Building the Jangada Valente

In 2005 Neu had a new jangada built, we named it Valente.  I couldn’t do a post about it at the time because the internet was too slow to allow me to load the photographs, but now with a faster internet I’ve finally got round to it. The photos follow the process from day one, to launch day and show how the jangadas are put together using hand tools and a good eye (the only electric tool the builder used was a drill). 

First outing

First outing

Valente is a medium-sized jangada measuring just under 4 meters and is designed for a crew of two or three, on coastal fishing trips of a days duration. These smaller jangadas are filled with polystyrene to aid in buoyancy and have no sleeping / storage space inside, as is found on the larger boats (those above 4 meters in length) which are used for deep-sea fishing and crewed by four to five men (women do sometimes make up part of the crew). On deep-sea trips the boats will spend up to five days at sea, with the crew sleeping on the bare boards within the very cramped confines of the boat, here they also store all their cooking equipment, food and water etc. You will occasionally find a smaller jangada with this inner area but it is unlikely that it would be used for deep-sea fishing, the smaller jangadas being slower, are simply not be able to cover the necessary distance in a reasonable time.

The wood for Valente was bought and cut to basic shape in a wood yard of the local town, delivered to the village and then stored to season it. Neu employed one builder and his mate to do the main body of work but loads of friends and family members pitched in to speed the process and offer advice and opinions.

I tried to keep a record of costs but it seemed to me that we were forever having to return to town to buy more nails, paint, rope etc and Neu is terrible at keeping accounts, he just doesn’t see the point. Adding up what I know we spent and estimating the rest, Valente cost us nearly R$2800, (which at that time translated to just under £1000) R$1200 of which went on wood, R$600 to the builder, the builders mate R$250 (though he did seem to do an awful lot of the work as the builder was often suffering a hangover), R$400 on polystyrene, R$25 to the painter and the rest on nails, screws, various ropes and cords, the sail and other materials plus transport to and from the town.

The building work on Valente took just over three weeks, obviously a larger boats would take longer as their design is more complicated and requires them to be water tight.

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When I met him Neu had just made the final payment on his first jangada, a smaller boat at just over 3 meters, called Luar de Prata. That was a special boat which sadly is no more, being wooden they don’t last for ever. Neu had known the boat needed some substantial repairs but on closer inspection the main internal frame of the boat was rotten and so the boat was stripped down to salvage what they could of the wood, to be re used elsewhere. Neu now has bought half the wood needed to build a new jangada and hopes to recreate Luar de Prata in the future.

Winning with Valente .The story of how Neu, using Valente, won a local regatta despite being terribly ill with kidney failure.


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