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n. A handcrafted sailboat with a motor or lateen sails, resembling a dhow, that is used in the Maldives.


Dhoni or Doni ( Dōni) is a multi-purpose sailboat with a motor or lateen sails that is used in the Maldives. It is handcrafted and its use within the multi-island nation has been very important. A dhoni resembles a dhow, a traditional Arab sailing vessel.

The traditional dhoni is one of the oldest known sea vessels in the Maldives. Many of these traditional sailing vessels were, of necessity, built using coconut palm timber. The sailing dhoni was used in earlier days by Maldivian fishermen. During the industrial revolution many fisherman changed to a mechanized dhoni.

The Tamil, Kannada and Konkani word for a small boat is doni and the Malayalam word for a small boat is Thoni, perhaps in keeping with the tradelinks between Arabs and the konkani people in Goa and other port cities in Konkan and Coastal South West India.

The islands of the Maldives have an extensive fishing fleet built domestically, each of which carries eight to twelve persons. Nearly all of these are variants of the dhoni, a plank-built craft traditionally built with coconut timber, although imported wood from Southeast Asia is increasingly used. Originally sailing craft, nowadays these boats are usually fitted with motors. The main site for building dhonis is in Alifushi in Raa Atoll. Dhoni boat building is a traditional craft in the Maldives and young apprentices are trained by skilled craftsmen. Boats crafted from timber take 60 days to complete.

Dhonis used to be built without plans. The master carpenter took measurements and gave instructions to the carpenters.

Contemporary dhonis are often built using fibreglass. Dhonis fitted with diesel engines are extensively used on resort islands for scuba diving purposes, their low freeboard being ideal for this activity.

Based on a US$3.2 million loan from the International Development Association (IDA), most of the boats were mechanized in the course of the 1980s. Although the addition of motors increased fuel costs, it resulted in a doubling of the fishing catch between 1982 and 1985. Moreover, the 1992 catch of 82,000 tons set a record; for example, in 1987 the catch was 56,900 tons.

In 1995 there were 1674 registered fishing vessels in the Maldives. Of these, 1407 were motorised pole and line craft (masdhoni) for tuna fishing in coastal waters, five were sailing masdhoni, 48 were mechanised vadhudhoni, 209 were sailing vadhudhoni and 5 were row boats used for trawling in reef waters.

Dhoni (disambiguation)

Dhoni may refer to:

  • Dhoni - traditional sailing boat found in the Maldive Islands. Similar to an Arab dhow.
  • Mahendra Singh Dhoni - Captain of Indian national cricket team.
  • Dhoni (film) - Indian film.
Dhoni (film)

Dhoni is a 2012 Indian drama film co written, produced and directed by Prakash Raj. A bilingual, simultaneously made in Tamil and Telugu languages, it features Prakash Raj in the lead role, along with Aakash and Radhika Apte. The plot illustrates the conflict of interests of a father and his son; the father wants his son to study MBA, but his son is more interested in sports and wants to become a famous cricketer like Mahendra Singh Dhoni. Based on the Marathi film Shikshanachya Aaicha Gho by Mahesh Manjrekar, Dhoni released on 10 February 2012 to positive reviews.

Usage examples of "dhoni".

And since I had come back in a dhoni he must know I had been out to the islands.

I said I would and climbed into the dhoni, and in a moment the beach was gone and we were out in the lagoon with the sail up and the water creaming past as the night breeze took us south towards Gan.