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Celebrating Croatia's rich maritime history

by Wooden Boat Festival 30 Jul 15:33 UTC September 9-11, 2022
Building a batana: a symbol of Croatian heritage takes shape in Gig Harbor © Wooden Boat Festival

Building a batana: a symbol of Croatian heritage takes shape in Gig Harbor

Michael Vlahovich says "from design to construction, from launch to adventure, from maintenance to restoration, wooden boats are what maritime stories are made of."

A master shipwright, commercial fisherman, and Tacoma native, Mike has dedicated his career to the preservation of maritime heritage from the Chesapeake Bay to the Pacific Northwest. Now living in his father's birth village of Sumartin, Brac, Croatia, he wanted to strengthen the connection between Croatian traditions of Puget Sound where so many immigrants from the Dalmatian coast made their livelihoods.

Working with the Croatian nonprofit Maritima Educare and Gig Harbor Boatshop, Mike will build a batana—a Croatian flat-bottom fishing skiff which is a variant of design once common to the Northern Adriatic—in July and August 2022.

Gig Harbor was selected as the build site because of the influence of Croatian Americans in the city, both past and present, and the boat's construction will be supported by Gig Harbor Boatshop's all-volunteer community heritage program. There will be Sunday open houses to view the build in Gig Harbor, and the completed vessel will be on display at Wooden Boat Festival—a centerpiece for this year's theme of Croatian Maritime Heritage...

Keep reading here...

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