The Oruwa is the traditional Sri Lanka fishing sailing vessel used by the Sinhalese fishermen on the western and southwestern coasts of the island. The only place where Oruwa fishing boats are still used in in any number is in the fishing village of Negombo where the bala-oru trawl the lagoon for prawns.

The Oruwa has a square sail with the top corners held in place with bamboo poles, said to have originated when a fisherman hung his sarong between two oars and discovered that the wind drove his canoe faster than he could ever paddle it. Over time the mast grew larger and the bamboo poles longer and with the addition of a rudder with which the fisherman steers using his foot, the Oruwa was born.

These beautiful craft look spectacular against a sunrise sky on the lagoon and if you get up close you’ll see that they are literally stitched together – there are no iron bolts or nails used in the construction of the traditional Oruwa.

Information courtesy of  Ingenious Sails.

Andrea (Andy) Montgomery is a freelance travel writer and co-owner of Buzz Trips and The Real Tenerife series of travel websites. Published in The Telegraph, The Independent, Wexas Traveller, Thomas Cook Travel Magazine, EasyJet Traveller Magazine, you can read her latest content on Google+

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