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The pinasse ( French , actually "boat made of pine wood ", Latin pinus pine ) is originally a larger dinghy , especially used by warships . Today the term is used for many different types of boats or ships.


Virgil calls a ship in his Bucolica (4, 38) "the sailing spruce " ("nautica pinus"). The writer refers to the frequent use of this type of wood for ancient shipbuilding in the Mediterranean . This fact is also referred to in the Georgica (2, 442). The term pinacera was derived from the term pinus . From this the Basque pinaza , English pinnace and German Pinaß developed .

The "Pinasse d'Arcachon", namesake of the Pinassen

Pinasse d'Andernos les Bains, converted into a leisure boat

The name Pinasse originally referred to a type of boat on the Bay of Biscay between the Gironde and Bayonne , especially in the waters around Arcachon (e.g. Pinasse d'Andernos les Bains - Bassin d'Arcachon). It is well adapted to the numerous sandbanks there and is used as a vehicle for fishing for sardines , oysters and eels . The hull is 7 to 12 m long and very narrow, has an angular cheek , a flat bottom and steeply sloping side walls. The stem is strongly curved and the bow pulled high. The upper end of the Vorsteven protrudes over the bow. The tail is spitzgattig and the stern also greatly bent. Earlier this pinnaces were mostly open boats and just in front and aft covered . They drove a lug sail and were armed with a middle sword. They could also be rowed . From the beginning of the 20th century, most of the pinasses were equipped with an engine, were now up to 15 m long and completely covered with the exception of two cockpits in front of and behind the engine. This French “Pinasse d'Arcachon” is still occasionally built today, often in plastic construction , but mostly without sails. It is used for fishing and for pleasure trips.

African pinasse for passenger transport on the Niger in Mali

A sardine fishing ship from the south Breton coast is also known as a pinasse , which was introduced here in the 1920s, operates with a motor and carries at most an auxiliary sail.

African pinnaces

A type of boat in West Africa , which operates there on the rivers and in the coastal waters, is also called a pinasse . These pinnaces are of various sizes and types, sometimes with a roof, mostly brightly painted, and are primarily used to transport goods and people as well as fishing vessels. Small, dug-out pinasses are also called pirogues .

A motorboat that can be described as a pinasse ( back decker )

Pinasses as pleasure boats

Pinasses are sometimes called older motor boats of various types for sport and leisure. These motorboats almost always have a cabin and are very long and narrow.

Pinasses as harbor boats

Steam pinasses in wood construction

Steam pinasses were used as harbor boats in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Even today, pinasses equipped with diesel engines fulfill this function. In Germany, however, such motor boats are usually referred to as “ barges ”.

Pinasses as steam-powered dinghies

In the middle of the 19th century, many warships and other large ship units had 15 m long steam pinasses on board. Such boats were also used as guard boats.

Pinasses as little sailors

In the foreground a pinasse as a dinghy for large sailors

According to the information in the " Economic Encyclopedia of J. G. Krünitz (1773-1858) ", the Pinasse was also called a small ship which led schooner rigging (Skuner rigging) and was also equipped for rowing.

Pinasses as dinghies on English war sailing ships

In England , a dinghy equipped with eight oars , 10 to 12 m long and 2 to 2.5 m wide was called a pinasse during the sailing ship era . This was carried as the second largest dinghy on war sailing ships and is often referred to in literature as a sloop . Sloop is to be understood here as a collective term and includes the barges , at that time the larger dinghies. On the other hand, in German literature even the 7 m long dinghy of the Bounty, which has become legendary through a mutiny since 1779, is referred to as the launch. In this small boat, called “Launch” in English , W. Bligh sailed 5,800 km over the open sea in 48 days with a crew of 18.

Sea-going pinnaces from the 16th to 18th centuries

Illustration of an older Dutch " Pinas " (17th century)

In the 16th and 17th centuries, there were pinasses in England and the Netherlands , which were relatively small but ocean-going ships. They probably carried lugger or latin sails on one or two masts . For example, Martin Frobisher , an English explorer, adventurer and pirate , was accompanied into the arctic waters by a four-man pinasse during his first expedition to discover the Northwest Passage in 1576 . This pinasse, a ship of 10 tons, went down in the storm.

The Dutch East India Company (VOC) used yacht-like pinasses ( Dutch pinas ) in addition to other types of ships . These were not ships for the Great Voyage , but for courier services and transport trips in the dependent areas. This type of ship was gradually developed further and combined with elements of other types, so that in the end the large pinass ships , the forerunners of the mirror return ships , were also called "pinas" in the Netherlands. The pinass ships were common in England , the Netherlands and on the German North Sea coast in the 16th and 17th centuries . They had three masts and were mostly fully rigged .

Web links

Wiktionary: Pinasse  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. B. McMillan (Ed.): Aak to Zumbra. A Dictionary of the World's Watercraft. Mariners' Museum, Newport News VA 2000, ISBN 0-917376-46-3 .
  2. Vergil, Georgicon on Wikisource (lat.) Http://
  3. Arvid Göttlicher : Ferries, Freighters, Fishing Boats. Antique small ships in words and pictures (= BAR. International Series 1922). Archaeopress, Oxford 2009, ISBN 978-1-4073-0404-5 .
  4. Clas Broder Hansen: Lexicon of the sailing ship types. Illustrations by Peter Knuth. Urbes-Verlag, Graefelfing 1987, ISBN 3-924896-10-0 .