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dhow | by Richard Avedon.
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The dhow is the traditional Arab sailing vessel indigenous to the coasts of the Arabian peninsula, India and East Africa. Dhow captains are experts in using the wind and the monsoon to traverse extensive distances for thousands of years, dating back to the Mesopotamian empire. The efficient triangular sail is called a lateen and the traditional navigating device is the kamal which determines latitude from the the height of the Pole Star above the horizon.


Up to now, dhow-making is a sustainable industry in Zanzibar where a sizeable commercial fishing vessel of teak construction may cost about $10,000, at least in one workshop we visited. Be it a simple dugout with planks as hull or a modern keel shell with attached sewn ribbing, the dhow is acknowledged as the finest expression of the seafaring tradition of the Arabs.


the Zanzibar Channel, Zanzibar, Tanzania, East Africa


featured in 48 Hours in Zanzibar at

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Taken on November 9, 2005