Help this rare traditional maltese boat set sail again

A new crowdfunding campaign on Zaar hopes to fund the restoration of a century-old ‘firilla’ and return it to its former glory out at sea.

The Malta Traditional Boats Association has launched a crowdfunding campaign on the online platform Zaar to raise the funds needed to restore an historic Maltese boat.

An extremely rare traditional fishing boat developed in the 17th century in Malta, the ‘firilla’ is similar to the ‘dgħajsa’, but of a stronger construction. The 100-year-old firilla at the heart of the new campaign inspired the creation of the Malta Traditional Boats Association, when the NGO’s founders – a group of friends moved by the boat’s imminent destruction – pooled together the sum of €500 to save it in 2019.

“We have launched the Firilla Restoration project to restore this important piece of Maltese maritime heritage to its former glory,” says one volunteer at the Malta Traditional Boats Association, which aims to preserve, rekindle and rediscover lost aspects of local maritime heritage and represent traditional Maltese boats worldwide. “Once completed, we aim to use the boat for educational purposes, teaching traditional sailing techniques and participating in regattas to represent Malta in similar events across the Mediterranean.”

Although the Association has already secured some funds, the project needs additional support to complete each key stage of the restoration, from repairing and replacing wooden structural elements as required, to painting, finishing and launching the boat, as well as installing the firilla’s original ‘tarkija’ sailing gear and an electric motor.

Through the crowdfunding campaign on Zaar, the Malta Traditional Boats Association hopes to raise €5,000 to complete the first stage of the project – and sailing and Maltese history enthusiasts have already pledged almost €1,000 within the first week of the campaign, with many backers looking forward to receiving an invitation to join the launch crew or sail aboard the fully restored firilla.

“We hope that, through the generosity and the passion of the public and all those interested in traditional Maltese Boats, we can together save a rare piece of Malta’s unique heritage from destruction and ensure that it can set sail out to sea where it belongs once again,” adds the Malta Traditional Boats Association volunteer.

To donate to the Restoration of a traditional Maltese fishing boat – the firilla campaign on Zaar, visit www.zaar.com.mt. More information about the project is also available via email to maltatraditionalboatsassoc@gmail.com.

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