Traveling Sailsman
See the world by sailing

Working on Chinese Junks

Different crewing option

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Chinese junks are beautiful sailing ships. They originated in the Song Dynasty (960 - 1279) in China. They were used for ocean voyages. Over the years the junk design has been modified and the boats used for a variety of purposes such as cargo carrying, pleasure cruises and live-aboards.  You find the junk rig (or sampan rig) used in various sail configurations such as ketch, yawl, ship, cat and schooner. See Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Junk_rig).

Junk boats have a distinctive shape. They also all have a sail pattern in common - the sails all have rigid horizontals across their span that extend the sail forward of the mast. To the untrained eye a junk's distinctive stern and curved amidships make it recognisable as a boat.

Once the provenance of the Chinese, junks are now seen and used all over the world. They are great boats to crew on. They typically are spacious and elegant internally. They are nautical works of art that you can be proud to work on.

The Chantara junk based in Koh Samui is doing a very good trade at the moment. It has both day trips as well as cruises to popular tourist destinations such as Ang Thong National Park in the Gulf of Thailand.

The junk goes nearly every day to Koh Phangan. It typically takes groups of tourists to Koh Ma Marine Park  for snorkelling. It might stop off at the beautiful remote Haad Khuad (Bottle Beach) before making a longer break at Thong Nai Pan Bay where guests can disembark to go swimming, try jet skiing or catch a drink in a beach front bar.

No doubt part of the reason for the success of the Chantara junk company is that the boat is attractive and unusual. There is fierce competition in places like Thailand for the tourist dollar. Dozens of companies offer boat trips, diving, snorkelling, day trips etc. To succeed you need to either be the cheapest in a market where cheap is valued or you need to offer something extra that the competitors are not. Having a beautiful wooden junk makes you stand out from the rest and draws customers. After all it is hard not to notice a Chinese junk in the bay.

From the viewpoint of the travelling sailsman looking for crewing work it is a good idea to find employment on a vessel that looks good and with a company that is doing well. This provides a certain level of job security which is hard to come by in a commercial sector dominated by tourism which is notoriously fickle and unpredictable.

From the viewpoint of the travelling sailsman looking for crewing work it is a good idea to find employment on a vessel that looks good and with a company that is doing well.

 

Chao Phraya River