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Naga Pelangi (Rainbow Dragon) is a wooden junk rigged schooner of the Malay pinas type built from 2004 to 2009 in Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia. Finished in 2010, it is operated as a charter vessel in South East Asia.
The Naga Pelangi was built for Christoph Swoboda from Germany by the craftsmen of Duyong Island in the estuary of the Terengganu River in the state of Terengganu on the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia. It is a Malay-style sailing boat with lines based on the traditional pinas-design but finished to modern yacht standards.
In Malaysia, these sailing boats are called Perahu Besar, (Malay: big boat).They were built for cargo and piracy and are made in two types, the bedar and the pinas. They are made of chengal wood (Neobalanocarpus heimii), a heavy hardwood of the Dipterocarpaceae family growing only on the Malay peninsula, the home of the world's oldest rainforest. These picturesque junk rigged boats have been used in the South China Sea for centuries and the last few were still in operation as sailing freighters in the 1980s.
Swoboda had a bedar built by the same craftsmen in 1981, finished a circumnavigation with that boat (the original Naga Pelangi) in 1998 and after selling it, he ordered a new vessel to be built – the pinas Naga Pelangi – in order to help keep this ancient boat building tradition alive.
After the WWII, the Malays stopped building sailing boats for their own use, but they kept manufacturing fishing trawlers and ferries, using the old techniques. Rising timber prices and lack of demand forced one yard after another out of business, so today this tradition is on the brink of extinction, with very few craftsmen still practicing the old building technique.
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