Phinisi Yachts in Indonesia – a UNESCO world heritage hotspot

Phinisi Yachts being built on the beach in Sulawesi

Phinisi yachts have been in use in Indonesia in Indonesia since centuries, but ancient tradition that is still part of the naval community today.

The Traditional Approach to Sulawesi Boat Building Culture is Now Part of World Cultural Heritage.

Indonesia, which lies on the equator is home to 1,800 islands that have for a long time inspired the art of sailing and boat building. In the last few years as the high seas trade and ports started to take shape and in the process led to human connections.

Trading and movements in the Indonesian Archipelago promoted diverse cultures on both land and sea. The sailors were not only spice makers, but they also took to boat building as a craft.

The moment you step into the country; you will see some relics pointing to the tradition of marine lifestyle that has spread many centuries. The United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization took notice of the cultural development. That is why sometime in December of 2017, Indonesia’s artistic input was officially in the history and books personified as the Phinisi.

A collective vote on the 12th session of UNESCO special sitting a made a statement that the culture of boat building in South Sulawesi is more than a site to behold and stamp it in the history books.

A’boya Phinisi Yacht at Sunset in Raja Ampat

The sailing vessel is also known as the Sulawesi Schooner, the outlook of the sail and the outstanding craft that has been practiced for more than 100 years has led to the development of many sailing boats.

The Schooner is the latest addition to UNESCO as a one of a kind vessel because of features like the batik, old narration styles, unique textile, the saman dance performed by Gayo people, and the special Kris dagger, etc.

The Phinisi as a Craft

The Phinisi was a sailing craft without an engine and was effectively used by the traders in the 19th and 20th centuries. The inhabitants of the south side of the Sulawesi were known to be cruising on a PhinisiYacht;this earned them a nickname Vikings of Southeast Asia. The Makassan and Bugis people made the most robust boats of that era.

Phinisi Boat Structure in Bira

The passing of knowledge and skills through different generations led to the expansion of the builders’ communities and the growth of Indonesian art in boat building. They built vessels that were all powerful, tall, and had great standing hooks.

Most of these vessels have been built on the beaches near the source of logs obtained near Kalimantan and Sulawesi forests. The entire vessel building process from logging to initial cruising meant many ceremonies and rituals had to take place.

To get the best Phinisi, you start by choosing the right tree to get exact results that you are looking for as the ceremonies were perfectly timed not to interfere with vessel completion.

In the early years, the use of teakwood was in plenty and was regarded to be the better option because of its oily nature, tight grain, and tensile strength. Teak has been consistently replaced by more robust materials such as Bangkirai and ironwood.

The Bangkirai is pleasant working with because it is regarded as one of the most substantial and hardest woods in Indonesia. Boat builders always look for this wood because it is resistant to termites and fungus.