Vlamis Boatyard | Boatbuilding on Syros Today

In 1970, the Vlamis Boatyard, located on a hilltop overlooking Hermoupolis in the village of Episkopio, was established by Michalis and Zannis Vlamis; Michalis’s son, Thanasis, began working at the boatyard from a young age, learning the trade from his father. Like the other smaller boatyards on the island, they utilize the “monochnaro,” or single-mould method of boat construction which involves patterns used to shape stems, sternposts and principal frames, handed down from generation to generation. Similarly to the Karamolegos Boatyard, this boatyard’s landlocked location, removed from the main port of Hermoupolis, imposed a limit to the maximum size of boats they built.

Up until the mid 1990s, the boatyard employed six people, building between seven and eight boats per year; Thanasis now runs the boatyard himself, and has not built a new boat in several years, a fact he attributes to customers’ increasing preference for plastic boats over wooden ones, supply chain issues linked with the disappearance of traditional trades and craftsmanship in the Aegean, and the drastic decrease in boatbuilding and maintenance activity caused by the state-sanctioned destruction of traditional boats following implementation of the European Community regulation on the reduction of the fishing fleet.

This collection contains a variety of photographs taken between the mid 1970s and late 2000s, when the boatyard’s construction of new boats declined; through snapshots, it illustrates moments in the process of boatbuilding from the laying down of the keel to the moment the boat enters the water for the first time. Also included is a general arrangement plan by Zannis Vlamis.

1 General arrangement plan of a “trechantiri” type boat by Zannis Vlamis, c. 1980.

2 Traditional fishing boats docked in Cycladic port, c. 1981

3 Pushing off on a “trechantiri” type boat, c. 1978.

4 Construction of an 11 m. “trechantiri” type boat, c. 1973.

5 Preparing to transport a 12 m. “trechantiri” type boat, c. 1973.

6 Preparing to transport an 11 m. “trechantiri” type boat, c. 1985.

7 Shaping of a stern frame for a trechantiri type boat under construction, c. 2008.

8 Michalis Vlamis and customer by a 6.8 m “trechantiri” type boat, c. 1998.

9 Detail of an 8.2 m. liberty type boat under construction, c. 2008.

10 Thanasis Vlamis at work on a 8.2 m liberty type boat, c. 2010.

11 View of workshop during construction of an 8 m. trechantiri type boat, c. 2012.

12 Unfinished deck of a 9.2 m. trechantiri, c. 2010.

13 Principal frames of “trechantiri” type boat under construction, c. 2010.

14 Sending off a completed “koutoulo” type boat, c. 1995.

15 Michalis Vlamis and Thanasis Vlamis at work on a “trechantiri’ type boat, c. 2002.

16 Michalis Vlamis with “trechantiri” and “koutoulo:” type boats, c. 2000.

17 Detail of an 8.2 m liberty type boat under construction, c. 2007.

18 Thanasis Vlamis at launch of a “koutoulo” type boat in Kini bay, c. 1995.

19 External view of the boatyard’s entrance, c. 1987.