PEI

Ancient Chinese junk boat to sail out of Montague Harbour

A cottager in eastern P.E.I. will be spending time this summer sailing the coast in a boat of ancient Chinese design.

Monte Gisborne searched for his dream boat for seven years

The Chinese junk is an ancient sail design that dates back to the second century. (Submitted)

A cottager in eastern P.E.I. will be spending time this summer sailing the coast in a boat of ancient Chinese design.

Monte Gisborne hauled the boat from Comox, B.C., to Montague, P.E.I. (Submitted)

The junk-rigged boat design dates back to the second century, and they are still built for recreational purposes today, though mostly in Asia.

Monte Gisborne, who owns a cottage in Montague, has never sailed before, but there was something about junk-rigged vessels that attracted him.

The boat has a 24-foot hull. (Submitted)

"If I was going to learn how to sail, and make the effort and enjoy the art of sailing I really wanted to do it in a junk-rigged ship. I just think that they're such cool boats. That's the one for me," he said.

"It's described as being like a dragonfly wing. It's a very unusual type of sail which many people tout as being the best for simple operation."

While the last owners were in B.C., the previous history of the boat is mystery. (Submitted)

It took Gisborne seven years to find a junk that was available for him to buy.

He finally found one in Comox, B.C. How it got there is a mystery. Chinese characters on major structural components suggest it was built in China, and a 1976 silver Canadian dollar coin at the base of the mast suggests that's the year it was built. But there is a gap in the boat's history, and that's all he really knows about it.

Gisborne hopes to find someone from the local Chinese community who has experience sailing junks to help him learn how to sail it.

With files from Laura Chapin