Traditional Greek Boats
What's a Greek Kaiki? kaiki or Caique is the Greek word which is taken from the Turkish word (Kayik) a name given to wooden boats usually found among the waters of the Ionian or the Aegean Sea .
Kaiki, were built on the foreshore of Nafpigia (shipyard) . They were built from pinewood. The frame of the craft is called a skeletos and it's constructed from a curved carvel planking and finished with the decking known as a katastroma. The colors that are chosen for each part of the kaiki are chosen with reason. The frame of the craft is often painted in orange, to preserve and seal the timber. Most kaki are painted in white, to counter the powerful sun, the stakes and the topsides are painted in vivid chromatic colors, the kaiki has a short mast or istos.
A bow sprit or bastouni is stayed by a skalieri or rigging. In the stern of the kaiki, the predominant form is the timoniara or tiller. Sometimes theses wooden steering arms are carved in the face of an animal. The kaiki often has a horizontal windlass mounted over the bow. The bow is also known as the proura or plowri.
Below the bow you will find the name of the boat carved on a tablet, usually they are given ladies names or you will see letters representing the Islands of Greece, which give the boat provenance. For Example, the letter N, stands for Nisi , the Greek word for Island .
Each kaiki is unique. Most Kaiki are built from the boat builder's passion for the sea and it's their favorite past time. Kaikis are built from memory without any plans. The bow post is what makes the kaiki stand out from the rest of the Mediterranean working boats.
Kaiki in the past was used as a means for fishing and trawling but now it has become known as a short excursion vessel and former fisherman make money from the tourist trade on the Islands of Corfu ( Kerkyra) and Mykonos .
The art of Greek Kaiki is slowly fading away as plastic and fiberglass replace the wooden craft.
In the past centuries Kaiki had various names.
Trechandri- a fast and aesthetic hull craft.
Fortuga – generally a heavier transport boat.
Karovassi- with a concave bow and under cut stern.
Perama – with a straight forward slanting masted boat.
Varkala – a single masted boat with a high counter stern.
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