Saveiros: Traditional Fishing Boats of Algarve

Saveiro is the Portuguese word to designate small boats with different shapes, but all 100% built in wood.

The most ancient and original ones have even wooden nails. Among the fishermen the Saveiro is also known as “lancha”.

The Saveiro is a open boat with about 5-6 meters length, that used to go to the sea to catch mackerel and horse mackerel through a traditional fishing gear called “Arte de Sacada” together with a “Lancha de Sacada”.

This traditional and obsolete fishing gear uses a kind of seine nets launched between two boats, a Saveiro and another little open boat, meant to catch mackerel and horse mackerel with a help of a spotlight and sardine bait. Each boat had 4 to 5 men and all the process was wind directionated since they used the sails to tack and luff the boats.

The Saveiros had usually a lateen sail (triangular) or, less common, a square sail (carangueja, portuguese name). Its construction, although primitive, aimed to maximize the boat’s aerodynamics, seaworthiness and stability, making the most of the used material – wood.
Its’ colors are bright and very characteristic and the most common used colors are blue, red, white and yellow.

Nowadays, there are still a few proud fishermen who have some of these boats, but most of the times they no longer used for fishing. Adjusted to the present, with a outboard engine, these boats are now used to color the Ria Formosa channels and disclose the secrets of this Nature Park.

With the start of the 2014 season, our team @ Formosamar is now busy repairing these sea ancients. This is hard work and once it’s built in wood, the boats need annual repair.

After the boat is taken out of the water, it will dry for a couple of days.

The first step after that is the sanding of the old paint followed by the first coat of paint.

In the end, we apply the anti-fouling and the boat goes back into the water and it’s ready to explore the channels of these beautiful area with our guests.

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