Contic Cruises

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Contic Tours is a Bangladesh-based river tourism operator that offers services in and around Dhaka. They also offer a cruise in the south to the Sundarbans, the world’s largest mangrove forest, UNESCO World Heritage Site, and home of the royal Bengal tiger. Contic is an abbreviation of "confluence of technologies, ideas and cultures." [1]

Clients of the group have included former US President Bill Clinton, US media mogul Ted Turner, former cricketer Imran Khan, travel writer William Dalrymple, and international ministers and heads of state[citation needed]. Aerial photographer Yann Arthus Bertrand featured Contic's sailboat, the B613, in the Bangladesh episode of his documentary series, Earth from Above (French: Vue du Ciel) [2]

History[edit]

The company was founded in 1997 by Yves Marre[3] and Runa Khan. Contic aims to help preserve the area's heritage. To secure the knowledge of carpenters in this region of the world, Contic, in association with Friendship,[4] a charity organisation also based in Bangladesh, opened a boat museum and published a related book.[5] Both Contic and Friendship are attempting to document and preserve as much as possible of a boat-building tradition that is rapidly dying through the creation of model boats, exhibitions and active involvement with naval architects such as Marc Van Peteghem[6] and Thibault Saint-Olive.

Boats[edit]

Contic has built and maintains two boats, the Fleche d’Or, (English: Golden Arrow), and the B613. The Fleche d’Or was constructed by Brahmaputra carpenters who based the design on the panchi category of river boat, which has been used for generations in rowing races between villages. These river boats were eventually broadened for fast transport of troops across rivers. This broader design is still used for transporting passengers between villages. The Fleche d’Or is the longest panchi in the country, measuring 72 feet. It is equipped for daylong or half-day cruises through Dhaka, the old city and the surrounding countryside.

The B613 is constructed from the hull of an original Malar boat measuring 93-feet long and 23-feet wide. The hull was acquired in 1997, then converted into an international standard cruising boat. It has six double cabins, four bathrooms, two showers and a kitchen. The original rigging was rebuilt with a 20-metre mast and two hand-woven trapezoidal sails that measure a total surface of 250 square metres, making the B613 the biggest sailing boat of Bengal. The deck is made of Burmese teak and measures 11 metres by 6.5 metres. Part of the deck is sheltered by a bamboo roof, which offers opportunities to watch river life. The boat is equipped with two Detroit Diesel engines of 110 horsepower each. An on-board generator allows use of projectors, microphones and other equipment for seminars, meetings and retreats. The open roof and sides can also be covered in case of rain or if the room needs to be darkened.

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