At the beginning of the fourteenth century, the English Cinque Port towns maintained a fleet of vessels such as this – clinker-built with forecastles and aftercastles for fighting purposes, and with a wide, clear deck. Vessels of this type were not limited only to coastal defence. Illustrated manuscripts show that they also accompanied crusading forces to Palestine.
The steering oar is still employed, but the mast is stayed laterally by shrouds, kept taut by deadeyes and lanyards. The decorative prow has also now become a functional bowsprit, the sheets attached to It helping to hold the sail to the wind. Within half a century, warships would become much more seaworthy, and would include a built-in aftercastle.
Length: 12.8m (42ft)
Beam: 3.7m (12ft)
Depth: 2.1m (7ft)
Rigging: single mast stayed fore and aft, port and starboard; square sail with bowlines attached to bowsprit
Armament: machines to project arrows and stones; archers, marines