‘Dghajsa Tal-Latini’ fully restored & on display at the Zewwieqa Waterfront
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This year’s summer visitors to Gozo arriving by ferry at Mgarr, or those sailing into the marina and the pontoons to moor up, could not have failed to notice the wonderful sight of the now fully restored ‘Dghajsa Tal-Latini – The Gozo Boat’ in its new permanent home at the Zewwieqa Waterfront.
Local NGO Wirt Ghawdex said that this last surviving dghajsa tal-latini was in reality just a hulk of a long abandoned lateen boat christened the ‘Sacra Famiglia, G32.’ It had been beached and pronounced unseaworthy in the 1980’s, and from then on it stood blocking a slipway at Mgarr.Wirt Ghawdex added that it was eventually bought by an entrepreneur who wanted to sell it to the Gozo Ministry. Wirt Ghawdex intervened, stating that the boat, seen through a cultural perspective, was priceless.
A keen interest in the restoration and conservation of this last surviving example of our nautical heritage was shown by the Gozo Channel Company. Wirt Ghawdex said that the boat is, in fact, the predecessor of the Gozo Channel Company itself. Gozo Channel, under the chairmanship of John Sullivan, purchased the boat and entrusted it to Wirt Ghawdex for restoration and with a full sponsorship for the required works.
Wirt Ghawdex then placed the restoration work of the boat with the Caruana brothers, sons of the original builder. It is through their knowledge and with their capable hands that the extensive restoration project has been carried out during the past few years, and the boat is now fully restored.
The dghajsa is now on permanent display at Zewwieqa, Mgarr, Gozo.
Photographs by Wirt Ghawdex