SUCCESS STORY FOR THE SMALL FISHERMAN -THE UNIQUE MAHASAGAR FRP KATTUMARAN
The word catamaran is derived from the Tamil kattu-maran meaning bound logs. And though today the world over this word is synonymous with twin-hulled craft, the originally conceived form of the catamaran, that is, a log raft with tapering ends has not only survived the centuries but remains the backbone of the small scale fishery of the eastern coast of our country.
Coming across one of these kattumarans, a modern boat user could be pardoned for looking down his nose at this crude and primitive craft. But if he were to give it some thought, would realize that all the attempts of modern technology till now have not fully succeeded in replacing the thousands of these craft with more efficient ones. One of the reasons being that the eastern sea coast for the most part, has steeply sloping beaches and tall breakers where attempting a beach-landing with a conventional open boat of this size runs a high chance of being swamped. The traditional kattumaran being a bundle of logs is naturally buoyant and cannot be sunk despite any number of tumbles. The fisherman holds his catch in the fishing net and ties the net to the craft. Nearing the shore, he jumps off the craft and swims ashore while the following waves deliver his craft and catch soon after.
The FRP version of this craft developed on the East Coast was light enough for easy handling but afloat, light weight for that hull form meant poor stability. Correcting for stability by making the craft itself heavy brings the situation back to square one as on-shore handling becomes as laborious as before.
We at Mahasagar made a thorough study of the factors involved in the design, structure and operation of these venerable craft as well as the psychology and economic capacity of their owners and came to the conclusion that whatever the benefits achievable with the new craft in terms of performance, economy and safety, its basic form and sea handling characteristics should remain that which the fisherman is familiar with.
And accordingly pursuing an original approach with innovative ideas and careful engineering, we believe have evolved a very efficient successor to this ancient craft. Some prominent features of our design being:
Further, the Mahasagar FRP Kattumaran is a step towards conserving the seriously depleted forest reserves of our country.
The first of the Mahasagar FRP Kattumarans was completed in January 1990 and the extensive trials, tests and commercial fishing since then have confirmed our belief that the truly successful replacement for the log kattumaran of the Indian East Coast has been developed.
The above was published by Fishing Chimes in its November, 1990 issue.
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