was accompanied by two more market premieres; the Majesty 48, Gulf Craft’s intelligently-engineered answer to the growing demand for mid-sized yachts and the Waveshuttle 56 – a brand new ‘alternative yacht’ design that can be utilized as a floating majlis, on-water limousine or luxury passenger transport vessel. The Majesty 48 – with its fresh, contemporary interior design, a social cockpit area and spacious fly-bridge – has been designed as a fully-option yacht that can be owner-managed and is expected to be extremely popular within the family leisure market. In addition, the Gulf Craft Exclusive Preview also includes 2014 models of the Oryx sport cruisers and Silvercraft leisure boat range.
Gulf Craft, one of the world’s top 10 superyacht building shipyards, in cooperation with Aurora Yachts & Boats Trading (Qatar), will return once again to one of the most fabulous yachting and boating destinations in the GCC– Doha, with its third Exclusive Preview of its Majesty Yachts, Oryx, Silvercraft and Utility Series for the Qatar market.
Together with the Silvercraft 31 HT, the Oryx 43 Fly yacht was successfully launched by Gulf Craft at the 2015 Qatar International Boat Show held from November 10-14 at the Mourjan Marinas, Lusail City in Doha. The Oryx Sport Yachts & Cruisers have a reputation for combining power and performance with exceptional styling. At the Qatar International Boat Show, guests were very eager to view the newest addition to the Gulf Craft fleet of yachts and boats.  The timeless exterior design  by Gulf Craft’s in-house design studio offers ample space, with the panoramic windows of the yacht allowing for plenty of natural light to flow through the yacht.
Doha, 10 November 2015 – Qatar’s growing appetite for luxury sea travel met Gulf Craft’s exquisite display of the 41-metre Majesty 135, the largest superyacht on exhibit at the Qatar International Boat Show. Featuring the largest fleet on display at the show, Gulf Craft’s participation marks its third consecutive year at Qatar’s yachting lifestyle event, which opened today at the Mourjan Marinas in Lusail City and runs until Saturday, 14 November.
Describing Qatar as being home to one of the most enthusiastic boating communities in the region, Gulf Craft CEO Erwin Bamps highlighted the evolving expectations of the country’s passionate sea travelers.
Accounting for a remarkable 40 per cent of the leisure craft market share in Qatar, Bamps expects Gulf Craft’s presence will only grow further, bolstered by the country’s diversified interests in water, an increase in spending power, and continuous waterfront developments, such as Lusail City.
Commenting on the value the Qatar International Boat Show brings to the country’s leisure marine community, Faysal Mikati, Founder and CEO of Snow Comms and conceptualizer of the show, said: “Qatar’s rich marine heritage is evident in the nation’s expanding marine culture and countless industry developments.
The novelty features onboard our superyacht are abundant, stretching from the use of state-of-the-art technology and environmentally friendly equipment, to advanced entertainment systems and ample lounging areas. Also on display at the show is Gulf Craft’s wide range of yachts, boats, and sport cruisers, designed to meet the diverse needs of the company’s discerning Qatari clientele.
Gulf Craft’s participation at the Qatar International Boat Show follows the successful launch of its largest superyacht yet, the Majesty 155, earlier this year.
All of Gulf Craft’s semi-custom yachts and boats are built in the Emirates-based manufacturer’s state-of-the-art shipyard, cementing the Middle East’s presence as a global player in the leisure marine sector, and its position as a recognized hub for the production of world-class craft. 19th October 2015- Erwin Bamps, Chief Executive Officer of Gulf Craft, was invited to the Qatar International Boat Show Press Conference as one of the panelists. The third edition of the Qatar International Boat Show (QIBS) is to be held this November from 10-14, under the auspices of HE the Prime Minister and Interior Minister, Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al-Thani at Mourjan Marinas in Lusail City. Bamps concluded  ”We will, for the first time in Qatar, globally premiere a brand new boat at the Qatar International Boat Show. QIBS ensures that guests get a genuine feel for the marine lifestyle while exploring the offerings of over 90 companies. The event’s location, Mourjan Marinas-Lusail City,  was selected to give guests beautiful views of the Arabian Gulf while guests explore its luxury offerings and have their inquiries fielded by some of the industry’s experts.
Doha, 30 March 2016 – Gulf Craft will host an exclusive preview of its latest innovations in Qatar, with the display to include two new superyachts from its Majesty Yachts brand, along with an oceangoing yacht from its long-range Nomad Yachts series. Gulf Craft’s exclusive preview, which kicks off on Wednesday at The Pearl – Qatar, follows on the heels of the company’s successful global launch of the three new craft at the Dubai International Boat Show, where it generated more than AED 80 million (USD 22 million) in sales across its comprehensive portfolio of world-class yachts and boats.
The GCC-based shipyard leads Qatar’s market for leisure craft, accounting for about 50 per cent of domestic purchases, and its annual showcase continues to serve the country’s growing appetite for  yachting and extended sea travel. More than 10 craft from the distinguished builder’s expanding fleet of Majesty Yachts, Nomad Yachts, Oryx sport yachts and cruisers, and Silvercraft fishing boats and family cruisers will be presented at the private event, serving the diverse needs of all Qatari boat enthusiasts.
The new Majesty 110 and the Majesty 90 superyachts both combine powerful engineering and advanced technology with immaculate design, echoing premium craftsmanship in every detail, from leather furnishings and parquet flooring found in main saloons through to the marble countertops in the en suite staterooms. A unique venture into the world of tri-deck (three decks), the Majesty 110 has abundant outdoor and indoor entertainment features and numerous amenities, including a spacious garage that is large enough to store a dinghy and a Jet Ski. The Nomad 55 is the latest in Gulf Craft’s long-range series of yachts, designed for those with an insatiable appetite for extended sea travel and taking the five-star experience to the midst of the world’s oceans.
Similar to its sistership the Nomad 65, the Nomad 55 emanates world-class engineering from the inside-out, with a hybrid hull designed by celebrated British yacht designer Andrew Wolstenholme. This photograph shows a fleet of traditional craft with their lateen sails raised on the occasion of National Day 2009 in Doha’s West Bay. For this reason I have made this page in order to add a short description of what I can recall of these beautiful craft.
For those who have an interest in the boats of the Gulf and would like to read more about them, I’d like to recommend a far more authoritiative source which, despite its academic character, contains considerable information about the craft of the region in their context and does much to explain why the naming of craft around the Arabian peninsula is so difficult. The first two of these three photographs are of groups of boats sitting at dawn in the low water off al-Bida prior to the Corniche road being developed in Doha.
As the photographs above show, many of the local craft were drawn up onto the beach for a number of reasons. The third of this group of photographs shows a single boat lying on the sea bed at low tide off al-Bida. For thousands of years the sea has been one of the main systems over which trade has been carried and communications effected. The people who made these journeys were brave, for the sea can be capricious and dangerous. The history of sailing craft in the Gulf is not necessarily one that derives from the countries or people bounding it, for some of the influences come from farther afield. It is from Persian, Sanskrit and Akkadian sources that much of the information learned today has been discovered, and this process is continiung. There would have been many influences from around the region, but the Portuguese caravel and the Ottoman oared fighting craft would have have had a consequence on local craft as might the British ships seen in the region in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The caravel was designed as a light, manoeuverable craft suited to long distance travel but needing supplying on long journeys. British war ships moved into the Gulf and Indian Ocean in their work of protecting the trade routes to the Indian sub-continent. It is probable that all these types of craft influenced marine technologies in the region, one relating to commerce and travel, the other to war.
What we can be certain of is that cultural and commercial exchanges developed along sea routes, and that boat building developed in response to the need for local and long distant travel to improve. While reed craft were common in Egypt and Mesepotamia, there was little development of this type within the region. Initially wooden craft were constructed from planks, butted and sewn together with ribs added after the planks had been joined.
In an update to the previous paragraph I have learned that the replica of a ninth century Arab ship, the Jewl of Muscat, constructed in the Oman in 2008, had the holes in its planks made watertight by hammering in coconut fibre which was then made watertight with a putty, shawna, made of chalk powder (calcium carbonate) mixed with melted khundrus resin and fish oil. In the early days of boat construction, there would have been neither the technology nor materials to use nails in their construction.
One other point that I find interesting is that boats were considered to have similarities with camels. For millennia sailors have used the seaways for the movement of goods and the winning of resources. The name commonly given to an Arabic boat is dhow, although Arabs more commonly refer to them collectively as khashab. The etymology of many of the terms has much to do with the wide area over which the boats roamed for centuries. Dhows come in a variety of shapes and sizes developed, as in other areas of the world, in response to the boats’ purposes and the character of the seas in which they sailed.
At the same time it should be borne in mind that many of the waters of the Gulf are very shallow. The first of these three photograph is a detail of a single block of halyard sheaves, part of the rigging of a dhow. This upper halyard block was photographed on a different traditional craft from the previous photograph, and with forty-five years separating them.
Nowadays it is rare to see lateen sails in the Gulf other than associated with tourism or government-sponsored touristic events. The notable characteristic of a lateen sail, as you can see from the above photograph, is that it is triangular, the leech or trailing edge being extended to optimise the amount of wind it can catch.
I’ve not been able to talk to any Arab sailors about the lateen sail but was interested to read that dhows were often sailed into the wind and would wear around rather than tack. Interestingly, the experience of the Arab sailors on having to deal with the heavier-armed British warships resulted in a change in construction.
All dhows are traditionally powered by the wind driving a lateen sail, a triangular sail hanging from the mast at an angle, and permitting rapid deployment about the mast and enabling the dhow to sail closer to the wind than their contemporary British ships.
Having said that you should be aware that, in contradistinction to the way in which boats tend to be classified in the West, boats in the Gulf were used for whatever function was required at the time.
This photograph is of a pearling boat, taken on one of the National Days in the early 1970s and is thought to give a reasonable indication of the way the craft would have been dressed and manned. These two photographs were found in the suq and illustrate a little of the activity on pearling craft. The conditions for drawing up boats was not always perfect, some of the fishing villages were protected by coral reefs of sand spits, limiting access, though providing a degree of protection to those living in them.
While the various villages were provided with fish by their own fleets, there was also markets to be addressed elsewhere in the peninsula. But at the other end of the scale, fishermen operating along the shore such as those camping in temporary huts, such as those in the photograph above, would sell fish directly to Qataris camping along the shore, as is shown in this photograph, taken in 1976. Doha continued to have a large fleet of boats engaged in fishing, though my impression is that it was not the largest fleet, that being at al-Khor. The continual use of nets together with the sharp corals to be found at sea, creates continual damage to the fishermen’s nets.
Similarly, here at al-Shamal, is a familiar sight around the eastern and northern coasts of the peninsula, fishing nets carefully stacked with their polystyrene floats waiting to be loaded and taken to sea. It is likely that the first form of fishing in the region was the passive use of fish traps. These woven, steel wire cages were taken out to sea and left on the sea bed for fish to find their way into, and from which they would find it difficult to leave through the small funnel via which they gained access to the cage. It was common for fishermen to set their traps by moving them directly into the sea at low tide as is shown in the lower photograph.
While pearling and fishing have been traditional functions of country craft, the larger vessels, such as the boom, have been involved for centuries in carrying freight across and along both sides of the Gulf littoral and as far as the Indian sub-continent and the east coast of Africa, as noted above.
But time brings changes and while there is still the necessity to move freight, the traditional craft have changed in a variety of ways. Increasingly, many traditional boats are being turned into leisure craft, their owners no longer having use for them as working boats. Here is a more modern example of the stern treatment of a traditional craft, a shuw’i designed, obviously, for recreation rather than as a working craft.
Many such dhow s have been converted for recreational use by their owners, and the market for them has risen accordingly as those who have not been in the marine business have sought out these craft now they have the funds to afford them.
Generally the interiors of these craft are enlarged and enclosed with the addition of facilities such as air-conditioning and television being made.
The boats used for recreation can consume considerable funds as not only do the boats need maintaining, but they invariably have at least one crewman to handle everything to do with maintaining and running it. In addition, the opportunity is taken to add details which would not have been used traditionally on dhows, but which find their provenance in the traditional Gulf architecture of Qatar. The boats above have been relatively tastefully converted and retain a lot of their original character despite the addition of enclosures and the provision of air-conditioning.
This shuw’i has been converted slightly differently from the craft illustrated above, in that the extension to the stern has been carried out in a way that preserves the visual importance of the stern strake extensions. The construction of craft in the traditional manner ceased by the nineteen-seventies in Qatar. These two details of boat construction were taken in the main hull and the prow respectively of the last boat I saw being constructed in Doha, in the mid-seventies. Note that the wrought iron nails are heavily flat-headed unlike the wrought iron nails used on traditional doors which are hollow dome-headed for the effect they create. The construction of these boats is still carried out without benefit of drawings and relies on the master builder and his experience for direction and supervision, a general brief for performance requirements having first been established with the owner. While cutting tools are used to shape the planking and ribs of boats, bow drills are needed to produce the holes through which the nails are hammered to fix the planking to the ribs, and a cold chisel to hammer caulking between the planks to make them watertight.
Here you see a bow drill being used by a boat builder in preparation for fixing the wrought iron nails through the planks of the newly constructed boom seen in the photograph at the top of this page, and into its ribs.
Dhows were constructed originally with the planks fixed together side by side working up from the keel, itself preferably a single piece of timber. This photograph is of the finished construction on the interior of a small craft and illustrates a number of points.
As I mentioned previously, small craft originally were constructed of teak planks held in place by greased coir rope bindings, creating a flexible construction. Compare this photograph with the first photo at the head of the page, and the photograph below.
The construction of boats nowadays continues with the advantages that modern technologies can bring. Here, at the prow, most of the strakes have been added and the ends of the ribs are still projecting, as yet untrimmed. In the water this shuw’i is riding relatively high as can be seen from the caulking at the waterline.
The second reason for decoration must have something to so with the amount of disposable income there is available for these, now recreational, craft.
The three photographs show how the prow, stern strake and sheer strake have been decorated. While the carving on the prow, stern and sheer strakes are strongly curvilinear, the door panels in the lowest photograph show a far stricter geometric pattern. Some of the country craft that are sailed nowadays use the type of rudder with which we are familiar with on small craft in the West, a rudder attached to a vertical post, hinged to a stern or stern post, and operated by a tiller attached to the rudder head as illustrated in the photograph above above. It is probable that the original method of turning small craft was originally with oars, and that this method developed into the use of a steering oar, again one form of which is illustrated above and is known as a sukkan.
Arab sailors are said to have invented the cross beam and chain method of turning the rudder. The second photograph illustrates the manner in which the chains are led through holes in the side of the craft to a position from which the helmsman can steer his way. These next four photographs show the steering arrangement of a country craft where a rope system is used to move the rudder through the steering arm over the stern of the vessel. The first two photographs, taken from over the stern and from in front, show how the steering wheel is supported on a triangular steel framework from the deck. The surface and edges of this shaft, together with the effect created by the line being wrapped around it several times, create sufficient grip for the line to move the rudder cross beam without slipping around the shaft.
This detail shows the simplicity of the hanging of a rudder on a bateel, this arrangement being similar to the hanging of rudders on many traditional craft. All craft need to be able to anchor when unable to tie up to a quay or jetty, traditional craft are no exception.
Originally, the anchoring of boats was carried out with primitive anchors comprising a large stone to which, or through which, there is attached a strong spike, known as a sinn.
This photograph shows a better detail of the traditional anchors used on pearling craft and others. With its successful global premiere at the Qatar International Boat Show held last November 10-14 at the Mourjan Marinas in Lusail City, Doha, the Silvercraft 31 HT was one of the favorites. From increased engine capacity, a new and improved console area, foldable seats to ample storage space, the powerful Silvercraft 31 HT promises owners and passengers a comfortable cruising experience. From increased engine capacity, a new and improved console area, and foldable seats to ample storage space, the powerful Silvercraft 31 HT promises owners and passengers a comfortable cruising experience. With more than 10 of its yachts, boats, and sport cruisers on display, Gulf Craft will be the largest exhibitor at Qatar’s upcoming yachting event.
Qatar’s strong affinity with the sea and relentless passion for yachting makes this event an excellent opportunity for us to reconnect with existing clients, and build relationships with new ones,” said Erwin Bamps, CEO of Gulf Craft. More than 12,000 visitors from 54 countries are expected to attend this year’s edition of the Qatar International Boat Show. Qatar continues to be robust across all categories of leisure boating, and our diverse models answer the extraordinary variety of yachting and boating requirements in this market,” said Mohammed Alshaali, Chairman of Gulf Craft.
The luxurious superyacht delivers on the yard’s long-standing reputation of providing the owner with a large sun deck, an exceptional interior space utilization and astonishing on-board features, like the folding balcony on the main deck seating area. Hamad Abed Al Aziz Al Kuwari with the Chairman of Gulf Craft Mohammed Alshaali at the grand opening in 2013. Robust yet elegant, these craft are built for luxury and comfort, with an eye for detail and a reputation for excellent workmanship. In a standard layout of 2 cabins and 2 heads, the Oryx 43 Fly sleeps 4 but can welcome up to 15 people for a waterfront cruise.
The award-winning yacht and boat builder also presented two global premieres of its latest innovations, a first time at the show.


However, today’s fervent ocean-goers are no longer merely looking for a boating or fishing trip, but a memorable journey,” Bamps said. They are enamored by the fascinating experience of traveling by sea, and so they are continuously looking for ways to enhance that experience through our latest innovations,” Bamps said.
This years’ show will host more than 120 brands and 85 boat selections, ensuring that you can discover something unique from over 90 companies.
Characterized by its ability to maximize both space and natural light from the inside and out, the Majesty 135 offers a roomy and bespoke interior that emanates luxury, from the vanity table tops made from premium quality marble to the lustrous silver leaf ceilings in the main saloon and the owner’s stateroom. The impressive range includes Gulf Craft’s recently launched Nomad Yachts collection, a series of powerfully engineered and comfortable loft-style yachts built for avid explorers of the sea, as well as two global premieres – the Silvercraft 31 HT and the Oryx 43 Fly. The displacement superyacht, a company first, takes the shipyard’s semi-custom capability to the next level, with cutting-edge technology sprawled across 47 meters of luxurious perfection, both in style and functionality. This years’ show will showcase more than 120 brands and 85 boats both on land and in water. We have supported this show since its inception, not only because Qatar is a primary market for Gulf Craft, but also because of the unique opportunities this show delivers to its visitors, to the region and to the industry in general” said Erwin Bamps, CEO of Gulf Craft, UAE-based yacht and boat builder and one of the top 10 superyacht shipyards in the world. Even the most discerning boating enthusiasts will find the utilitarian craft or luxury vessel they have always wanted. Meanwhile, the ample space onboard the Majesty 90 enables passengers to move effortlessly inside and outside the superyacht, giving owners the chance to customize the fly-bridge to either fit a dinghy, Jet Ski, or an even larger seating area, and offering breathtaking 360-degree views from the superyacht’s interior. Reaching speeds of up to 25 knots using twin 700 hp engines, the Nomad 55 can travel long distances without having to make frequent fuel stops, allowing its passengers to enjoy an uninterrupted cruising experience. In this photograph you can see how the majority of her ribs were left more or less as the tree trunks and branches came, and only trimmed at their junctions with the planks of the boat.
Both were being constructed at the same time but, whereas the first was dependent upon traditional methods of design, materials, skills and construction, this boat was a copy of a steel-hulled vessel with all its timbers being mechanically shaped to a pre-set design.
Unfortunately, I have to warn you that I can not guarantee the absolute accuracy of everything I write. The photographs were taken in 1972 when the traditional way of beaching craft was still practised.
Not only was it easy to unload cargo or the fish that had been caught, but access could be made to the hulls of the craft for maintenance, although drawing the boats up to the shore was not always necessary. The old Diwan al-Amiri can be seen in the background, and the beginning of the Corniche construction had just begun. This reflects the larger size and frequency of ships needed to bring goods into the different countries of the Gulf, in turn a response to increasing disposable income, the rapidly expanding population and concomitant development. At the beginning of the boom in the seventies, for instance, ships would often have to stand out in the roads to wait their turn to unload while, on land, intense efforts were being made to upgrade the unloading capability of the ports, road and commercial and government infrastructures in order to feed the goods into the country.
These boats relied on their large lateen sails though, later, diesel engines were added to the dhows both in order to improve their manoeuvrability near land as well as to enable them to sail when the winds dropped. There are, of course, land routes for the further distribution of goods and for communicating, but the sea was open and, in significant ways, free of many of the obstructions to movement, trade and commerce found on land. But it has a beauty which sailors recognise and which draws them to it not just in the pursuit of trade but in a separation from their life on land.
It appears that the chief influences are from Persia, the Indian sub-continent and the Portuguese, then from British naval craft. Characterised by two or three lateen sails it developed from the thirteenth century in and around the Mediterranean to become a larger and more effective ship used by both the Portuguese and Spanish navies, the lateen sail later developing into a square sail.
Powered by oars they were fighting ships but obviously did not have the range of a caravel, though they were also fast and highly manoeuverable. Nevertheless, it appears that it was the Persian influence that predominated from India to the southern point of Africa.
But it has to be borne in mind that primary sources provide us with little assessment of the importance of trade, nor can we be certain of the extent of knowledge of medieval writers in relation to technologies, material and the like. Although they were inexpensive to build and maintain, they had limited carrying power and would only have been safe on rivers or inshore waters.
This photograph shows how important the junctions between planks must have been to the integrity of the craft. Interestingly it is said that one of the reasons nails were disliked in the construction of boats was that it was considered they might be drawn out by magnetic forces below the waterline. It is well enough known that camels were sometimes known as ships of the desert, but their long necks and the masts of ships were also compared both for their forward-leaning appearance as well as the sinuous movement while travelling. The Gulf appears to be a safe place for shipping, but this can be illusory; the Gulf is large enough for even the larger craft to be at risk from adverse weather conditions. Here, under unusual light conditions, one sits at anchor in Doha Bay off the old jetty in 1972.
One story I was told is that its real origin was in one of the Arabic words for a lamp or light. Indo-Persian mixed with African and Arabic vocabularies and, as much of the traditions were not written down but verbal, attempting to discover roots and meanings can be difficult, and I am neither an etymologist nor linguist. Dhows which sailed across the Gulf were often subject to violent seas, and this is particularly true for those moving out of the Gulf and across the larger Arabian and Indian seas. This is something the British found to their cost when they attempted to settle what was known in the eighteenth century as the Trucial Coast, in which there was endemic piracy. Its fore-and-aft rig can be used to sail closer to the wind than the square-rigs used by European craft.
The raising and lowering of sails is a heavy business and requires all the aid possible in order to accomplish these two acts quickly and efficiently.
It is placed here to illustrate the relatively crude but effective design and construction of these blocks. However I can remember that it was not uncommon to see the sails on the horizon where their captains would use wind power out at sea for the major part of the journey, but lower their sails and use their diesel engines to manoeuvre into harbour. You can also see how the sail is extended fore and aft to increase the amount of wind caught.
Tacking brings the bow of the craft across the wind and requires both that the yard is brought round the mast and that the rudder is effective in the manoeuvre.
Their boats were traditionally made with teak planks connected with coir rope bindings and heavily greased. Unlike Western boats, they were not differentiated by the number of masts but by their shape and size. Essentially this was a commercial necessity, the owners finding work for their boats depending on opportunity.
These craft stood over the pearl beds for months at a time, the crews’ only protection the canvas awnings spread over the main deck as shown here. It was a hard life, under harsh conditions but was one which appears to be regarded wistfully by those who were involved in it. The most notable features are the weights, khir, used by the divers to help them reach the sea bed, and the dayin, cotton rope baskets, used to carry the oysters to the surface. Fishing fleets were established all the way around the coast with a small settlement supported by, and supporting, the boats and their crews.
In many of the coastal communities boats were either left in the water, as in the second of these three photographs taken at al-Bida in 1972, or drawn up close to the shore, as in the lowest photograph which was taken at al-Khor in the same year. In many different locations, small communities established themselves in temporary barasti accommodation in order to take advantage of the good fishing that was to be enjoyed at that part of the coast. In the background you can see a fishing trap installation which is likely to have been the source of the catch.
The impression may be wrong as the foreshore in Doha along both its east and west bays was long, and there were considerable number of boats engaged in transportation mixing with them, particularly opposite the north end of suq Waqf. One of the most common sights along the foreshore was of fishermen sitting and mending their nets.
Note the typical colours of the superstructure, mast and spar of the moored fishing craft, as well as the fact that many of the fishermen are now expatriates and not nationals. There was a small amount of line fishing carried out from shore, usually by individuals wishing to feed their family rather than for sport.
This system has the advantage over the system illustrated above in that it is extremely portable, allowing the fishermen to carry the cages to specific areas of the sea where they know fish will be found. One of the photographs above shows a shuw’i, laden with fish traps, leaving Doha to set them down, though some of the traps were set near the shore, either carried out manually or on small boats.
Here two fishermen are carrying out one of their traps from where they kept them on the island of Safliyah, just north of Doha, among people enjoying their picnics and swimming on a holiday.
This trade was an essential activity, moving a wide range of goods mostly into the Gulf states. This photograph is of a Pakistani boom that has been modified to carry freight, in this case, livestock.
My experience is that it is not only those with a marine connection that do so, but also those of badu stock.
This boat was converted around the late nineteen-seventies from its original use, and provided with a cabin created aft which had two windows set into the stern transom to give light and ventilation. You can see that a considerable amount of the available deck space has been enclosed and glazed, that above this a deck has been created with seating established on it, and that modern navigation and communication systems have been installed as well as two air-conditioning units. Fishing is very popular from them and day trips are common both for men and their guests as well as for all the family. In the case of this solid, carved detail, it illustrates both the relationship between owner and boat as well as that with his heritage. The main reason for this has been in maintaining a recognisable shape of the craft, and keeping them honest to their purpose. The curious thing is that it appears to me not to be constructed of teak but perhaps of steel or fibreglass, though I have to admit I’m not sure.
The craft in this photograph appears, again, to be a converted shuw’i, here constructed in the traditional manner, but on which has been constructed a rather unsympathetic addition.
Despite this, however, the mass of the new cabin seems out of character with the lines and volume of the shuw’i and produces an ugly design from what is basically a beautiful craft. The reason I have included it is to show a little of the differences that exist with converted shwa’i.
Many years before this, perhaps centuries before, these craft were no longer bound together but nailed for the reasons given above.
The wrought iron nails in the upper photograph were being used to make temporary fixings to elements of the construction.
The flat-headed nails are driven into the timbers and countersunk to produce as near a flush finish as is practicable.
While boat builders all have to be extremely skilful in their work, the traditional craft of three-dimensional shaping of wood seemed to be more so in those days. Here is a set of tools belonging to one of the craftsmen on an adjacent boat nearing completion.
While some traditional tools are still used in carpentry in general and boat building in particular, many new tools have been brought in to help speed the process of building. The nails are manufactured with a square cross section and the holes, obviously, are circular and sized to be a tight fit for the nails. If you compare it with the photograph at the head of the page you will see the difference between old and new constructions in the irregularity and regularity of the two constructions respectively. One of the difficulties of this form of construction is in making the fixings within the increasingly narrow space at the prow and stern of these craft. This is not a boom under construction, but a general purpose cargo vessel, the photograph having been taken in the late nineteen-seventies. The planks that form the sides of the craft are usually cut by band saw and will bear the typical marks that are displayed as parallel bands running at right angles to the length of the plank, typically at about 50-60mm centres.
The pattern of fixing nails is clearly seen, an important aesthetic consideration in the new craft, but one that diminishes as the visual appearance of the nails age with time and exposure.
While the lines of boats have an intrinsic beauty in them related to the functions they have been designed over time to fulfill, the urge to decorate lies within all of us. It is evident that the carvings have no relationship with traditional patterns found in Qatar, but it has to be remembered that, in a sense, the craft belong not to Qatar but to the traditions of the Indian Ocean and Arabian Sea.
I don’t know why this is but suspect that part of the carving was carried out by craftsmen from the Indian sub-continent, while the doors have been decorated by a local craftsman.
This is the more usual type of arrangement showing only the functional requirements for elevating the neem to a suitable position where it can be seen to contain a folded mattress and, hanging from the stern, the white polystyrene buoys commonly used by fishermen to mark their nets or traps. This would have developed into the quarter-rudder, a device solely for steering and fixed to the stern quarter of a boat, from which it derives its name.
While some claim this to be a Chinese invention, the two systems are likely to have developed independently of each other. What might not be evident from the small images placed here is that the chains are led through a pulley system fixed at one end to the ends of the cross-piece and, at the other, to the heavy circular vertical post, this system improving the efforts of the helmsman while giving greater control of the rudder. Steering wheels on craft this size are either of six or eight spokes and are constructed of timber sandwiched between two metal plates and bolted together in order to retain their shape and strength. Attached to the wheel is a steel spindle over which there is threaded a heavy hexagonal wooden shaft. The amount of friction in the line and sheave system is able to hold the wheel against the action of the water acting on it.
Wrought iron straps, or gudgeons, are fixed to the stern post on the right, and a similar strap to the rudder on the left, the connection being made with a pintle attached to the rudder strap dropped into the gudgeon on the sternpost strap, gravity holding the rudder in place.
Compare how this operation is effected here with that above where the rudder is operated by a horizontal bar at its head. Generally the waters off the peninsula are relatively shallow, and many of the country craft were and are run onto the shore and anchored, as shown in this illustration photographed in Wakra, or tied to an object onshore where that is practicable. The stone provides a degree of security among rocky sea beds, the sinn creating additional grip both there and in sandy beds. The main element appears to be made of faruwsh through the narrow end of which a hole has been drilled to accommodate an iron loop attaching the anchor to the craft. Three decks of richly decorated interior accommodate 10 guests in 5 staterooms as well as a crew capacity of 9 people. Ultimately, Gulf Craft’s announcement demonstrates the expanding developments in the yachting industry and continued growth for years to come,” Mr.
This might be considered to be the turning point in the construction of wooden boats in Qatar.
The traditional boats of the Gulf are obviously neither Islamic in any way nor are they elements of Gulf architecture. Much of it comes from conversations I have had in the past with locals with an interest in boats as well as those engaged in the construction and maintenance of them, but I regret now not making notes.
In the first photograph there are, from the left, two small abwam, one dismasted, a shuw’i in the background, another boom and a jaliboot on the right. In al-Khor, for instance, the fishing fleet often moored in the deeper water of the khor in order to be able to move out to the fishing grounds more rapidly. The boats were a common sight in the 1970s with their crews wandering across the sea beds in carrying out their maintenance. Bear in mind that the national populations of the Gulf have been significantly increased by the service population brought in to carry out the considerable development politically considered necessary to bring those countries into line with the more developed countries of the West and, of course, the region. I should add that it was only the east side of the peninsula that was able to take deep draught vessels and even then the ports of Doha and Umm Said had to have channels dredged. Even today these craft ply their trade between the Gulf and the Indian sub-continent and east Africa via the Arab states on the Arabian Sea. This draws them together as a group of like-minded individuals who have to work to a common purpose in order to be able to carry out their work in relative safety. It is probable that there is much to learn from the influence of the Chinese who, for centuries, were the most advanced in their use of craft, navigational aids and marine technologies. Originally developed as fishing boats, when used as warships, caravels depended on the stern castles as fighting platforms.
The larger ships did not have the shallow draught needed to manoeuvre in-shore, a job left to smaller craft, particularly oared.
As you might expect, sailing craft which developed within the region were designed for the work they had to perform and, particularly, the waters in which they would sail. This type of construction will have relied upon good craftsmanship by the boat builders, requiring accuracy in the cutting of the planks and in the making of holes for sewing the planks together.
It is far more likely that nails were initially avoided due to their tendency to be affected by the marine environment. But most of the time the weather is good, and those who put out to sea can relax in the knowledge that they have the skills to carry out their tasks in safety.
This view of a shuw’i is typical of the most common boat now used, leaving and returning every day from fishing with their traps on the stern.
The well-armed, but heavier British ships, were unable to follow pirate ships which, with their lateen sails and shallower draught were easily able to out-manoeuvre the British. They were smaller sails than the equivalent European craft but, with their long keel, shallower draught and lighter weight these craft tended to be faster. Setting the sail to the correct height and manoeuvering it around the mast are important functions that place or set the sail to the requirements of the master of the vessel. Carved from a single piece of hard timber, this block has not yet had to be strengthened to prevent its splitting, despite the heavy loading it takes in operation. Apparently it developed from a square sail as the need to head up closer to the wind was seen to be important. Wearing also requires the yard to be brought round the mast, but turning downwind helps move the yard around.
Heading into the wind the craft, instead of tacking across it, turns away from the wind and then rounds up to head up again into the wind.
This had given them literally flexible craft, better suited to dealing with the sandbanks and reefs of the Gulf. What I’ve not been able to work out is how the different boats came to be sized and constructed into the standard models described below.
Manoeuvring was carried out with the oars, with as much time as possible given to diving and winning the oysters from the sea bed. While visitors to the Gulf are now able to see the fishing fleets in action and perhaps take advantage of the recreational craft operating as businesses, most will also be aware of something of the history of the pearling fleets on which the original wealth of Qatar was largely founded. Usually the khir would be stones, hasa, though I have seen it written that sometimes metal was used for this purpose as seems to be indicated by the model.
Most of the settlements were located immediately next to the sea, with only a small stretch of sand separating them from the water.


In the latter case the khor provided considerable protection to the village and, by extension, the fishing fleet here sitting out a hundred metres from the shore. This photograph was taken near Umm Said and shows a typical group of huts with the nets stacked near the huts, small rowing boats drawn up on the foreshore, a truck for access to markets and the important galvanised iron water tank storing fresh water for the fishermen̵s personal needs. Here it was a common sight to see the different nets of the fishermen hung over the railings or stretched out on the ground to inspect, mend and dry. Constructed of polyester twine and brightly coloured, usually in tones of green and blue, the nets had to be mended daily in order to be ready for the next trip. Fishing is still a sport or hobby carried out by Qataris, but the majority of those fishing as a business are not, most originating from the Indian sub-continent. In the shallow waters, a line of hasa or, more likely, faruwsh was constructed which would be exposed at low tide, but covered at high tide.
These first three photographs, all of them taken in the nineteen-seventies, show traps under construction. It must be difficult for the fishermen, but I assume the fish return after the people have left. In this photograph, taken in the early 1970s on the dhow jetty at Doha, building supplies are being carried ashore down an improvised gangplank.
The superstructure at the stern is a modern version of the older structures though has been painted to give some resemblance to a more modern, steel, freighter. Because of this, recreation is an increasing activity in the use of smaller, less expensive, dhow s in Qatar. Curiously, the type of divisioning selected for the fenestration gives it the feeling of some of the Western sailing ships from earlier days. First, the strakes projecting back from traditional and modern working craft are here residual, having lost their function of supporting a structure on the stern. In both cases it often appears to be very much a relocation of the majlis from the land to the sea, and with similar activities undertaken. It is apparent that while the interiors may be unsophisticated, the basic elements of the traditional craft are detailed, well maintained and, in cases such as the zuli developed from both a functional and decorative point of view.
The clues are the openings in the hull, its unnatural smoothness and the fins at water level on its stern. If you compare this with the photo of the converted shuw’iabove you will see a significant difference.
A small, but enclosed zuli has been added over the stern between the transom strakes, and a platform sits across the stern directly above the zuli, but smaller than the structure in the shuw’i above. But, by that time the method of sourcing timbers used in boat construction had also changed and I have never seen nor heard of un-planed timbers being used in their construction since then. The lower photograph gives an indication of the tight space formed between the keel and the planking at the prow which is also a possible reason for a preference for nailing over stitching at these tight points. Here a craftsman sits in the hull of the boat, using an adze to shape a rib to fit snugly against the planking of the boat.
Each of the bow drills has a diamond shaped point of a different size to produce the range of holes needed for different fixing requirements.
The drill consists of a handle in which the end of the steel drill bit is allowed to turn, and a secondary wooden bobbin attached to the drill bit which is turned backwards and forwards with the aid of a wooden bow supporting a thick cord wrapped round the bobbin.
Here you see two electric drills being used for a similar task as that being carried out in the photo above it where a bow drill is being used – the provision of holes into which nails are being driven to hold the planking to the timber frame. The square section helps the nails maintain a good bite on the timber, resisting turning and loosening as the planking and frame of the craft move in response to the pressures exerted on them by the sea and wind. This photograph reflects the use of standardised material in terms of timber dimensions, and is considered to improve the speed of construction as well as produce a better balanced craft.
The ribs of the boat are cut and temporarily fixed as is illustrated in the photograph above, and then the planks or strakes are attached as is illustrated in this photograph, the planks being shaped and fitted by eye. On the left of the photograph it is clear that strakes have not been fixed more or less parallel to each other, but have been trimmed to fit.
One particular effect to note here is the added protection that has been given both to the front of the prow as well as to the sheer strake. There are parts of the craft that cry out to be decorated and, in these three photographs you can see how this has typically been carried out. One particular difference between these craft and the older, traditional shuw’i is the shape of the prow in the first photograph where it can be seen to have little of the strong reflex curve of the traditional country craft. What is noticeable is that all the carving is carried out within framed panels; there is no carving in the round. Its elevated position is commonly used by the master of the vessel both during the day and night.
Compared with the more sophisticated example above, this neem does not have a built up edge to help contain anything placed on it from rolling off in bad weather, or when tacking heels the craft.
This, in turn, developed into the stern rudder, a form of which is described in the preceding paragraph and is known as a pintle and gudgeon system.
In this case the rudder has, at its head, a cross-piece attached, at the ends of which there are two ropes or chains fixed as are shown on the first of these two photographs.
The third photograph is a detail of that above it, showing how the chain wraps round a metal sheave before being led back to the end of the steering arm and from there down through a hole in the side of the hull to the steering mechanism. The photographs both illustrate how the lines are led through two metal sheaves which are joined by a simple hook and eye arrangement, enabling them to be readily disengaged when and if necessary.
Here, by contrast, the rudder is turned by lines from the stern of the craft running to sheaves, themselves linked to a vertical bar fixed to the back of the rudder. The spike is fixed into the hole in the stone by the device of driving in two spikes, one from each side of the stone that effectively act as wedges to each other. The sinn is missing in this case but the positioning of holes and the width of the stone at its base evidently have been estabished in order to optimise the catching capability of the anchor.
The vessel possesses an ocean-going range of 2,500 nautical miles at a cruising speed of 12 knots, running on twin MTU 16V 2,000 series engines delivering 2,600 HP each, with a maximum speed of 22 knots. Incidentally, I don’t know if I am correct in referring to dhows as feminine in the characterisation of the West. However, they seem to me to have so much in common with traditional Gulf architecture and the way of life prior to development irrevocably changed the life of Qataris.
I can recommend at least this article to give a description of some of the craft and their history in and around the Gulf and, for more detail of the construction of boats, particularly referring to the Kuwait ship-building industry, this site which, though it seems to have gone down when I last checked, may return, in which case I will leave the link in. Here the fleet sits out some way from the shore with the beginnings of a storm building to the north. The boats and their associated activities created a strong link between the past and present which development of the Corniche cut off. The dhows still use sail when it suits them, though this is obviously dependent upon the prevailing seasonal winds. This enabled sailors to navigate easily on land bearings as well as to sail through relatively safe seas while obtaining rapid access to a safe haven in the event of a storm.
The bonds formed between sailors were, and to some extent remain, regardless of nationality.
Due to internal problems, the wide-ranging activites of the Chinese fleets stopped in the fifteenth century. Efforts by the British to contain or defeat piracy in the Gulf were particularly constrained by this factor. Reed craft are more suited to rivers and inshore sailing and so wooden craft developed relatively quickly in order to provide safer movement across greater distances.
I am not able to say what material might have been used for caulking, placed by a qalaaf, between the planks and in the holes but I believe that it would have been a fibrous material, fatail, capable of holding a substance such as fish oil, sull, as is used nowadays, to repel the ingress of sea water. The material stayed pliable for a few days but eventually hardened, a difficulty where there is movement that must be accommodated. Despite this, it was not uncommon for nails to be used to fix planks at the prow and stern where the two sides of the craft became extremely close together, and the ability to work the fixings inside the craft was too constrained.
This photograph, of a captain at the helm of his small shuw’i, represents this understanding and illustrates the innate ability sailors have to steer their craft in a natural and instinctive manner while carrying on the business of the trip and conversing with those around them. This combined with easier manoeuverability and their sailors’ local marine knowledge, gave them significant advantages. The sheaves enable the effort being made in pulling the halyard lines or ropes to be more efficiently managed, and were an important development in the rigging of sailing craft. The favoured timber for blocks is Jack wood, Artocarpus heterophyllus, locally known as fanas and obtained, as is much of the timber for building these craft, from the Indian sub-continent.
With the relatively small rudders of Arab craft, wearing would have been a more easy option in heavy winds. The nailed oak planks of the British navy were emulated and dhow boat construction developed using wrought iron nails driven through bow-drilled holes packed with hemp soaked in an oil and tar mix. I assume that it is, as it would be elsewhere, a result of the characteristics of the seas they sailed, from the coasts of the Arabian Sea to the calmer inshore waters of the Gulf.
Although the industry was crippled by the development of cultured pearls in the Far East, there are not only the tawwash, pearl dealers and divers alive who participated in pearling in the Gulf, but even some who occasionally dive, recreationally, for pearls.
However, in the nineteen sixties, the government constructed a purpose-built structure in Doha just north and east of suq Waqf for the purpose of selling fish. Here a fisherman uses a casting net from the shore at feriq al-Salata, his catch-box carried over his shoulder in which to keep the small fish caught in this activity. Fish, moving around the shallows near the shore, would find their way back to deeper water barred by the trap and could be relatively easily caught.
The first photograph shows a trap being woven upside down, the weaver standing inside and moving around in order to keep the shape symmetrical.
It is unclear to me if the four panels on the stern are just panels or, as seems more likely, small windows set in to illuminate a below-deck cabin. Nevertheless fishing is very popular activity and everybody seems to come back from their trips with fish for the table, friends and family, as well as for the freezer. The addition of the two zuli over the stern give it an interesting symmetry and the detailing of the cabin is certainly modern. The shuw’i further up the page has its cabin positioned so that it is possible to move around its external wall in order to reach the stern. What is surprising to me is that boat builders have not yet begun to find forms more in tune with the design of traditional craft, and produce results where land-based architectural forms are applied in an uncoordinated manner to a marine-based architecture. As a consequence, this will produce a more stable craft if the intent is for passengers to use it, and it is not provided just for the use of the captain or members of his crew, as is the custom.
The other thing to notice is that each horizontal timber has the ends of the nails connecting the planking to the ribs turned over to prevent their working out. All craft are still constructed under the supervision of the master boatwright using the same craftsmen, and generally without drawings, but the tools, equipment and materials used have changed significantly enabling, perhaps, more precision but, particularly, enabling the construction to be effected within a shorter period of time. I’m not sure what material has been used to effect this, but assume it to be iron or steel, the former preferable. The first is that there has been a tradition in the Indian sub-continent to decorate their wooden craft, and many of the builders of wooden craft in Doha have been brought in from that part of the world.
From here he is able to monitor not only the deck and activities of the crew, but also the surrounding sea and sky.
Nowadays this is a metal arrangement, usually iron, but Arab systems used ropes and lashings to fix the rudder.
In this sense I see boats being as important as the traditional architecture, and I feel that they should be looked at in parallel with land-based architecture. More recently I have found this reference which has caused me to alter some of the notes I had previously made. I can recall often seeing them drop their sails out in the roads and use their diesel engines to manoeuvre into harbour. Over time the improvements in maritime technologies together with better understanding and familiarisation with environmental conditions led to sea routes moving further away from land with, eventually, major sea and cross-ocean journeys being undertaken. For example, it is only a relatively short time ago that the people of England were concerned that their compatriots in Kent might side with the French due to their maritime links across the Channel.
Although there has been some investigation into this element of Chinese history, not much is yet known in the West of these craft, the science and technologies behind them, and their influence on craft, navigation and marine sciences in the Indian Ocean and Gulf.
But at least it introduced these new craft into the Gulf where their effectiveness in different conditions would have been noted and learned from by local boat builders. As can be seen in the photograph, the planks are held with a cross stitch using a material such as leather or a suitable natural material, perhaps a root or a coir or coconut rope. This movement, they say, is very suggestive of a live animal and suggests this as being the reason that the prows of Viking longships was cusomarily carved in the form of a figurative, dragon’s head which also had a talismanic character to it.
A pulley system such as contained in this block will, theoretically, enable the effort put into hoisting to be improved by a factor of eight – less friction. To the merchants pearls are not only items of intrinsic value, but they each have memories associated with their finding.
The boats would be pulled up onto the sand, rather than being left in the water, and the nets were stored and mended along the beach and outside the houses of the fishermen.
Here the catches were brought in and sold with small boys carrying out some of the preparation for customers, such as gutting fish and peeling prawns.
It may not have caught large fish, but there always seemed to be a lot of smaller ones visible in the shallows.
In the second photograph, the rolled up semi-completed cages can be seen stock-piled prior to their bases being attached. Curiously, the stem piece has been cut down and even appears to have a forward crank in its leading edge. Those who can afford it can usually afford to employ somebody to look after and helm the boat when it is taken to sea, and the boats are usually available at short notice. There is considerable decorative naturalistic carving enlivening the hull and columns supporting the stern shade structure. Without a doubt it is an attractive craft and, if I am right about the construction, I have no difficulty with the copying of a traditional form in a different material. The sharpened, diamond-shaped bit on the drill is remarkably effective in the right hands, the bow drill giving substantial control to the operator and allowing slow or relatively fast speeds to be used when drilling.
With traditional nails, which were made from wrought iron, this produced an extremely strong fixing, one which was very difficult to work loose. Where the craft are being built for recreation, more time is needed to provide the higher standards of finish and equipment that recreational staff require. The projecting strakes that are characteristic of the stern of the shuw’i have yet to be fitted. A pair of anchor bitts can be seen standing each side of the prow to which mooring ropes or anchors can be attached for mooring or anchorage. This example has turned wooden balustrades alternating with metal rods, and there are also carved rosettes decorating its edges. One authority suggests that those craft with a thick and short prow are female, and those with a long and fine prow are male. The second photograph was taken later in the same year but also early in the morning, again showing the fishing craft waiting for high water be taken out to sea.
The diagram illustrates not only the changeability of the winds, but it also reflects the dominance of the north-north west shamal within the Gulf.
It’s possible, of course, that the French might have had similar fears about their Normandy and Picardy sailors siding with the English.
Note that this block is made of a hard wood and appears to have metal sheaves or pulley wheels within it. It is fascinating to see a merchant take out the rolls in which he keeps pearls and fondle them as he recalls and recounts their individual histories. The top photograph, although taken recently at Wakra, shows something of the character of these villages as they would have appeared in the past with their boats drawn up along the beach.
The third photograph, below, is a detail showing the bases being attached in order to complete this cage’s construction. More dramatically, blue and white diagonal painting has been introduced to pick out horizontal elements of the hull. If you compare this with comments I have made about pastiche in traditional building, then I think this is a reasonable and well executed way of designing modern boats. While both craft have square windows, those on this shuw’i look cruder as they are not masked by the extended cabin roof. The stem post on which the rudder will be attached is in place, and provision has been made to take the propellor, forward of the post below the waterline.
As with any industry there are those who specialise in different elements of the manufacture of these craft; some build, some decorate and, in the suq there is even a model boat builder brought in produce models for the tourism industry.
The third photograph was taken in August 1976 and shows a mixture of traditional craft pulled up onto the side of the fill being used to create the New District of Doha, and before the edge was fully trimmed and the Corniche developed.
It also illustrates the dominance of Oman between the two bodies of the Gulf and the Red Sea. Externally it is bound with both hemp rope and metal in order to retain its strength against the strong loads that act upon it. From the point of view of this page of the notes, the most important point to bear in mind is that the boats were not only wind powered, but rowed by their crew as can be seen above. The lower photograph was taken in early 1972 and shows how little has changed – though I notice that the architectural treatment of the nearest building has been amended. It is not clear to me what function the three painted bands forward of the stern represent. These decisions have, to my mind, compromised the design of the traditional shuw’i and, while times change, this really is not an attractive addition to the marine fleet.
The three photographs illustrates something of the manner in which the fishermen of Doha and al-Bida used the shallows to beach their craft when returned from the sea.
There is also evidence of the stagnation caused by the sand bar that gradually moved south to restrict sea access to the foreshore. The second photograph shows another block of sheaves at the head of the mast, the reciprocal of that in the first photograph.



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