Cetina Boat

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Cetina Boat Monika Vrgoč

A "small" boat, the lajica, was formerly used for hunting and fishing, and a ''large'' boat for transportation of people, livestock and cargo. The Cetina boat used to be made of fir, and its sides are made up of warped or two-piece boards. First, a board had to be soaked in water or wrapped in a wet cloth, and then held over burning straw. Smooth planed boards are joined using the moždaci (sg. moždak, iron wedge made in a blacksmith's shop), whereas the klampe (sg. klampa, iron cramp) are driven into the inside bottom boards of the boat. The bottom of the boat is composed of three boards which are warped and fire-burnt. To the end part, the bottom boards are raised so that the boat sails smoothly accros the water.

In order to prevent water penetration, the stura (dried reed) is put between the bottom boards. The sides of the boat are joined by nails, whereas on both end parts the kuta (triangular reinforcement) is placed, into which is driven an iron link of a chain for mooring the boat. The bottom of the boat has transverse reinforcement, the pragi (laths), with cuts in their middle and end parts in order to enable unhindered passage of water accumulating on the boat. Only one (older boats) or both ends of the boat are used for sitting, i.e. people sit on a triangular board following the shape of the boat and level with its sides. The boat is coated with tar for reasons of protection (nowadays, dark paint is used for reasons of environmental protection).

One-piece oars are made of willow and are 2 metres in length each, with the T-shaped handle at the top, the perla. Depending on the depth of a river, you can either row in a standing or sitting position. The opalac, made of one piece of willow, is used for throwing water out of the boat. Cetina boat equipment also includes the krdela, a creel for keeping caught fish, frogs and crayfish. The craft of boat making in Otok near Sinj is Croatian Ministry of Culture intangible cultural heritage under protection.

In the spirit of reviving tradition and keeping past times from oblivion, over past few years different events have been organised in Otok near Sinj, like the races of Cetina boats, the Žabarijada (frog-jumping contest), clean-up campaigns of the Cetina bed, and the revival of traditional fishing using the Cetina boat.


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