It is said that next to Korčula, Betina is the most famous and oldest centre of skillful shipbuilders – at its peak there were no less than 27 shipyards and 5 smithy shops. Shipbuilding in Betina has existed for over 270 years and the first ship caulkers' families were families Filipi and Uroda after which the names like Žurić, Šandrić, Burtina, Bilić.. and others appear as well. It is written that the "seed of shipbuilding" was brought and successfully planted by Paško Filipi when returning from Korčula in the far 1740.

Unlike the modern building in fibreglass, a wooden boat is something completely different – each has its own story. It is born slowly by careful choosing of the wood – which requires knowledge, taking into consideration a careful selection of proper ship equipment. The building itself involves procedures some of which are best performed during the southern winds while others during the northern ones. The types of vessels and the shapes of traditional wooden vessels are a special story. They came into existence – e.g. gajete and leuti by an urgent need thus their lines and shapes are ideally suited to the purpose.
First ship caulkers of Korčula who came to Betina in the first half of the 18th century (in 1740) adapted the building of their boats to the needs of the local people. The people of Betina owned 2/3 of the land in Modrava and Prosika and 1/3 of the land on Kornati islands which were accessed by the sea and therefore a strong boat needed to be put together in order to transport a sizeable amount of freight. Consequently, the gajeta of Betina was devised – a sturdy farmer's boat with a Latin sail, a modification of the model from Korčula tailored to the needs of the local population.

"The gajeta was intended to be the sum of all demands of this complicated geographical, ownership, social and navigation structure. It needed to represent more ships in only one. The magical solution was in the hands of the local ship caulkers who themselves, when not being caulkers, were farmers, fishermen and sailors. An utter practical knowledge of the needs of its contractors enabled them to build a ship neither big or small, heavy or light, open and closed at the same time, and at last with exceptional navigational skills... They were the only ones capable of devising the gajeta, a multifunctional boat, a boat for every occasion and every purpose..."

It turned out later that the inhabitants of the neighbouring settlements had similar needs thus the descendants of the family Filipi founded their shipyards in Šibenik, Biograd, Sukošan, Murter, Kukljica, Kalim, Brbinje and Sali.

 

TOURIST INFORMATION CENTER (TIC)               

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