felucca n : a fast narrow sailing ship of the Mediterranean
EtymologyFrom feluca, falūkha
- French: felouque
- "The ghostly feluccas passing along the canal are crewed by ghouls with wrapped heads." Lawrence Durrell, Justine
A felucca is a traditional wooden sailing boat used in protected waters of the Red Sea and eastern Mediterranean including Malta, and particularly along the Nile in Egypt. Its rig consists of one or two lateen sails.
They are usually able to board ten-some passengers and the crew consists of two or three people. Despite being made obsolete by motorboats and ferries, feluccas are still in active use as a means of transport in Nile-adjacent cities like Aswan or Luxor. They are especially popular among tourists who can enjoy their quieter and calmer mood than motorboats have to offer.
San Francisco's feluccas
Americans are largely unaware of the fleet of lateen-rigged feluccas that thronged San Francisco's docks even before the construction of the state-owned Fisherman's Wharf in 1884. They were built by southern Italian immigrants (who called them "silene"). The light small maneuverable feluccas were the mainstay of the fishing fleet of San Francisco Bay. "These workhorses featured a mast that angled, or raked, forward sharply, and a large triangular sail hanging down from a long, two-piece yard" John Muir described them.
The felucca of the Red Sea is depicted on a postage stamp of British Aden (illustration, right).
- Vincent Zammit, The Gilded Felucca and Maltese Boatbuilding Techniques
felucca in German: Felucke
felucca in Modern Greek (1453-): Φελούκα
felucca in Spanish: Faluca
felucca in Persian: فلوکه
felucca in French: Felouque
felucca in Italian: Feluca (imbarcazione)
felucca in Dutch: Feloek
felucca in Polish: Feluka
felucca in Russian: Фелука
felucca in Slovak: Feluka
felucca in Swedish: Feluck