The Malay Peninsula


  The greater part of this
  chapter is reprinted, by
  kind permission of the
  Society of Arts, from the
  Journal of the Society
  for May 1902.


HAVING regard to the wide reputation which the Malays have earned for themselves as a maritime people in Eastern seas, it is, at first sight, not a little remarkable that, so far as the Malay Peninsula is concerned, they have developed until lately no really able type of sea-going boat. European writers have credited the Malays with building boats, the lines of which are unsurpassed by European types; yet so far as the writer has been able to discover, no specimen answering to such a description is to be met with in the peninsula. The characteristics of build are small displacement, hollow lines, V-shaped sections and sharp floors, shallow draught, lack of beam, and a consequent want of stability and weatherliness. An inquiry into local conditions, however, explains much. Two main factors have been at work influencing the development of boats and tending to produce the results arrived at. In the first place the rivers, which almost invariably constitute the ports of the peninsula, are, with scarcely one exception, protected by very shallow bars of sand or mud, which make it impossible for a deep-bodied boat to obtain shelter within them. These bars are caused by the vast quantities of detritus brought down by the rivers in flood-time, as a result of the very heavy tropical rainfall : *1* detrital fans of mud are deposited around their mouths, over which the mangroves steadily grope their way out to sea; the current keeps open a channel, which is of fair depth within but shallow and shifting upon the bar, varying often with the strength and direction of the wind prevailing outside. In many parts of the Peninsula the onshore monsoon causes wholesale alterations in the banks and channels of these bars, and leaves enormous deposits of sand in the river entrances, through which the fresh water has to cut a new channel to the sea nearly every season. Safely ensconced within these creeks, protected from observation by the mangroves and from pursuit by the shallow bars, the old Malay pirates scarcely sixty years ago used to watch the seaboard traffic of the Straits and swarm out upon their chosen prey.

*1* Upwards of one hundred and ten inches per annum in some inland districts.

When pursued by the boats of the Royal Navy, they would make good their escape by just bumping over a friendly bar where their pursuers could not follow them, and then turning aside up some of the innumerable creeks that intersect the mangrove swamps near the river mouths. Hence came the necessity for shallow draught and small tonnage.

A second factor, scarcely less potent, so far as the west coast of the Peninsula from Penang to Singapore is concerned, has been the variable character of the light breezes prevailing in the Straits of Malacca.

The monsoon currents of the neighbouring seas do not blow with any regularity or force owing to the protection afforded by the island of Sumatra on the south-west and the Peninsula on the east; and the usual light winds are varied only by occasional south-westerly squalls of great violence but short duration known as 'Sumatras.'



A third factor was the strength of the tides, which, on the Selangor coastline, have a rise and fall of twenty feet or more. The lot of the sailing-vessel in this neighbourhood is thus precarious; racing tides and baffling winds and calms make progress very slow. Hence mechanical propulsion by oars or paddles was the first necessity of the old-time Malay seaman in the Straits as with the early sailors of the Mediterranean; sails were merely an occasional convenience. The Malay soon found that a long light craft, having plenty of accommodation along its sides for paddlers, was by far the best adapted to the navigation of these waters and, moreover, had the sailing-vessel at its mercy nine times out of ten--a very pleasing feature in the eyes of the Malay at the time when the Straits of Malacca served as the high-road for all the sailing tonnage of the Eastern trade. Moreover, the lack of freeboard suitable for manual propulsion was not a serious danger in a locality where heavy weather is so little known. Hence it came about that the long 'canoe' form of craft established itself as the most suitable type and that not only as was natural for the river navigation of the interior, but also for the estuaries and the more open waters of the Straits. Steam and the growth of the British power in the Straits have combined to make impossible the old buccaneering pursuits dear to the heart of the Malay sailor, and he is now constrained to ship as a fo'c's'le hand in Penang or Singapore steamers, or make sailing voyages up and down the coasts as a commonplace unromantic trader or peaceful fisherman, with few chances of plunder, and even less opportunity for using his kriss.

The foregoing remarks are not, however, entirely applicable to the east coast of the Peninsula, where during the prevalence of the north-east monsoon in the China Sea, strong gales with heavy sea and violent rain blow havoc upon the unprotected coastline. At first sight, then, we might have expected to find some powerful sea-keeping boats on this coast, but, in fact, we find practically the same types as on the sheltered waters of the Malacca Straits. The explanation is easy. During the prevalence of the onshore monsoon, the bars at the entrance to the rivers, which form the only ports, are a whirling mass of breaking seas, through which only during rare lulls in the weather can any vessel pass with safety. To such an extent indeed is this the case, that the north-east monsoon is called by the Malays 'Musim Tutop Kuala,' or the 'shut-port (i.e. close) season.'


From the shelving beaches thrown up by the monsoon it is, of course, impossible to launch a boat. Hence from October or November to February or later, according to the strength of the weather, the whole coast is shut up so far as local navigation is concerned. An occasional high-sided Chinese junk will now and then venture along the coast, but communication in most cases becomes easier across the Peninsula, and the men of Patani and Singora find it simpler to cross overland to Kedah to reach the west coast than to attempt to get out across the dangerous bars and through the heavy sea raging on the eastern coast.

During the open season the weather is not unlike that in the Straits, bringing light sea and land breezes varied by occasional squalls. Then the Malay fishermen run their long canoes down the beach and put to sea again, and the traders creep out with new mat-sails to resume their coasting voyages.


Owing to lack of ports free from shallow bars large displacement is impossible, and for the fishermen light canoe-like craft are preferred, as they launch easily from the beach and can be paddled at high speeds to come up with fish. Hence deep-bodied boats are again generally absent on this coast, and as the centreboard and leeboard are not known the paddle retains its importance for working to windward. It must be added, however, that for some trades, involving long voyages and calls at deepwater ports, the advantages of big-bodied craft are fully recognised by the Peninsular Malays, and that between Singapore and Siamese ports, for instance, fine vessels of two hundred tons, built on European lines, are frequently to be met with. They are rather nondescript craft, often with overhanging clipper-stems and a superabundance of deck-houses. The masts are generally very light and crooked-grown spars; the rigging and gear aloft make up in quantity what is lacking in quality.


They are generally rigged with two nearly equal-sized masts and bowsprit on which from one to three jibs are set. The mainsail and foresail are either Chinese lugs or on the European fore-and-aft plan, the gaff being a standing spar controlled by vangs. The sail is set by hauling out along it and taken in by brails to the mast, and long topmasts with short double-spar crosstrees and jib-headed top-sails are used. The sails are of light material when they are not, as in the case of regular Chinese or Malay lugs, made of matting, and they seldom set very flat.

The true Malay sail, however, is nothing more than an adaptation of the original and primitive square-cut sail of the early navigators, and this sail is used still in the majority of the Malay fishing-craft and small traders, matting being the material preferred. It is used in its most typical form by the primitive Orang Laut on the west coast, north of latitude seven.


These primitive folk have practically no homes but the kadjang coverings of their boats, which they moor in snug anchorages among the islands. The penjajaps, the traders of the more civilised Malays on the east coast, also use this sail. A boom along the foot is almost as necessary as a yard along the head. The Malays, by the simple expedient of tilting the sail forward so as to bring the tack right to the deck, have long converted this square-cut sail into what is practically a lugsail, the most powerful of lifting sails on a wind. The dipping lug is set taut along the luff by a spar bowline fitting in a cringle, the lower end of which comes to the deck abaft the mast, as was the custom in the old Scotch skaffies. The yard being too light to stand alone by the wind, is invariably controlled by a vang. The unhandiness of the dipping lug in tacking is felt to the full with this sail owing to the stiffness and weight given to it by the material of which it is made and the boom along the foot, and the operation of lowering and shifting sail is such a long one that the anchor is often thrown over while the manoeuvre is gone through with the two big sails of the penjajap.


The devotion of the Malays to top-hamper in the shape of raised deck-houses and outrigged super-structures over the bow and stern is shared with many other Eastern races, and is, no doubt, largely owing to lack of body in their craft. In boats with sharp and fine lines the cargo, whether of fish or merchandise, has often to lie high, and consequently all the accommodation for the crew is high up, and every foot of extra space which can be built on in this manner is so much added to their comfort and to convenience in working the vessel. The galleries built out over the bows of the larger craft, both of Malays and Chinese, are used for working and storing the anchors, just as was the case in the vessels of the classical and mediaeval seamen who used the fore-galleries for the storage of their anchors; and in boats which are often so lean about the quarters, the little stern galleries and rails add greatly to the comfort and safety of the steersman and of men handling the mainsail.


Even in the smallest canoes, which most of us would think crank under any circumstances, there is generally in the East a grating (or lattice) forming a raised floor, within an inch or two of the top of the gunwale, upon which the crew is accommodated. It can certainly not be claimed that such an arrangement conduces to stability; yet such good watermen are these warm-water sailors, and the Malays in particular, that even long coasting voyages are undertaken in such craft without any apparent anxiety as to the result.

The penjajap on the east coast is often a rather unsuccessful imitation of European build, with transom-stern half concealed by the overhanging stern galleries. There is generally plenty of show; but the boat is very wall-sided, with insufficient beam, which facts combine to spoil her appearance on a close inspection, although she looks smart enough a little distance off.


The writer has seen these boats nearly on their beams' ends when caught by a heavy squall at anchor, though with no thing but their slender masts aloft, a fact largely caused by the want of under-water body in the hull, and the amount of top-hamper by way of accommodation on deck. A bundle of bamboos along under each gunwale frequently adds some much-needed stability of the kind supplied by the outrigger, and provides a store from which to renew broken spars. Yet crank as these craft seem, the Malays manage to make their way for long distances in them with very few accidents.

No fact could form more conclusive evidence of their pluck and skill.

The Malay, like a true seaman, takes a great pride in his vessel, and if his ideas of ornamental decoration do not always accord with those of the West, he has, at all events, never been guilty of producing such scarecrows of the seas as many of the tramp steamers at this moment lying in the port of London. In rigging, as already hinted, he is partial to slender, lofty masts, and if his vessel is large enough, he indulges in two masts of nearly equal height, to which is generally given a very smart rake forward.


Under Chinese sails, the advantages of which over the dipping lug have been recognised by many on the east coast, the Malay may be distinguished from the Chinaman at sea, when yet hull down, by the equal size of the big sails, and the invariable absence of any mizen. The hull is also low and long, with no many-storied castle aft, but merely a kadjang, or thatch awning, over the raised, overhanging poop, or a simple dandan, or gallery. There is something of the yachtsman in the Malay, and he is much addicted to graceful little vanities about the stem-head and stern-post of his small boats; and so greatly does he hold the figurehead in estimation, that a class of boat is often named after the form given to the stem-head. European influence may now be seen at work, to a greater or less degree, in almost every class of rig in the ports of the Peninsula; but the Malay, more than any other Oriental, has adopted the jib, or three-corner staysail.


This essentially modern product of Western Europe he uses not only in the large traders already referred to, but also in the kolek, or 'sea-canoe' of Singapore, in which also the old Malay lug has been altogether discarded, especially for racing purposes, in favour of the spritsail. The staysail is recognised as the most convenient form of head-sail to prevent excessive griping, and does not involve the disadvantages of the weight of a mast right in the eyes of the boat.

It will thus be seen that, from a variety of causes, with which the physical geography and the meteorology of the Peninsula have much to do, the canoe shape, the canoe idea predominates in most of the boats of the Malay Peninsula. It may, in fact, be said that the maritime enterprise of its inhabitants obviously commenced with the canoe and continued with the canoe, and that its highest form of development has resulted in a craft of larger dimensions, which yet in all essential particulars still remains -- a canoe.


The nomenclature employed by the Malays for their boats appears to the traveller at first to be unnecessarily intricate. Closer attention, however, soon shows that the name, as has indeed been already suggested, is very rarely derived from the rig, as is so much the case in Europe, but rather from distinctions, which often seem to the stranger to be comparatively insignificant, in the hulls or build. Nearly every water-side settlement of any importance having developed its own ideas of ornamentation or of construction, it is not to be wondered at that boats which might well be classed under one head, as far as all essential particulars are concerned, yet come under the observation of the traveller under widely different names, differing often merely with the locality of their origin. For instance, a number of otherwise very similar boats are named --

(a) simply after the form of figurehead, to the frequency of which reference has already been made, e.g. the hornbill boat, *1* the crocodile boat ; *2*


(b) from some peculiarity in construction, e.g. the Patani 'half-decked' *3* boat (literally, boat with decked fore-part), or the 'civet-fence' *4* boat, which is nothing but a form of the type generally known as penjajap, to which a peculiarly ornamental bulwark or rail is given.


A large number of boats, as might be expected, are distinguished by the use for which they are built, e.g. the 'boat for going up-stream,' *5* and various types of fishing boat ; *6* others are of purely local significance, e.g. 'banting' (an Achinese type), while several appear to be derived from European names, e.g. 'skonar' (schooner), and 'pinis' (pinnace), and perhaps 'kichi' (ketch), 'skuchi' (scotchy), and 'katar' ' (cutter).

*1* 'Prahu Enggang'

*2* 'Prahu Buaya'

*3* 'Katop Luan'

*4* 'Pagar Tenggalong'

*5* 'Prahu Pemudik'; from 'mudik,' to go upstream.

*6* 'Prahu ikan,' or 'per-ikan' ; from 'Ikan,' fish.

It is noticeable that, in most of their larger boats, the Malays have adopted the comparatively modern method of slinging the rudder by metal fastenings on the stern-post, known afloat as 'gudgeons' and 'pintles.'


In many of their dug-out canoes, in the kolek and some of the non-European types of fishing-boats *1* of Selangor and the east coast, for instance, the rudder consists of the simple paddle held on the quarter, or a paddle-shaped rudder slung at the head on a stout upright, and held at the neck by a rattan lashing. This, as already pointed out, is the earliest and simplest form of rudder known to man. It was that used, as noted elsewhere, in the ships of the earliest navigators of the Mediterranean of whom we have record, *2* and it remained, with slight modifications, as the usual steering contrivance of the Egyptians, of the Greeks and Romans, and of the Danes and Saxons and Normans, down to mediaeval times.

*1* e.g. the kakap jeram.

*2* e.g. the records of craft in Egypt so steered from the time of the third dynasty (about 6000 BC), mentioned above.

It is much used in some of the craft of the northern portion of the Gulf of Siam, and it may be rioted that this form of rudder is always used on the lee quarter, if, as is usual, the boat carries a weather helm, this position giving far greater power and deeper immersion.

The Malays do not use oars to a great extent, except with the bigger-decked vessels. These oars are somewhat heavy about the loom, and have often sharp-pointed blades, shaped rather like a broad angular spear-head. They are generally worked in a rattan grommet to a sharp, quick stroke, any other kind of stroke being impossible owing to the friction in the grommet and the shortness of the oar. The 'standing up and pushing' ('salmon-stroke' or 'sculling') position, common with the Siamese and Chinese and in the Mediterranean, is, on the whole, rarely adopted by the Malays. In the smaller craft, with low freeboard, the paddle is used, the blades in some localities having the same angular spear-shape.



The Malays usually follow the general Indo-Chinese method of construction in the first stages, at all events, of their smaller boats.

A selected tree is laboriously hollowed out by the adze until the sides are sufficiently thinned to open out under pressure and the judicious application of heat by a slow-burning ember fire beneath the bottom. The fore and aft ends are roughly modelled with the adze. Before proceeding further, the hull is at this stage frequently soaked for some days in the water. In many parts of Siam and Burma the presence of a monastery can be almost certainly predicted by the little fleet of hewn modelled hulls lying sunk beside a landing-place, a sure sign of the boat-building propensities of the brethren of the yellow robe close by. When sufficiently soaked, the opening-out process begins.

Various methods are used for the purpose of opening out the dug-out. In some cases water is placed inside the dug-out hull, and hot embers are placed upon the ground underneath it, and kept at the required temperature until the sides have opened out sufficiently to take ribs, knees, and cross-pieces. The sides, in falling out, come down to the level of bow and stern, and your up-river canoe is now complete.

Another method of opening the dug-out hull is often used. To the perpendiculars on each side cross-pieces are securely lashed under the hull. A similar number of cross-pieces are placed above the hull, over the lower ones, and connected by a strong double rattan rope. Through these rattans hardwood levers or handles are placed to give a purchase, and are then twisted round and round bringing the ends of the cross-pieces together. This pressure is kept constant while water and hot embers are applied, as necessary.

Two dug-outs may sometimes be seen being cut from one log; the inner and smaller one is worked out by the driving of stout wedges. In order to facilitate the heavy work of driving home these wedges, a low scaffolding is erected alongside one of the canoes for the wedger to stand upon, and the log itself is turned over till it lies at a convenient angle, by means of a lever placed underneath it, the end of the lever being raised by a rope made fast to a windlass. Sometimes a simple floor or keel-piece is used, on which the boat is subsequently built up. In this case stem and stern pieces will be worked in. The sides are rabbeted into the floor-piece, and the upper strakes built on as in an ordinary carvel-built boat. The simple dug-out form having been obtained, the upper strakes can be built on, the ribs being carried up to receive them. For this purpose the planks are bent by various ingenious applications of levers and hot embers. Many clever devices are used by the Malays for getting the necessary power, and the boat-builder has many arrangements of stout upright pegs about his shop or in his compound, set to all possible curves and angles which he is wont to use.

In the inland sea of Singora many dug-outs may be seen, built up with strake on strake, in the most unblushing way, without any attempt to hide the roughest method of boat-building perhaps to be seen anywhere. No attempt is made to work in stem and stern posts. The ends are blocked across a foot or two inside the end of the boat's nose or tail, if one may use the expression, thus forming thwartship water-tight bulkheads. The two or three strakes, often variously coloured, are built on, and the topmost one is utilised to give a finish to the whole, by being extended and turned up forward, and carried out to form a steersman's staging some way aft. The almost submerged noses of these boats, which are really more Siamese than Malay in type, have generally a most pathetic expression of protest.


It reminded my imaginative Siamese of the wistful look on the face of a puppy when thrown into the water for the first time. They draw very little water, and are used all over the lake, being able to navigate the shallows which now form so large a portion of it. They are usually rigged, not with the Malay lug, but the Siamese high-pointed standing lug, a far handier and handsomer sail. For these the very light yellow matting is used, which is almost universal in the upper portion of the Gulf of Siam.

There is a further method of warping planks by aid of a fire, by which, when the planks are ready to go on as upper strakes, they are fixed in position, and built up upon the dug-out keel and floor portion of the boat, which has already been opened out to the required extent. These strakes, as they are put on, are held in position by a system of bamboo ties, and secured by rattan lashings.


The last stages of the Malay boat differ with the district. In many cases a beautiful finish is given to the fittings, and a shining polish to the under-water portion of the hull At this stage half the village may be found at the boat-builder's, polishing or criticizing with much energy and enthusiasm.


Peninsular Types

Among the more noticeable types of boat may be mentioned the Kakap Jeram. This is a typical Malay fishing-boat of the Selangor coast. Kakap means 'spy' or 'scout,' or 'look-out,' and Jeram is the name of a big fishing-village in the Kuala Selangor district (of Selangor), from which this boat took its name of the Jeram scouter. The rig is practically the same as that of the nadir. The sketch shows the figure head and ornamented stern-post, and the long paddle rudder already described. The gratings on which the crew are accommodated are shown, and along each side forming the gunwale may be seen a wash-strake formed of strong lacing of split bamboo strips, stoutly sewn together with bamboo withies, and filled in with palm-leaf, the whole held in position by lashings to knees brought up from the boat's ribs. This is a very usual form of wash-strake in Malay boats and is much used by the Orang Laut, or sea-dwelling Malays of the west coast. It is strong, light, and effective. It is given considerable flare at each quarter. The equivalent of the lumber irons used in European fishing-craft is provided by loops of rattan on the starboard side, and here the punt-poles and other spars are stowed. Forward will be noticed a peculiar form of bits, stretching athwartships, used for winding the cable upon, as well as bitting it ; *1* it is used by the Siamese as well as by the Malays.

The kolek *2* -- literally the 'rocker' or wobbler, from its crank build -- is a very common form of small canoe. The term sampan, a word of apparently Chinese origin, which is given generally to any small, especially Chinese, boat, is also frequently applied to these canoes. The kolek is the usual form of small sea-fishing canoe, the stem and stern posts are generally high and pointed, with some decorative paint-work or other ornamentation.

*1* Dimensions : 13 feet by 7 feet by 3 feet; 1 foot freeboard; capacity, 2 koy; crew of 3; length of mast, 23 feet; material, meranti.

*2* Klinkert says : 'The small variety for one person only; but big ones hold ten or more persons.'


By kind permission of the Editor of the Yachtsman

It is generally carvel-built, with a shapely hull and prettily rounded forefoot; but there is very little bilge, and consequently small stability, which, combined with the low canoe-like freeboard, makes these boats somewhat tricky to the novice. The peculiar 'crabs' eyes' are frequently to be seen in these boats. They carry single or double lugsails, according to length. Ill the former case, the tack of the sail is usually belayed at the mast, so as to form a standing sail. In these little boats the young Malays generally get their first lessons in sailing. In the longer boats, with larger crews, two dipping lugs of the usual Malay type are generally preferred. *1* Some of these boats are said by the Malays to carry the 'sabang' sail.


Klinkert describes this as 'the sail of a small boat which has no tackle except a brace, but has instead a kind of "sokong" (= prop)'. This presumably means a spritsail, set up by its spreet -- no other sail so exactly answering to this description. In Singapore the koleks have developed into long boats used a good deal in racing, rigged with large cloth-made spreet mainsail and stay foresail, and manned by a large crew of twenty or more, who act as live ballast out to windward.

*1* Dimensions of five-man boat : Length, 24 feet; beam, 4 feet; depth, 2 feet; freeboard, 1 foot; capacity, 20 pik; length of mast, 24 feet.

In a fresh breeze they stand on the gunwale, and, holding on to man-ropes leading from the mast, lean out all their length to windward. These boats are very slippy with the wind abaft the beam, for, with a length of 45 feet, they have a beam of not more than 5 feet 6 inches, and a draught of about 2 feet. But they have no grip for weatherly work. The increase of the lateral resistance by the introduction of a centre-board would probably result in enabling these boats to perform well on a wind in smooth water.

The Lancha or Lanchang is an approach to a sea-keeping type of vessel. She is rigged with the ordinary square-headed dipping lugsails, which are of nearly equal size as in the penjajap. The lofty slender masts are well stayed, and are stepped in tabernacles of a kind which is common to the Malays, and both are raked forward. The sails are made of the screw-palm with cloth tops, and there are main and peak halyards.

The vessel has a clipper stem, over which the fore-gallery is built for the anchors; this also acts as a bumkin or bowsprit for spreading the tack of the foresail. A comparatively commodious deck cabin and stern gallery are added over the straight stern-post. The hull is carvel-built on very European lines, but has no great depth.

In Selangor it is affirmed that the Lanchang is a type of boat which was frequently owned by Malay Rajas on the Sumatran coast, and to this day in Selangor it is this royal vessel which is dedicated to the service of the spirits, when the medicine-man invites them to sail away.

The Lanchang To'Aru (Bandar) is very similar to the other Lanchang in hull, but is fore-and-aft rigged with the long topmasts and other peculiarities mentioned above. To'Aru was one of the council of four great chiefs of Selangor who in former days had much power, to whom the election of the Sultan was intrusted. He was the most powerful of the four, and took his name from a district called Aru *1* in Sumatra, from which he came over to settle in Selangor. Bandar was the site of his home on the Langat River. He appears to have been a go-ahead seaman and to have realised the advantages of the European fore-and-aft two-masted rig even for vessels of strictly Malay build.

The Nadir is a shallow-draught fishing-boat of the Malacca coast, carvel-built, and with straight stem and stern posts of European type. *2* The rig is a single lug. the tack or fore-end of the boom being made fast well forward of the mast on the weather bow. The luff is set taut by a spar bowline fitted in a cringle, the after-end coming to the deck abaft the mast. There is a peak as well as a main halyard, both in single parts; the sheet and vang are in one piece, and lead to the helmsman aft. There are spear-bladed paddles, and the kadjang, or attap-thatch shelter, used by the crew when riding to an anchor, is shown rolled up on the gratings.

*1* Aru is probably the same as the word Aru (also eru or 'ru) which is the name given to the Casuarina. The Siamese of the east explain the presence of this northern-looking tree, which grows in beautiful fringing groves along the sandy coasts of the Peninsula, by the legend that it was brought by the drift of the north-east monsoon, which impinges full upon the coastline, across the China Sea from Japan. It is a tree of good omen for it grows on non-malarious spots swept by the clean sea wind.

*2* Material : Kelidang ; dimensions 24 feet by (xxxx feet by 3 feet 3 inches; 1 foot freeboard; capacity, 1 koy; crew of 5; length of mast, 30 feet; screw pine-leaf sail.

The sail is reefed as in the Siamese Rua Pet by rolling round the main boom to the height required by help of a wooden pin at the fore-end which is used as a lever. A rope parrel, as is usual in these sails, keeps the yard to the mast. Such a boat would be enormously improved by centre or lee boards.

The Prahu Pelet (qv. Eng. pilot) is a thorough-going Malay as regards hull, with a low-cut imitation of a European gig's dipping lug, with the addition of the usual Malay boom and the vang to the yard.


These vangs are always necessary owing to the sails not being of sufficiently stout material to carry a stout luff-rope, by which the sail can be set up taut to stand on a wind, as is done in Europe.

The Tongkang Malayu is the Malay lighter of Singapore. This ketch rig is now much used in the cargo lighters of Singapore, and is a handy one for a small crew working about a crowded anchorage liable to sharp squalls. Mainsail and mizen are set by an Outhaul along the gaff, and are easily and rapidly taken in by being brailed to the mast. Many of these boats may be seen any day working in Singapore roads. There is also a class of lighter in Singapore rigged with a big flat-headed lugsail, somewhat like similar lighters at Rangun. They are big, powerful boats, well suited to their work. The rig is handy for going alongside ships, as involving very little gear, but here again the China lug is often used.






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