THE ORIGINS OF LATEEN SAIL NAVIGATION AND ITS PRESENT STATE ON THE CATALONIAN COAST
Thursday, April 29, 2021, 17.00 CET, via zoom
(no registration or password required)
The lateen rig is a triangular sail set on a long yard mounted at an angle on the mast, and running in a fore-and-aft direction. Dating back to Roman navigation, the lateen became the favorite sail of the Age of Discovery, mainly because it allows a boat to tack “against the wind”. It is still common in the Mediterranean and the northwestern parts of the Indian Ocean, where it is the standard rig for feluccas and dhows. Also, on some parts of the river Nile, it is still in standard use.
This webinar deals with the lateen sails especially in Catalonia, where it is still a common sight.
Francesc Despuig Carreras was born November 1957 in Girona (Catalonia). Educated in Barcelona, he first started work as a photographer’s assistant in 1977, before doing his military service in Madrid until 1979. He met his British wife Joanna, and they had their first child in 1980. For three years he was a chef in his own restaurant in Barcelona, until 1984 when their family moved to the U.K.. In 1987 he began his first employment in the boatbuilding industry, working on wooden interiors at Prout Catamarans in Canvey Island. This was followed by a move to David Moss boatyard in Lancashire.
In 1991, homesick for the Mediterranean, the family returned to his mother’s home town of Cadaqués (Catalonia), where his second son was born. In this 30 years he has restored more than 30 small “llaguts” (Catalan tradicional boats between 4 and 7 m), some of them with lateen sails.
There have been full restorations of memorable boats like Sant Isidre (1925) a lateen sail trawler 14,60 m which took 5 years, Sant Elm lateen sail fishing boat 11m “Sardinal from Catalunya Nord), motor yacht Adaya 18 m built in Mallorca, and all the spars and main mast of the Stow & Son 36m gaff yawl Rosalind built in 1904, restoration of Islander a 17m G. L. Watson design built in 1937 by Dickie & Sons.
Between the restorations there have been designs of his own: Ulises 5 m, Ossian 7,4 m, Kuyunut 6 m, Carmen 8,4 m (under construction), all of them with lateen sail.
He continues to work designing, building, repairing and restoring solely wooden boats.