The Birth of a Legend
The Naga Pelangi is the first of the legendary "perahu besar" (big boat) of the Pinas-type built in decades.
She is a new boat in the tradition of the Malay wooden boat building which is thousands of years old:
The ancestors of the Malays, the Proto-Malays, were sailing people. Sailing they colonised the archipelagos and islands up to Polynesia and Madagascar since 2500 BC. For each purpose, for trading, fishing or piracy, they developed a design.
When Malacca became the center of the spice trade, the Malay Peninsula turned into a melting pot of the seafaring civilizations:
Indians, Chinese, Arabs and finally the Europeans arrived in their distinctive craft, inspiring the Malay boat-building.
Generations of seafaring, boat building Malays in their desire for the ever faster and more maneuverable vessel combined the positive elements and one result of this cultural interchange is our junk hybrid: the Terengganu junk schooner of the Pinas-type. Body, jib and bowsprit of the Pinas are of western origin, the two fully battened lug sails are Chinese. The peculiar building technique is indigenous to the Malay cultural sphere. The focus of the Malay wooden boat building is the island of Duyong in the estuary of
the Terengganu river on the east coast of the Malay Peninsula. Since the last sailing freighters of this type were decommissioned in the 1980s, the art of building them is on the brink of extinction. As the epitome of the maritime culture of the Malays, Naga Pelangi wishes to inspire the continuation of this heritage.