Portuguese working boat employed from at least the 9th century to transport wine downriver to Oporto. It was about 20 metres (66 ft) in length, had a large square sail, and was guided by a very long steering oar, hence the vessel's name barco rabelo, meaning ‘boat with a tail’. The oar, which made the rabelo very manoeuvrable, was operated by a crew member from a high platform and its loom was counterweighted so that its blade remained immersed at the vessel's approximate draught. Rabelos are no longer in use but some have been retained by the wine companies for local regattas.
Subjects: Maritime History.