Bracera is sometimes pronounced “brazzera”, and it is a traditional coastal boat from Croatia, more exactly, from Dalmatia. It is said that it is recorded in the sixteenth century. They were the main boats for transport on the Adriatic. The one with a single mast is the most famous, although there are more models. It was particularly suitable for commerce and communications between the islands of the Adriatic and the coast.
The Austro-Hungarian Register had over eight hundred braceras mentioned in Dalmatia and Istria, in the nineteenth century.
Nowadays, an organization called “The Dolphin Dream Society” is operating in Dubrovnik waters with a one masted bracera replica called “Our Lady of the Sea” in order to promote Croatian maritime heritage through responsible tourism. Interesting.
The name “bracera”, recorded first as “brazzera”, originates from the word “Brazza”, the historic name of the central Dalmatian island of Brač, widely recognized as the place of birth of this type of vessel.
They were convenient for wood transport between the over one thousand Adriatic islands and the coast. They also transported wine, olive oil, salt, sand and everything else. They were also used for fishing or as platforms for sea sponges divers.
It was improved in time with better versions. Even though every larger shipyard on the Adriatic was building braceras, large number of the Istrian type of braceras were constructed in shipyards of Piran (present day Slovenia). These, unlike in Dalmatia, used to be vessels with two masts and with a lateen rig known from the antiquity.
The Istrian braceras are known to have two and in some cases three masts, opposed to the 19th century braceras from Dalmatia that customarily displayed only one mast.
That’s all I had to say about these old types of sailing boats, and if you like to know more, you may consult other sources as well.
This short article is roughly based on the specifications from Wikipedia, but there seems to be a more romanticized story that what may have been the truth.
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