The history of shipbuilding in Luvia

The home port of galeas Ihana was a bustling shipbuilding and lumber loading site in the 19th century. Laitakari had two shipyards. The Mungo shipyard was also located nearby. In 1856, five sailing ships were launched in Laitakari in the course of the year. Shipbuilding in Luvia can be considered to have been on an industrial production scale, as many of the ships built in Laitakari were ordered by people in Pori or Rauma. For a long time, seafaring and shipbuilding in Luvia were based on peasant seafaring activities.

Peasants were allowed to ship and sell their farm products, for example, to Turku or Stockholm without clearing customs at the customs house in Rauma or Pori. Sailing vessels and larger galeases were built for personal use. The ships were loaded with peasant products: fish, agricultural products and firewood. The return cargo included construction supplies for anew slightly larger ships, salt and luxury items. After a few years of use, old ships were sold and slightly larger ships were built in their place. In total, about 400 identifiable sailing ships are known to have been built in Luvia. The golden age of sailing ships lasted from the 1850s to the first decade of the 20th century. After this, wooden-hulled ships were replaced by steel-hulled steamships and the shipbuilding tradition in Luvia declined.

The older ships built in Luvia were predominantly small boats called skutes. This ancient medieval type of ship was used in peasant seafaring until the early 19th century. According to oral tradition, the sailing vessels of seafarers in Luvia were two-masted. By the dawn of the tsarist rule in 1808, however, all the ships in Luvia were galeases.

Between 1562 and 1919, a total of 414 vessels were built in Luvia, 136 of which were galeases. In 1857, Luvia’s shipyards saw a record construction of seven large sailing ships! At the peak of the industry, there were 15 shipyards in Luvia parish.

As many as 70 wooden ships were built at the Laitakari shipyards. The last ship to be built in Laitakari was galeas Sampo, which was launched on August 28, 1919.

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