A family in central Vietnam has been well known for passing down for generations the craft of building wooden boats that can win coveted prizes at domestic racing competitions.
Four generations of the family, many of whose members share the name Pham Viet, have created race boats as a quite satisfactory livelihood.
One of them, Pham Nhut, a 67-year-old resident in Quang Nam Province, said he received boat building techniques from his father, who had inherited them from his grandfather.
Nhut recalled he began learning the trade at the tender age of 15 before becoming accomplished in it two years later.
Hundreds of wooden boats have been produced during his career, which has spanned more than half a century.
His two younger blood brothers, Pham Viet Ngon and Pham Viet Dat, also follow in their father’s footsteps, running a boat building facility next to their sibling’s for around three decades.
The three men’s business has been on the upturn as demand for race boats has soared since the times of their father, with the maximum number of boats made exceeding ten in a year.
“We’ve got a pretty high amount of money a year for feeding our family,” Ngon said.
|One of Pham Nhut’s sons, Pham Phu Phuoc, makes a boat at his workshop in Quang Nam Province, central Vietnam. Photo: Tuoi Tre|
The financial benefit has also motivated Nhut’s two sons to stay in the job while preserving the family’s practical skills.
Boats the family makes measure 12-17 meters in length, weigh 600-800 kilograms and can carry 10, 12, 17 or 25 paddlers.
The watercraft, each typically taking one or two months to be completed, are made of light and sturdy wood that is smoothened to reduce friction with water.
Nhut said he usually modifies the design of a boat during the process of making it and attends every race of the vehicle to see its performance himself.
|Pham Nhut holds trophies given by winning boat racing participants. Photo: Tuoi Tre|
“It’s indescribably happy to see a boat you make yourself comes first in the race,” Nhut said.
Many boats produced by the family enabled their crews to claim first awards in multiple years straight at competitions held around Vietnam.
Nhut’s home interior is decorated with boat racing trophies, not won by him but given by the participants from such contests as a gesture of gratitude to him for his talent in making successful boats.