The Mastheads

The mastheads of “Faneromeni's” masts. You can see their spear endings painted white.

(Archive of Nikos E. Riginos)


The mastheads of the traditional Greek caïques end in spears.

After mastro-Pachos finished making the masts, the rigger Notis Mpilias revealed to us a secret that in the old times only the most accomplished caïque owners did on their masts.

The usual practice was to construct each spear separately from the mast and then attach it to the masthead. But for the “Faneromeni” mastro-Notis proposed the following:  to make a hole on each masthead, 5 cm in diameter and 1 m deep and then to install the spear in this hole in such a way that it can be removed later. Before the spear is inserted, this hole is filled with linseed oil. The linseed oil is slowly absorbed by the wood of the mast and acts as a preservative for the wood.

At regular intervals, the spear is removed and the linseed oil is replenished on the masthead.

And so it was done. Even today I regularly treat each masthead with linseed oil. 

The Spear.

Drawing by Elina Dallas


The spear inserted on the masthead.

Drawing by Elina Dallas