There is a hangar on the Khortytsia island in Zaporizhia. There are unique Cossack boats, lifted from the bottom of the Dnipro river. Zaporizhian archeologists and historians have been working on restoring the lifted flotilla for many years. Suddenly, the idea to build a real – Cossack “Dub” (“Oak”) – ship appeared. The same as our ancestors sailed on in the XVII –XVIII centuries.

Not to restore a boat but to build a new one – that is the idea of Valerii Nefedov, the head of the Restoring Department of the Khortytsia National Park. It appeared about 20 years ago, when the first “Chaika” (“Seagull”) boat was lifted from Dnipro.

“When we started to research a submarine area, we discovered many unique things, in particular, skeletons of Cossack ships of XVIII century, the Middle Ages and of earlier periods. In 1999, when we lifted the first Cossack ship, we created a hangar for restoration. We realized already then that we had to build a new ship next to the restored one. It is a common experience in the world”, Nefedov says.

“Dub” (“Oak”) is the name of the boat which is being built now in Zaporizhia. It is a traditional Ukrainian boat of the XVII – XVIII centuries. In fact. Their history starts before the foundation of the Kyivan Rus. Boats were built from oak – that is where the name comes from.

Maksym Ostapenko, the director of the Khortytsia National Park says that it would be extremely hard to implement such a major project without sponsors.

“We want to tell about our awesome project which we are creating with Bosch Ukraine. We are building a real huge Cossack boat – oak! We have ancient restored boats in our Shipping Museum, but we have gone further, and now we’ve decided to build a boat by ourselves from the very beginning basing on the old drawings. We are luckier than Cossacks – we have a professional tool from Bosch”, Ostapenko posted on his Facebook.

Shipbuilders compared the boat with a spine, being wrapped with “muscles” and “skin”. Thus, the spine is being built with the help of modern instruments, other stages of the work involve wooden and beaten details. Cossacks used them three centuries ago. It is a meticulous and long work.

According to Ostapenko, the 1736 drawings of the times when Khortytsia boatyard was being built is the main project, the shipbuilders base on. They have also researched many drawings since 1626.

The ancient boat will be 18 meters in lengths and 2. 3 meters in width. It will be able to contain 16 stroke oars, one helmsman and one captain – about 20 people in total.

The boat is being built from pine and oak. They say that using only oak is extremely expensive. According to historians, now the shipbuilders are using a 70-year-old oak.

Historians add that our ancestors could build one “Seagull” in two weeks. However, today it will take almost a year. The boat will be launched boat only in the next year. It is said to become an exhibit at the museum.

Text and photo by Olha Parsenyuk, Dmytro Smolienko

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