Videos, photos and information on the reconstruction of a 9th-century Arab ship, and its historic voyage from Oman to Singapore.
To view the interactive version you need to install Adobe Flash Player
The ship’s sails are made from woven palm that are plaited into strips about 75mm wide. They are then sewn together in bands that will run horizontally across the sail, until each sail measures 88 square metres.
The keel is the backbone of the ship. For a ship of this size the keel is relatively small - only about 15cm wide at the bow (the front). The light weight of the keel is offset by a heavy keelson – a timber fitted along the centre line over the keel. Thousands of holes, spaced 5 to 6cm apart, are drilled along the upper edges of the keel where the plankswill be attached.
The rope for the rigging is a type called manila, which comes from India. The rigging lines (their proper nautical name), are different diameters, ranging from 16mm to 50mm, depending on their function. Some lines are stays and shrouds, which help support the masts. Others aid the complex steering arrangement. And some are used to control the set of the sails or to raise and lower the yards and sails.
The ship has a number of transverse beams which penetrate the sides of the hull. The beams tie the sides of the ship together, and provide a foundation for the small forward and aft decks and removable palm-rib decking.
The planks on the ship are made from Afzelia africana timber and are about 4cm thick. No nails are used to build the ship – the wood planks are sewn together using thin strands of coconut rope.
The ship has two rudder systems: one is the main rudder controlled by a pair of ropes, while the other comprises a pair of quarter-rudders fitted near the stern on either side of the boat.