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Felucca on the Nile at Luxor

A felucca (Arabic: فلوكة, romanizedfalawaka, possibly originally from Greek ἐφόλκιον, epholkion[1]) is a traditional wooden sailing boat used in the eastern Mediterranean—including around Malta and Tunisia—in Egypt and Sudan (particularly along the Nile and in protected waters of the Red Sea), and also in Iraq. Its rig consists of one or two lateen sails.

They are usually able to board ten passengers and the crew consists of two or three people.


Despite the availability of 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 a quieter and calmer mood than motorboats have to offer.

Feluccas on the Nile in 1954-55, picture by Mediterranean sea traveler and writer Göran Schildt.

Feluccas were photographed by writer Göran Schildt's travels on the Nile in 1954-55 as part of his Mediterranean sea travels. Schildt documented them as being called "Ajasor".

San Francisco[edit]

Feluccas at Fisherman's Wharf at the foot of Union Street

A large fleet of lateen-rigged feluccas thronged San Francisco's docks before and after the construction of the state-owned Fisherman's Wharf in 1884. Light, small, and maneuverable, the feluccas were the mainstay of the fishing fleet of San Francisco Bay. John C. Muir, a small-craft curator at the SF Maritime Historical Park, said of them, "These workhorses featured a mast that angled, or raked, forward sharply, and a large triangular sail hanging down from a long, two-piece yard".[2][3] Among the owners of feluccas in San Francisco Bay who recollected his adventure as a young oyster pirate in his works was the author Jack London.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ El Houssi, Abdelmajid. Retour sur l'étymologie de felouque (PDF). p. 20.
  2. ^ Muir, John C. (Summer 2000). "Tides of change: Fisherman's Wharf, 1870–1930". Sea Letter. Archived from the original on August 8, 2006. Retrieved January 30, 2021.
  3. ^ Muir, John C. (Summer 2000). "Tides of change: Fisherman's Wharf, 1870–1930 (excerpt)". Sea Letter. No. 58. Retrieved January 30, 2021.

Further reading[edit]

  • Muscat, Joseph (2003) The Gilded Felucca and Maltese Boatbuilding Techniques. Pubblikazzjonijiet Indipendenza, Malta. ISBN 99932-41-45-8

External links[edit]