About Gajeta Falkusa
The term gajeta originates from the times of Homer’s epic heroes.It is traditional fishing boat 9 m long and 2.55 m wide (without the removable strakes). It has a lateen sail and a jib, of an overall 90 m2 area.
The fishermen of Komiža developed a special type of gajeta with removable wooden strakes for fishing at the distant Palagruža. For centuries, they were the only open sea fishermen on the Adriatic. Gajeta falkuša regattas were held for centuries, starting from the Komiža harbour and finishing at Palagruža. Today, Gajeta Falkusa is one of the symbols of the Croatian maritime heritage.
By integrating the pluriennial experience in alternative types of tourism with the falkuša revitalisation experience as the best approach to the overall, environmentally driven and attractive tourist presentation of Komiža, we have created the tourist offer of sailing with lateen sails.
We will utilise the newly constructed replica of the gajeta in its full potential as a basis of a cultural, ecological and adventure tourism offer, which would converge the tradition and the practice of the sustainable co-existence of man and his marine environment in Komiža.
Why Gajeta Falkusa?
Enriching the tourism and cultural offer of the Island of Vis throughout the year
The specific and recognisable programs based on experiencing the local tradition (sailing on the gajeta, eating salted fish, drinking a glass of the Vis red wine, enjoying the island events, singing a Dalmatian song, casting a net…), promote the destination in a positive way and consequently, prolong the tourist season. The prolongation of the tourist season boosts employment opportunities for the local population, and that, in turn, positively affects all aspects of life in the community.
Preserving biodiversity and promoting a sustainable development concept
Tourist offer based on sailing with lateen sails also presents a fully environmentally adapted concept which preserves the purity of the maritime zone and poses absolutely no danger to the marine flora and fauna. The visitors are introduced to the natural heritage in a specific way and are made aware of the frailty, sensitivity and beauty of nature.
Encouraging cooperation between various economic, social and cultural factors
Through the cooperation with the Eco Museum – the basic purpose of which is to converge the local values and preserve the identity of the local community, and within which the falkuša will have a prominent place – a cooperation network is created with a whole series of participants in this project. The workshops will teach how to sail with the lateen sail, introduce the participants to traditional fishing methods, to rowing, to the basics of gajeta construction theory, they will recount historical stories and events.
Promoting the Croatian maritime heritage
In April 2011 we were featured in a documentary by the British TV channel BBC 2. The broadcast was entitled “Three Men in Another Boat”, and it focused on the gajeta and the local island customs. It is one of the highest rated shows on BBC 2. As part of the Croatian national television (HTV) documentary program, we were chosen as main participants for a documentary show entitled “Komiža-Palagruža” which will air on HTV in spring 2012. The topic will be sailing with lateen sails, fishing and the Island of Palagruža.
Professor Velimir Salamon is the researcher of the Komiža gajeta falkuša and the designer of its replica. He says of the Komiža gajeta: “It is a very lively vessel, the likes of which almost cannot be found elsewhere. Similar vessels exist but, nevertheless, they are quite different ships. Everything is alive on a gajeta falkuša – everything can be removed – the mast, the lateen yard, the rigging. And all of a sudden, when everything has been removed, what you get is something like a canoe with oars. That setup is fascinating for anyone with even the most rudimentary knowledge of the vessel.”