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martes 26 septiembre 2017



Bertan > Our boats > Freight launches and quechemarines
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Freight launches and quechemarines


Basque freight launches were a product of the adaptation of fishing launches for transport purposes. For centuries, until they were supplanted by motor boats, they retained the same essential features. The freight launch had an internal space free of thwarts for stowing cargo. They were also often of greater capacity, although they were manned by a crew of about five. In France, developments were introduced to the freight launch, resulting in a type of boat known as the chassemarée or quechemarín in Spanish (a two-masted lugger). In the eighteenth century the quechemarín, which was initially similar to the launch was gradually transformed into a separate vessel, which could be used both for fishing and for minor coastal traffic. A local adaptation developed along the coast of Brittany and Normandy was called bisquine; etymologically, the term comes from the word biscayenne or Biscayan.

It is apparently similar to the cargo launch; however below
the waterline the sternpost is deeper, making the bow entrance
more vertical and thus improving sailing close to the wind. This
boat was later fitted with a mizzen and the tonnage was increased;
in this way it gradually evolved into an entirely separate vessel.
It is apparently similar to the cargo launch; however below the waterline the sternpost is deeper, making the bow entrance more vertical and thus improving sailing close to the wind. This boat was later fitted with a mizzen and the tonnage was increased; in this way it gradually evolved into an entirely separate vessel. © José Lopez
This cargo launch was built in the last period of sail power in
the Basque Country. The large sail area and the radical design were
a reaction to the threat of motor-driven ships.
Note the foresail, which is nearly as big as the mainsail. Both are
built “al sexto” and the mainsail, because of its size, is hauled in to
the foot of the mast to facilitate the manoeuvre. "Nuestra Señora de
la Concepción", one of three pleitxeruak (cargo ships) belonging to
Simón Berasaluze Arrieta. Copy of the oil painting painted in
Bayonne by G. Gréze, in 1878". Oil painting by Simón Berasaluze
Aginagalde.
This cargo launch was built in the last period of sail power in the Basque Country. The large sail area and the radical design were a reaction to the threat of motor-driven ships. Note the foresail, which is nearly as big as the mainsail. Both are built “al sexto” and the mainsail, because of its size, is hauled in to the foot of the mast to facilitate the manoeuvre. "Nuestra Señora de la Concepción", one of three pleitxeruak (cargo ships) belonging to Simón Berasaluze Arrieta. Copy of the oil painting painted in Bayonne by G. Gréze, in 1878". Oil painting by Simón Berasaluze Aginagalde. © José Lopez

Line drawing of a cargo launch. This nineteenth century cargo
launch, built by the Mutiozabal shipyard in Orio reflects some of
the common features of this type of vessel. The shallow draft and
water lines of the hull were similar to contemporary fishing launches,
and they also had fore and main sails. However the cargo
launches were larger, with a capacity of between twelve and sixty
tonnes.
Line drawing of a cargo launch. This nineteenth century cargo launch, built by the Mutiozabal shipyard in Orio reflects some of the common features of this type of vessel. The shallow draft and water lines of the hull were similar to contemporary fishing launches, and they also had fore and main sails. However the cargo launches were larger, with a capacity of between twelve and sixty tonnes. © José Lopez

The full shape of the hull of the quechemarín necessitated a
large sail area for sailing in gentle winds: mainsail and foresail with
its topsail, plus the jibs and the mizzen, which helped improve the
boat’s steerage with a bow wind, making the helmsman's task easier.
Sudden changes in weather in the Bay of Biscay make it essential
to be able to lower the sails quickly, so the boat is designed to
sail in a stiff breeze. If the wind gets up even more, the amount of
sail can be reduced to just the mainsail and the fore, in a rig that
is very typical of the chalupa.
The full shape of the hull of the quechemarín necessitated a large sail area for sailing in gentle winds: mainsail and foresail with its topsail, plus the jibs and the mizzen, which helped improve the boat’s steerage with a bow wind, making the helmsman's task easier. Sudden changes in weather in the Bay of Biscay make it essential to be able to lower the sails quickly, so the boat is designed to sail in a stiff breeze. If the wind gets up even more, the amount of sail can be reduced to just the mainsail and the fore, in a rig that is very typical of the chalupa. © José Lopez

Rib frame of a freight skiff, Zumaia, 1869. The inherent instability
of any boat with a shallow draft was compensated for in the
flat-bottomed skiffs. At the same time, these shapes maximised the
cargo capacity. The shallow draft of these vessels required the use
of a side keel to reduce drift.
Rib frame of a freight skiff, Zumaia, 1869. The inherent instability of any boat with a shallow draft was compensated for in the flat-bottomed skiffs. At the same time, these shapes maximised the cargo capacity. The shallow draft of these vessels required the use of a side keel to reduce drift. © José Lopez
Plan of spars on a cachemarín (quechemarín). The picture
clear-ly shows the complexity of the spars and shrouds needed to
hold up the mast and its topmasts. We can also see the rows of
reefs used to reduce the surface of the lower sail, and a small
mizzen topsail.
Plan of spars on a cachemarín (quechemarín). The picture clear-ly shows the complexity of the spars and shrouds needed to hold up the mast and its topmasts. We can also see the rows of reefs used to reduce the surface of the lower sail, and a small mizzen topsail. © José Lopez

The Granvillaise is a replica of one of the last bisquines. She
was built in 1990 in Granville, in the bay of Saint-Malo by the
Association des Vieux Agréements. Sailing trials have confirmed
the extraordinary nautical qualities of this type of ship, which is
particularly manoeuvrable.
The Granvillaise is a replica of one of the last bisquines. She was built in 1990 in Granville, in the bay of Saint-Malo by the Association des Vieux Agréements. Sailing trials have confirmed the extraordinary nautical qualities of this type of ship, which is particularly manoeuvrable. © José Lopez

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