What Ship Is That? Part Six

Brig Ship

What Ship Could This Be?

In previous months we’ve taken a look at a series of historical ships and a collection of fun facts to go along with it. The last installment took a look at the Brigantine, Brighton Hog Boat & Budgerow. Today we continue our foray into the captivating world of historical shipping by taking a look at the multifaceted Buza, rather famous Caravel and game-changing 16th-century Carrack.

The Buza – Warship & Cargo-Carrier in One

The Buza was developed as a warship, featuring higher gunwales to provide extra protection for seated rowers. These higher sides eventually made it rather popular as a cargo ship as well, since it had a larger capacity than the rest of its contemporaries. The only drawback it faced was the fact that it had to forgo anchorage in shallow harbours due to its deeper draft.

DID YOU KNOW? Galley slaves were convicted criminals that were sentenced to work at the oar, and often prisoners of war who were assigned the duty of rowing.

The Caravel – Columbus’ Choice

The Caravel is perhaps most famous for being the vessel of choice of Christopher Columbus, who undertook his journey to the New World by means of a fleet of Caravel ships (including the famous Nina and Pinta). This 14th-century marvel was highly adaptable and its three masts could be rigged with lateen or square-rigged sails.

DID YOU KNOW? Christopher Columbus started his career as a seafarer at the tender age of fourteen and supported himself by selling maps and charts before he had his big break. Additionally, he was a tenacious seaman. Even though more than half of his voyages ended in disaster, he still had the confidence to ask Queen Isabella for the funds to sail west. It took her six years to agree to it!

The Carrack – The Ultimate 16th-Century European Explorer

The Carrack was the largest European ship of the 15th century (about four times the size of the Caravel). If you took to the seas to explore or trade at this time, odds are you were doing so in a high-bowed Carrack. In the 1560s Naval commander, John Hawkins realised that the high bow and stern were hampering its steering abilities, and adapted it to make it more maneuverable. This ‘low-charged’ design would eventually become known as the galleon.

DID YOU KNOW? Naval commander John Hawkins and his crew were some of the first travelers to introduce tobacco and the smoking thereof in Europe in the late 1500s. They observed its use in the Americas and brought some of it home with them.

Check back soon for Part Seven that will delve into the intricacies of the Catamaran, Catboat, and Chebec respectively.

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