Dunia Baru featured a second time in the July/August 2015 issue of Asia-Pacific Boating magazine, in a story about the Konjo people, the renowned boat-builders of Indonesia who built Dunia Baru. Here are snippets from the feature:
Captain Pak Haji Tandri is last of a breed – the last generation of Bugis sailors who voyaged along monsoon-defined trading routes across the length of Indonesia purely under the power of sail.
Pak Haji Wahab springs from a line of five generations of Ara shipwrights. “I started working on my first boat when I was 15 years old,” he says, smiling as we sit on the deck of the timber ship that is clearly his pride and joy. “I figure i must have built almost 60 boats in the last four decades. Dunia Baru was unique, though,. It turned out to be the perfect marriage of the finest Konjo boat-building tradition and the most advanced western marine technology.”
Several western yacht designers have embraced the Konjo traditions while at the same time raising the bar to new levels to meet modern expectations in terms of performance, durability and safety. None more so than Michael Kasten, president of Kasten Marine Design of Washington State, who worked alongside Pak Haji Wahab on Dunia Baru and several other major charter phinisi projects.
Even after many years in the marine design business, Kasten claims to have benefitted massively from his periodic immersions in Konjo shipbuilding traditions: “I greatly admire pan Haji Wahab,” he says. “I have tremendous respect for his knowledge and abilities. Konjo boats are built by the experienced ‘eye’ of the master boat builder, not form actual plans. We introduced them to the use of drawings, and to lofting the mould frames which would allow us to achieve a predictable result with the ill shape, the structure, and the design as a whole.”
Times are changing. While this may be an ancient and noble craft it is clear, however, that boatbuilding in south Sulawesi has always been evolving.
To read the full feature, please see the July/August 2015
issue of Asia Pacific Boating magazine.