(I plan to post more on Zheng He in the future, but just found this
bit of news today...)
Firm to build biggest ancient ship replica
A SINO-MALAYSIAN joint venture next month will begin building the
replica of China's biggest 'Treasure" ship that sailed abroad in the
14th century, Jiefang Daily reported today.
The ship will set out for its first trial voyage in April 2008 to
boast the country's culture and history.
Mariner Zheng He rode the original "Treasure" ship to make seven
historical voyages to Southeast Asia, West Asia and East Africa
between 1405 and 1433 during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), which
promoted understanding, friendship and trade relations between China
and these areas.
The Chinese replica follows the voyage of a Swedish replica Gotheborg,
which arrived in Shanghai yesterday after sailing for months.
Wang Guoping, the General Manager of a Jiangsu company in Nanjing that
is in charge of the replica's design, said they have finished the
blueprints for the ship after a one-year study and construction will
start at the end of September.
Wang said the ship's overall length will be 71.1 meters, with
14.05-meter beams and an overall depth of 7-meters, to echo Zheng's
first voyage on July 11, 1405.
The ship will be able to displace 1,500 tons of water and carry 30
sailors, 36 passengers as well as 50 tons of goods.
"It is 10 meters longer and 3 meters wider than the Gotherborg," Wang
He said the ship will imitate the appearance of the ancient "Treasure"
ship, but its interior decorations and equipments will be modern,
including generating sets, air conditioners, televisions and computers.
The ship can travel at 12 knots (22 kilometers per hour) and sustain
Wang said they will solve potential problems that may happen during
voyage, such as the stability and intensity concerns.
Jia Tiejia, the Vice General Manager of Nanjing Dragon Treasure Boat
Develop Co, which is in charge of the reconstruction of the boat, said
they will learn from the Gotherborg's construction and will open the
building process to the public. Tourists can help workers hammer in
nails, paint the ship and plait cables.
He said the company will apply to the Beijing Olympic Organization
Committee to appoint the ship as an image ambassador to show the
country's century-old sailing culture.
After the 2008 Olympic Games, the boat will follow Zheng's route to
travel along Southeast Asia.