Cranks with Planks


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 Hung'tou, Worcester

Sampan at the
Mariners Museum

Hung'tou, Audemard  

Cranks With Planks Present:

<> Another Sampan <>


I will add to the description of the boat as time permits, but here are the photos I was able to take. Due to the lighting and [no] space between boats they aren't the best but they give an idea of various details and the color scheme. Click on the thumbnails for larger images. I had to scan them at 200dpi to preserve a reasonable amount of detail. Next opportunity I have to visit the Mariners Museum I'll take detailed notes.

In general I would say that the sampan looks as if it's built of 2-by housing lumber. It's rough all right and shows the boatwright(s) were more interested in transportation than in finish. Overall I'd say it's shaped much like a Western pram, but with an extended snout past the point where the pram's bow would be.

I saw no fittings for a sail.

The boat, overall, shows an eerie resemblance to Audemard's sketch. While there's a lot of sheer at the gunwale, the white wooden boards along the passenger compartment give the sampan something of the appearance of a straight sheerline. Altogether a very likeable little vessel.

See also:
C. Andrade: Lessons from a Chinese Sampan
Cheap Pages: from the Rudder. New: R/C Model by Tony Cardiff.


Overall view with COD standing there for scale. The platform it's on raises it about 12 inches. To the left is the Burmese sampan. Interestingly enough it's built with western-style frames.

I am a shade under 6 feet tall. The beam inside the passenger space is perhaps 4.5 feet. The length overall is something like 15 ft.

The straight object is a bamboo punting pole with an iron spike point. The crooked item is the...


Yuloh. It is three pieces of wood, with a short one under all the lashings. The joints are long scarflike angles. A rounded hole or dimple in the loom fits on the pin at stern (see below).

This is a straight-on shot of the bow showing the painted decoration and the way the side deck planks, the rub rails, and the bow transom all meet as well as the sculpted "bowboard" or breakwater.

From the side. The bow transom sticks out about an inch and a half and there's a black-painted piece on each side acting as a cleat or angled "external chine log". The black piece is hard to make out. The eye is a rounded wood item. The rub rail is a split sapling, butt-end forward, with knots and wormholes showing.

Bow from above.

The cavity has a chain (for an anchor?) inside and there's a crosspiece perhaps 2-1/2 inches diameter. Presumably this is a tie-off point or bitt. It certainly isn't a handle for lifting the boat! It doesn't seem to be a free-flooding compartment.

Below left. Overall view from the bow which shows decking and canopy etc. To the right of the yuloh is the rudder, which I couldn't get a good shot of. The white box is the passenger seat and the brown item on it is a movable seat back lying face down.

Above. Port side view from the stern. Note the swell rubbing piece. Iron semicircular things hold the canopy on. The canopy hoops are split, bent, lashed and painted bamboo while the canopy itself is matting and, if I recall right, canvas, painted.


Stern. I don't know what the ring on the left is for. Not the yuloh. Maybe a line to keep the rudder from getting away. Below the yuloh blade is an iron pin which sticks all the way through the upper transverse (white) piece. That piece has the upper rudder slot. The bottom simply ends after lapping over the stern transom a little. Note the little keel batten down the center.

This is the starboard side "stern wing". The deck piece (orange edge) just bends up and meets the end piece (white edge) which is fastened to the transom. The space between is filled by the turquoise element. Also show is the yuloh loom and pin.

Above. Stern view showing rear deck, canopy, chock on starboard side for holding the yuloh or pole.

The transverse round thing is the tiller and the rudder is hidden in the bottom. Away front under the orange trim piece is a stowage place. I could not determine if any of the decking lifts up.

Below, detailed enlargements:

  Yuloh pin.  

Yuloh blade. That's an iron band around the end. Note that one side has something of a camber and the other is flat.

Rudder fittings and stern transom. The lower fitting looks like it's lashed on, but each "lashing" seems to an extended U-shaped iron wire or rod which penetrates the transom and is hammered over on the inside.



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