Fouskis Boatyard | Boatbuilding on Syros Today

The Fouskis boatyard began operating in 1952 under the direction of Giannis Zorzos. Known by the name “Mastro-Giannis,” he started working at boatyards by the age of five, where he collected scrap wood and sawdust for a small allowance; he made his first boat in the attic of his house from the scraps he had collected from larger boats. His nickname, “Fouskis,” then gave the boatyard its official name.

Between 1960-1990, the boatyard built hundreds of wooden boats, usually up to 9 meters in length due to the limitations imposed by the establishment’s small size; during this period the boatyard produced about seven boats per year, and employed four staff. Today, it is maintained by Nikolaos and Manolis Zorzos, Mastro-Giannis’s sons. Manolis also occupies himself with the painstaking work of building scale replicas of various types of traditional boats found on Syros and in the Aegean, including detailed inventory lists of each component used, and the creation of photographic manuals documenting the construction process. With traditional boatbuilding facing an uncertain future, he hopes these replicas and manuals will serve as sources of knowledge for generations to come.

This collection includes a series of photographs spanning from the 1950s-1990, documenting the boatyard’s main period of activity, and a range of everyday activities: lumber deliveries from Mytilene, moments of work, repose, and even Mastro-Giannis being shaven in the boatyard, when work was so plentiful there was no time to visit the barber.

1 The “Andrianna” drydocked outside of the Fouskis Boatyard, c. 1990.

2 Lumber delivery from Mytilene outside the Fouskis Boatyard, c. 1993.

3 9.5 m “trechantiri” type boat, c. 1985.

4 Mastro-Giannis Zorzos by “trechantiri” type boat, c. 1985.

5 From left: Mastro-Giannis Zorzos, Giorgos Zorzos, Nikolaos Zorzos, c. 1996.

6 “Agioi Anargiri,” a 9.5m “tserniki” type boat, c. 1962.

7 Masto-Giannis Zorzos’s first boat. From left: Mastro-Giannis Zorzos, unknown, unknown, Spyros Polidoulis, and the boat’s owner, c. 1961.

8 A “trechantiri” type boat in the Fouskis Boatyard. From left: Mastro-Giannis Zorzos, Giorgos Sirigos, Manolis Zorzos and Manolis Zouloufos, c. 1961.

9 A “trechantiri” type boat outside of the Fouskis Boatyard, with Mastro-Giannis Zorzos and others, c. 1961.

10 Mechanics from Neorion Shipyard on traditional boat, c. 1955.

11 Painting a “trechantiri” type boat. From left: Nikos Zorzos, Mastro-Giannis Zorzos, Spyros Xagoraris, c. 1978.

12 Mastro-Giannis Zorzos being shaved in his workshop, c. 1980.

13 Lumber delivery from Mytilene, c. 1980.

14 Mastro-Giannis Zorzos at work on a “koundoulo” type boat, c. 1970.

15 Mastro-Giannis Zorzos at work on a “koundoulo” type boat, c. 1970.

16 Young Giorgos Zorzos at the Fouskis Boatyard, c. 1997.