BOATS AND RIGS OF THE MALAY PENINSULA
by H. Warington Smyth
reprinted from Mast and Sail in Europe and Asia
Having regard to the wide reputation which the Malays have earned for themselves as a maritime people in Eastern seas, it is, at first sight, not a little remarkable that, so far as the Malay Peninsula is concerned, they have developed until lately, no really able type of sea-going boat. European writers have credited the Malays with building boats, the lines of which are unsurpassed by European types; yet so far as the writer has been able to discover, no specimen answering to such a description is to be met with in the peninsula. The characteristics of build are small displacement, hollow lines, V-shaped sections and sharp floors, shallow draught, lack of beam, and a consequent want of stability and weatherliness. An inquiry into local conditions, however, explains much. Two main factors have been at work influencing the development of boats and tending to produce the results arrived at. In the first place the rivers, which almost invariably constitute the ports of the peninsula, are, with scarcely one exception, protected by very shallow bars of sand or mud, which make it impossible for a deep-bodied boat to obtain shelter within them.