A Carrack Ship by Bruegel

A Carrack Ship by Bruegel

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Authored By: JR Potts, AUS 173d AB | Last Edited: 05/02/2019 | Content © | The following text is exclusive to this site.

In the 15th Century, Western Europeans were consistently venturing further into Atlantic waters for empirical conquest and economic trade. As such, the various involved companies required a very reliable ship to brave the vastness of the sea and its inherently powerful storms while, at the same time, holding enough cargo to make the trip a profitable one. The "Carrack" class of cargo ship, for her time, was a state-of-the-art design made in increasingly different sizes from shipbuilders based in Spain, Portugal, France and other nations with a coast.

Despite their different harbors of origin, these vessels shared some characteristics that were rather standard in their designs. Their profiles were characterized by the use of three or four sailed masts. The foremost mast (known simply as the "Foremast") sported a square rig sail that was mounted onto horizontal wooden spars perpendicular to the to the keel of the ship. The "Main Mast" was located at amidships and was the largest mast fitting, normally using a square-rigged sail. The aft-most mast was known as the "Mizzen Mast" and was noted for being usually shorter than the Main. The sail on the Mizzen Mast was a triangle lateen rig set on a long spar called a "yard" and this would be mounted at an angle on the mast. These ships all had a large bowsprit with a sail as well.

The Carrack of surface ship had a large aftcastle with a slightly smaller forecastle. The aftcastle was used for steering and a platform to attack other ships during boarding actions with the use of muskets and small cannonades. The forecastle was used for defense and tended to make navigation somewhat difficult. The stern was rounded and the main deck was large to support a large crew and appropriate cannon armament. Such an arrangement made the Carrack a little top heavy but, as mentioned, she was primarily constructed for long voyages at sea and not naval combat. The quarters below were expectedly cramped as much of the hull was dedicated for the storage of supplies and any present cargo.

The main deck was large to accommodate the equally expansive crew numbering some fifty men and, at times, cannon. The wide beam measured in at 25 feet and her length was approximately 75 feet. These measurements related to the design concepts of the day and her purpose of being a long-range ship. The sailing warships and cargo ships of the future would eventually reduce the width of the beam as compared to the length of the ship in an effort to streamline the vessel for the purpose of improved speed.

The Carrack proved a popular design during its reign in naval history. She was the basis of several notable long voyages that changed the course of history on several occasions. Such famous Carracks included those as used by explorer Christopher Columbus in 1492. Interestingly, he was noted as disliking the ship, calling the Santa Maria a "cow" because of her difficulty in steering and general navigation. Explorer Ferdinand Magellan also used a Carrack class vessel when circumnavigating the globe in 1519, proving the design as reliable for the long journey.

Such was the value of the Carracks that they were constructed and sailed into the Sixteenth Century before being replaced by improved long range ship types.

O galeão português "Frol de la Mar". Gravura no "Roteiro de Malaca" (século XVI).

The Carrack or Nao (meaning ship) was developed as a fusion between Mediterranean and Northern European-style ships. The carrack first appeared, historians believe, in the late 13th and early 14th centuries. The Spanish and Portuguese developed a particular type of ship to trade in the Mediterranean Sea and the North Atlantic. The hull was rounded in the stern and it carried a superstructure of an aft and forecastle. These ships carried two, three or four masts and a combination of square and lateen sails were used. The main mast always carried a square sail while the mizzenmast carried a lateen sail. The square sail was used for speed and the lateen rig allowed for maneuverability.

By the 1420s, a topsail was added to the main mast (square) and the foresail on a three- or four-masted ship was also square. The carrack had a wide and deep hull that allowed for bulk cargo. The smallest would be 300 to 400 tons and the largest was 1,000 to 2,000 tons. Some of the cargo included Alum (used to fix dye) and woad (a blue dye) from Genoa to England, and raw wool and wool fabric back to Genoa. The Portuguese adopted the carrack to move goods to Africa, India, and the Spice Islands.

There was a fore and aft castle on the carrack. The forecastle was always higher that the aft castle. The carrack, with its sail configuration, was cheaper to crew as a merchant vessel. These became the favorite ships of the ocean-going explorers. They were more stable on the open ocean and could carry enough men and food to be a ship of exploration.

Detail of Carrack from “A) Galion, B) Fregate, C) Caraque, D) Flute ou Pinque, E) Est un Beulot ou Bâtiment,” Description de L’Univers, 1683, From The Library at The Mariners’ Museum, G114.M25 rare. “Victoria, circa 1510, Spanish Carrack,” Greg McKay, Modelmaker, The Mariners’ Museum (1991.52).

The age of discovery (1400-1550)

  • small ships for exploration: caravels
    • a shallow draft to chart unknown waters
    • ability to sail to windward (lateen sails)
    • small crew
    • cargo space for voyages of up to a year
    • high platforms at front and back from which to fire at opponents
    • armed with cannons
    • square sails for more sail area
    • large payload


    In 1492 Colombus's used 2 caravels, the Nina and the Pinta, and a larger carrack, the Santa Maria, as his flagship [More].


    Large carracks had ample room for large crews, provisions and cargo required for east Indies trading. Their size and stability allowed mounting of cannons.

    Magellan's Victoria Replica

    Carracks were also used by Vasco de Gama for the first successful trip to India around the Cape of Good Hope. In 1498, de Gama left Portugal with 170 men, 3 carracks and one caravel he returned 22 months later with only 2 ships and 55 men. He had sailed 24,000 miles and spent 300 days at sea [ BBC History ]. For the next 100 years, the Portuguese controled the East India trade, sending a fleet to India almost every year, scheduled to coincide with the monsoons. For more details see our historical page.

    Carracks for exploration like the Santa Maria or de Gama's San Gabriel were small, about 90 tons but merchant ships would average 250-500 tons with a crew of 40-80 and some war ships went up to 1000 tons. The average speed was about 80 miles/day and the trip to India took 6 to 8 months each way.

    Wreck of a merchant Nao

    Inside of a ship

      , J.R. Steffy, Ship Lab, Center for Maritime Archeology , A. Wells, Texas A&M , A. Wells Master's thesis (5Mb PDF file)

    Product images of 'A carrack before the wind' by Pieter Brueghel the Elder

    Pieter Bruegel the Elder Artworks

    One of Bruegel's best-known paintings, Landscape with the Fall of Icarus incorporates a landscape in the foreground with an expansive seascape stretching away towards the horizon. Closest to us, a farmer pushes a plow and horse. To his right, on a lower plateau of land, a shepherd tends to his flock. In the right foreground, a fisherman with his back to the viewer casts his net at the water's edge, while close to the shore in the bottom-right, two legs kick in the air: a comically minute reference to the titular narrative, which therefore seems to unfold in the background of the scene.

    This is one of two paintings by Bruegel, which depict the story of Icarus as told in Ovid's Metamorphoses. These were the only two works which Bruegel created on mythological themes, in marked contrast to his contemporaries' focus on heroic narratives. The story revolves around the death of Icarus, the boy who wanted so badly to fly that he constructed wings out of wax and feathers. Failing to heed his father's warning not to fly too close to the sun, his wings melted and he plunged into the sea. We might expect that this tragic denouement would form the focal point of Bruegel's painting, but instead it becomes one incident woven into an all-encompassing representation of common rural life, the demise of the hero rendered almost laughable in its head-first ignominy. The composition is both irreverent and subtly philosophically resonant, expressing a clear skepticism for the bombastic mythological painting that had dominated the previous century of Renaissance art.

    This work has been the subject of much moral speculation, revolving especially around the various figures who remain ignorant of Icarus's plight, only the shepherd glancing up towards the sky, and not even towards the relevant spot. The displacement of Icarus from center-stage has been interpreted as a directive to remain focused on one's own daily life. William Dello Russo has even suggested that the painting may illustrate a well-known Netherlandish expression, "one does not stay the plow for one who is dying." Landscape with the Fall of Icarus was given its most famous twentieth-century treatment by the poet W.H. Auden, whose poem Musée des Beaux Arts (1938) considers how suffering and personal drama take place in a wider context of ongoing life.

    Oil on canvas - Musées Royaux des Beaux-Arts, Brussels, Belgium

    The Fight between Carnival and Lent

    In one of his more lurid and chaotic paintings, Bruegel offers us a dense allegorical representation of the competing drives underpinning human character by showing the customs associated with two festivals closely aligned in the early-modern calendar. To the left, the figure of the Carnival holds sway: a fat man astride a beer barrel with a pork chop pinned to its front, spit-roasting a pig and wearing a meat pie as a helmet. He presides over a scene populated by jesters, revelers, musicians, thieves, and beggars. To the right, the gaunt figure of Lent, in the habit of a nun, extends a platter of fish, in defiance of his richer offerings. Behind her, hooded figures emerge from the archway of a church, in which the artworks are shrouded in the custom of the season of abstinence. To the other side of the canvas, the tavern provides an equivalent backdrop, standing for the sins and pleasures of the flesh.

    Bruegel's complex symbolic representation of contrasting states of sin and piety, pleasure and pain, judgement and redemption, finds its most obvious precedent in the work of an older Netherlandish master, Hieronymus Bosch. In his proto-Surrealist triptych The Garden of Earthly Delights (c.1495-1505) Bosch offers a sequence of landscapes populated by figures in relative states of grace and perdition. What is notable, however, is the lack of any implied supernatural subtext to Bruegel's scene: where Bosch shows us the dire consequences of human error, Bruegel presents the spirit of the Carnival as a force of rebellion and subversion without seemingly offering any positive judgement either way.

    The battle between Carnival and Lent stood partly for a contemporary struggle unfolding in Bruegel's home country. In 1556 the Low Countries, in possession of the vastly powerful Habpburg dynasty, passed to King Philip II of Spain, who sought to bring it under a more direct and stricter form of Catholic rule. At the same time, the Netherlandish countries were close to the heart of the unfolding Reformation movement, which viewed Catholic festivities such as Lent with profound suspicion. The carnivalesque energy of the left-hand side of the painting stands not so much for the emergent spirit of Protestantism - which tended to be more repressive of the traditional festive calendar than Catholicism - but for the obdurate pagan customs and rebellious character of an oppressed culture.

    Oil on panel - Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna

    The Netherlandish Proverbs

    This painting shows Bruegel's mastery of complex composition, often based on strong diagonal lines bringing overall cohesion to a large number of intersecting focal points. In The Netherlandish Proverbs, a village setting is chosen as the location for a variety of eccentric and superstitious rituals.

    The actions undertaken by the villagers represent approximately 120 different Netherlandish proverbs, all related to the oddities of human behavior. In the left foreground a man bangs his head against a brick wall, representing the tendency of a fool to continue attempting the impossible to the right, a figure leans distraught over a pot of spilt porridge, reminding the viewer that completed actions cannot be undone. Bruegel is noted for his busy compositions, involving many groups of figures engaged in small interactions. These individual compositions in turn establish an overall theme, often satirical or didactic, a compositional approach which has had a profound impact on art history. The influence of Bruegel's allegorical tableaux can be sensed, for example, in the work of the Dutch Symbolist and Expressionist James Ensor, who uses a similar compositional style in Christ's Entry into Brussels (1888) and The Baths at Ostend (1890).

    Bruegel's significance as a forerunner of modern art lies not only in his breaking away from the ordered vanishing-point perspectives and carefully-managed figurative arrangements of the Italian Renaissance, but also from the idealized moral style and grandiose subject-matter which those features implied. By depicting the foibles of everyday human life, Bruegel expanded the range of subjects available to the Renaissance painter with characteristic, irreverent wit.

    Oil on wood - Gemäldegalerie, Berlin, Germany

    The Tower of Babel

    A vast, partially constructed tower dominates Bruegel's extraordinary 1563 work The Tower of Babel. Surrounding the structure is a landscape dotted with tiny figures, some of whom march in procession around its curving stories, while others toil at the scaffolds along its sides. To the right, ships unload building materials in every respect of detail, the painting is minutely, naturalistically accurate.

    This is one of three paintings Bruegel created around the Biblical tale of the Tower of Babel. In so doing, he chose a story intended to provide a moral directive around the dangers of over-reaching ambition. In the original narrative from the Book of Genesis, God prevents King Nimrod from building a tower designed to reach to the heights of heaven, cursing the builders so that they are unable to communicate in the same language. In this painting, Nimrod is presented in the foreground discussing his project with an entourage of sycophantic courtiers, while enfeebled subjects crawl around his feet. The structure behind him is, in part, intended to be reminiscent of a Roman amphitheater, the Roman Empire being a symbol of the hubris of human ambition in Bruegel's day.

    As with so much of Bruegel's work, the moral message also has a contemporary resonance. Living at a time when mainland Europe was being ravaged by rival religious factions - on the one hand, the Catholic empires of the south, on the other the dissenting Protestant cultures of the north - the story of a once morally united, monoglot religious society fracturing into rival groupings was a pertinent one particularly as one of the founding causes of Protestantism was the translation of the Bible into modern script. Bruegel was sympathetic with the Protestant culture of his home country, and another version of the painting, The Little Tower of Babel" (c. 1568) provides a direct critique of Catholic ceremonial pomp. On one of the ramps extending up the tower, a group of figures marches under a line of red canopies, generally understood to be a veiled reference to the customs of the Catholic church, on whose behalf the Duke of Alba was brutally subduing Bruegel's homeland during the 1550s-60s.

    Oil on panel - ‎Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna

    The Hunters in the Snow

    In a snow-covered landscape, three hunters lead their dogs through a picturesque, sprawling village. Vivid silhouettes of winter trees dominate the left-hand side of the composition, and, along with the direction of the hunters' movement, lead the eye towards the busy scene at the center, a happy gathering of people on a frozen river. In the background, buildings and snow-covered mountains recede into the distance beneath a blue-gray winter sky.

    One of a series of paintings that Bruegel created to depict different seasons of the year, this work demonstrates his unique aptitude for capturing the spirit of the natural world. William Dello Russo describes The Hunters in the Snow as "one of the best-loved works by Bruegel", and "undoubtedly the best-known image of winter in Western art [. ] Never before had a painter managed to create such a convincing representation of the coldness, the silence, and the torpor of the winter landscape." Bruegel's approach moves well beyond the characteristic landscape-painting techniques of his era, offering complex compositions that rely on color harmonies to convey the mood of the scene and season. Rose-Marie and Rainer Hagen suggest that "the picture is dominated by two 'cold' colors, the white of the snow and the pale green of the sky and ice. Every living thing is dark. This stands in contradiction to the customary color associations connected with being alive, and heightens the impressions of misery and privation." However, the number of people in the painting, and their state of busy activity, suggests liveliness and collectivity in the midst of the frozen landscape, indicating a community not dominated by their surroundings but making their lives within it.

    Early in his career, Bruegel drew influence from the Flemish landscape artist Joachim Patinir, who also created paintings which seem to recede telescopically away from the eye. Expanding on Patinir's style, Bruegel's focus on landscape as a self-sufficient subject-matter had a profound impact on the development of modern art, including landscape painting of the Romantic and Naturalist movements. The exaggerated perspectival style of works like Hunters in the Snow, meanwhile, prefigures all subsequent landscape painting in which the conventional, post-Renaissance three-dimensional perspective is eschewed.

    Oil on wood - Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna, Austria

    The Wedding Dance

    Bruegel's life-affirming scene of peasant matrimony is crowded with happy, inebriated revelers. In the background, a table is set with food, while the wedding guests dance, drink, and kiss, forming an unruly circle which fills the central space of the composition. One figure to the right, standing in front of a tree in a black hat and orange shawl, seems detached from the scene even while integrated into the joyful spiral, his demeanor of quiet reflection leading some critics to posit that this is a self-portrait of the artist himself.

    This painting is one of many created by Bruegel showing rural peasants in scenes of leisure and celebration. The prevailing thought amongst artists of the Renaissance was that only religion, mythology, and the lives of great men were fit subjects for painting. According to Rose-Marie and Rainer Hagen, "no painter before [Bruegel] had dared to produce such works. Contemporary art generally regarded peasants as figures of mockery, considering them stupid, gluttonous, drunken, and prone to violence."

    Besides making these gluttonous and volatile figures worthy of artistic representation, Bruegel's decision to focus on scenes and aspects of peasant life also drew attention to the lot of the working man and woman for perhaps the first time in art history. The same motive would become more conspicuous in the work of modern artists inspired by his example, including painters of the French Realist school such as Gustave Courbet and Honoré Daumier, who used their paintings to make politically subversive statements on the living and working conditions of the poor.

    Oil on wood - Institute of Arts, Detroit, Michigan

    The Conversion of Paul

    A mountainous forest landscape dominates Bruegel's painting The Conversion of Paul. Moving in a diagonal sweep from the center foreground to the right background, a crowd of people, including a number of soldiers in armor, swarm into a gap in the rockface. In the left background, behind the crest of the mountain, a calm body of water stretches away.

    While this work is nominally focused on the Biblical story of St. Paul's conversion on the road to Damascus, Bruegel radically departed from conventional painterly approaches to religious narrative by making the landscape, and the mass of humanity populating it, the central subject of the work. One has to look closely amongst the figures traveling the mountain path to pick out the convert thrown from his horse, lying on the ground as God strikes him blind. Indeed, without the interpretive hint provided by the title, one might fail to recognize what is taking place. As with his 'Icarus' landscapes, Bruegel detracts further from the import of the central narrative by setting the scene in a contemporary context, using the landscape of his home country as a backdrop, suggesting an irreverent, appropriative attitude to his source-material.

    This painting also makes a subtle political statement. Amongst all the figures represented, the viewer's eye is drawn to a man dressed in black riding a white horse with his back to the viewer. Many believe this figure to be based on the Duke of Alba, responsible for the persecution of many Protestants in Brussels during Bruegel's lifetime, as part of a Spanish crusade to bring the Low Countries under stricter Catholic yoke. Rose-Marie and Rainer Hagen even suggest that the painting may be intended to invoke a similar conversion of Alba as overcame Paul, bringing an end to his murderous campaign. Whether or not this precise message can be inferred, the work certainly indicates the extent to which Bruegel was willing to use his art to reflect on the religious and political power-structures of his day.

    Oil on wood - Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna, Austria

    The Blind Leading the Blind

    Five blind men trudge across the center of this canvas, canes in hand, arms stretched out hopelessly for guidance. The first member of the procession has already tumbled over, and lies on his back in the dirt. The man directly behind him is mid-stumble, while the steep downward curve of the path behind him suggests that the four following him will suffer the same fate. In the background, various features of a typical Bruegel landscape are visible: a church steeple, low thatched roofs, and a curving, tree-lined hillside.

    Though its focus on the poor and destitute is typical of Bruegel's egalitarian concerns, this painting is marked out by its distinct compositional structure and mood. William Dello Russo has pointed out that the earthy color-palette represents a departure from Bruegel's typical tonal range - generally involving brighter colors - as does his use of tempera paint, which allows a less brash, saturated appearance than oil. As regards the visual composition, The Blind Leading the Blind is arguably a very early example of Realist genre painting, focusing closely on a small number of human figures engaged in everyday activities rather than one of the sprawling, densely populated landscapes which occupy the artist's others works.

    This painting reflects Bruegel's ability to create captivating allegorical works based on both religious doctrine and common maxims. The painting illustrates a passage found in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke -"[a]nd if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch" - but the phrase would have had the currency of a common saying, as it still does, and the curious mixture of empathy and grim amusement that the blind men's plight elicits needs no scriptural grounding. It emanates from that same elementary sense of the pathos and absurdity of human experience that the artist himself drew from. As art historian Max Dvorák wrote in 1928, "[the painting's] novelty lies in the very fact that such an insignificant occurrence with such insignificant heroes becomes the focus of this view of the world."

    Tempera on canvas - Museo Nazionale di Capodimonte, Naples, Italy

    The Magpie on the Gallows

    A lush woodland landscape dominates this work from the penultimate year of Bruegel's life. In the background are the gables and tiled roofs of a Netherlandish village, while in the foreground to the left, a group of young peasants plays in the fields, unmoved by the structure to their right, on which a lone magpie perches.

    Bruegel was not an overtly political artist. But this work, like The Conversion of Paul, indicates his ability to offer oblique commentaries on contemporary society. The gallows would have been a recognizable symbol of oppression during the Spanish campaign in the Low Countries, with hanging a fate awaiting many religious agitators, who were often exposed by the gossip or betrayal of friends. The little bird at the center of the piece thus takes on a grim allegorical relevance via a common Netherlandish expression: "to gossip like a magpie". At the same time, the piece strikes a note of defiance, the male figure defecating in the bushes in the immediate foreground suggesting the artist's attitude towards the Spanish occupation, and calling to mind another common expression of the Low Countries, "to shit at the gallows", meaning to defy authority and death.

    There is some speculation that Bruegel himself might have been a victim of malicious gossip towards the end of his life, although no specific narrative supports this theory. It is known, however, that he left this work to his wife, and Karel van Mander has argued that the gesture was a loaded one: "he was referring by the magpie to the gossips, whom he would like to see hanged."

    Types Of Sailing Ships

    1) The Carrack

    This is a nautically-rigged ship with three or four masts each having square sails. It was heavily used between the 4th to 15th Centuries and was the largest ship in Europe (The Spanish Carrack was more than 1,000 tons in weight). This bulky ship was the standard trading ship along the Baltic, Mediterranean and Atlantic costs in the mid-16th Century.

    The Carrack had a strange shape which made it cumbersome to sail close to the wind. After a lot of engineering experiments, parts of the ship were stripped off giving the ship a high stern and a low bow. The ship was popularly used until the late 18th Century.

    The modern version of the Carrack has asquare-rigged mainmast and foremast the Mizzen mast is latten-rigged. The stern has a rounded shape and a huge bowsprit, forecastle and aft castle. This is a large ship, built to carry heavy freight for long-distance hauls since it was very steady even in the worst weather.

    The British Army also called it the “Great Ship” because of its highly-functional ship design.

    2) The Schooner

    This type of ship has two or masts of an equal height. The masts allowed the ship to operate in the toughest of wind conditions. The 19th Century schooner came with two or three masts, the-one at the fore being shorter than the others. The schooner “Thomas W Lawson”had seven masts, with interchangeable sails and gear.

    The modern schooner is quite powerful and carries Bermuda rigged sails. Today they still traverse the Pacific Ocean, being the most economical coastal liners.

    3) The Clipper

    This is a derivative of the schooner and was popular for global travel in the mid to end of the 19th Century.They were popular with traders for ferrying goods for long distances, because they were fast. British and American traders favored these ships, which came indifferent lengths, but had one common feature. They all had a narrow build, a protruding stern, 3 to 5 masts for speed and a square rig.

    They popularly crossed the California –China trading routes. They were also used to ferry Gold and Tea back to Great Britain and the Americas. When it came to racing, none could beat the Clipperin speed.

    4) The Barquentine

    This is another derivative of the schooner and also went by the names schooner barque and schooner bark. These had been stripped down to facilitate operation by a slimmer crew and basic rig. The Barquentine has three masts and square sails on the fore and aft masts. The main mast had topmast and gaff sails. They were light and average 250 to 500 tons in weight.

    The Barquentine sailed the waters of Northern Europe which were dominated by variable wind speeds. They were popularly used to carry lumber from Scandinavia and Germany to England and the Baltic Areas.

    5) The Fully-Rigged Ship

    During the 18th to 19th Century, the Fully Rigged ship, commonly referred to as “Ship” came with a full nautical rig with three or more square-shaped masts bearing square sails. These ships required a larger crew because of their fully rigged construction.

    However, towards the end of the 19th Century, these ships were stripped down so they could be handled by a slim crew. This helped in easier handling of the sails, during the Monsoon period when winds would change speed and direction without any warning.

    The ships also went by the term “Frigate”which referred to the fully-rigged nature, and were popular as intercontinental trading ships. The rig, hull, mast and yards were made of iron or steel. Theyhave different functions and sailing plans when compared to other types of sailing ships.

    6) The Hulk

    A derivative of the Carrack, this ship weighed as low as 400 tons. They were used during the 18th Century, and still maintained the rounded stern and bow of the Carrack. In maritime terms,the name “Hulk” was given to ships that were outdated, stripped down or unprofitable to run.

    Older ships with wooden hulls would also be stripped down to reduce the stress on their ageing structure.

    The bulk of the hulk fleet was comprised of abandoned ships, stripped down therefore could not continue to ply across the Mediterranean Sea as cargo or transport ships. They are stationary and kept for their buoyancy and were used as prison, gambling and relic sailing ships.

    7) The Brig

    The Brig was a war vessel, with a berthing deck that had sleeping quarters for cabin crew and marine officials. It also had storage areas, sail bin, wood-paneled stove room, guns and carronades. The brig came with two masts, each bearing square sails and sometimes had a spanker on the aft mast.

    The ships required a large crew to operate them due to their square-rigged nature. They would be brought into the harbor without using tugs, and could maneuver well in small areas. They were later used to ferry large cargo on the open seas since they could easily follow the direction of the prevailing winds.

    8) The Brigantine

    These were similar to the Brig as they both had top-gallant sails. They were used by the Royal Navy to scout and monitor enemies on the high seas. They would ply across the trade routes of the Baltics and Northern Europe, all the way from Germany to Scandinavia.

    The mid-size ships had two sails on the-mainmast with a stripped down fully-squared rig. The foremast had square sails and the mainmast had the fore-and-aft mainsail. The ships could be handled by a smaller crew.

    9) The Bark (Barque)

    These should not be confused with the Schooner Bark they were light and weighed between 250 to 750 tons. They had the second tallest structure of all types of ships. They had four masts, each bearing square sails on the fore topmast and fore-and-aft sails on the aft mast.

    These vessels were commonly used by traders to carry extremely high volumes of cargo from Australia to Europe. The cargo mainly consisted of Nitrates and Guano destine for the Western South American coast.

    Fun fact: The oldest sailing ship in the world is a bark. These types of ships were very popular in the period prior to the start of World War II. They were later fitted with steam-dust winches so they could be operated by a small crew.

    10) The Xebec

    These ships came with a lot of features,such as long-prow bulkheads, narrow elongated hulls, and huge lateen yards. The ships also bore one aft-set mizzen mast and three lateen-pillared masts, both raked forward and having a single triangular sail. They were also known as“Zebec”, a name derived from the Arabic word for “Small Ship”.

    They were derived from the galleys and therefore had oars for propulsion. They were very agile and popular with European navies. They soon became notorious as effective anti-piracy raiders,commercial cruisers and formed the bulk of the Mediterranean Navy fleet. One Xebec had the capacity to carry a maximum of 36 guns on its top deck.

    Whether they were propelled using oars or sails, these high-speed vessels were extremely agile. Their shallow draft and lateen rig allowed for a closer pinch to the wind allowing them to flee quickly or turn around and fire a broadside volley quickly.

    After a lot of engineering experiments, the Xebec gave rise to the Polacre-Xebec, which replaced the mizzen mast. The mainmast of the new derivative also had a square rig. These new vessels were light and could not carry a heavy load. They were suited for sailing on light seas.The shallow draft and low free-board made them unsuitable for open seas sailing.

    11) The Fluyt

    The Fluyt has three squared-rigged masts and was a Dutch merchant sailing ship in the 16th to 17th century. It was lightly fortified and had a small stern and extended box-style structure. It was also known as the Fleut or the Fluit, and was a great cargoship since it had a lot of storage space and only required a skeleton crew to operate it.

    The Fluyt was crafted using specialized tools to reduce the costs of production and make them affordable to merchants.

    12) The Cutter

    This was the preferred naval ship during the 18th century. It had one or two masts, a gaff-rigged bowsprit,two or more head sails and a decked sail-craft. It was mainly used to ferry soldiers and government officials, because it was very fast and could outrun any enemy.

    Modern day Cutters have a rugged appearance and bear fore-and-aft rigs. They are tiny and aptly fit into their intended purpose – speed and agility. The British Sailing Club still has open-oared cutters in their fleet of sailing ships.

    13) The Yawl

    This was a Dutch ship, nicknamed “Dandy” or“Jol” in Dutch. They bore two fully-equipped masts and a fore-and-aft sail. It has a Tinier Jigger-mast and a Mizzen mast that leans towards the rudder post of-the ship. The mizzen sail in this case is purposely designed to aid in balancing and trimming the ship on rough waters. The mainsail is large and approaches that of the sloop in size.

    14) The Ketch

    The ketch looked just like the Yawl and hadtwo masts each having a fore-and-aft rig. The difference between the two is that the Ketch had a Mizzen mast placed on the taller mainmast, but at a position in front of the rudder post. The mizzen in this case aided in maneuvering the vessel.

    They were light weighing in at between 100 and 250 tons. The rigs were designed to carry square masts. They were mainly used by the navy to bombard enemy ships.

    15) The Windjammer

    During the late 19th to early 20th Centuries, the Windjammer, another giant sailing ship was crafted for ferrying bulk cargo. It came with three to five square-rigged masts and had a cost effective extended hull that allowed for a larger storage space.

    It was a general class merchant ship, and the largest in its category. They ferried lumber, guano from one continent to the other.

    Environmental concerns and increasing fuel costs soon rendered the ship obsolete and those which ran purely on wind energy were adopted.

    We also have a list of sailing yachts that may be of interest. Some are the most beautiful in the world and the prices for them are astounding.

    In conclusion

    This is not a comprehensive list if sailing ships that have traversed the oceans throughout history there are many more.However, they all share one characteristic in that they were the precursors of the huge ocean liners that Richard was so used to seeing at the harbor.

    There are still some models that are still sailing around the world, although most of them have been rendered museum pieces over the years.


    Nao Victoria, one of the most famous carracks, a replica of Magellan's ship

    By the Late Middle Ages the cog, and cog-like square-rigged vessels, were widely used along the coasts of Europe, in the Baltic, and also in the Mediterranean. Given the conditions of the Mediterrenean, but not exclusively restricted to it, galley type vessels were extensively used there, as were various two masted vessels, including the caravels with their lateen sails. These and similar ship types were familiar to Portuguese navigators and shipwrights. As the Portuguese gradually extended their explorations and trade ever further south along Africa's Atlantic coast during the 15th century they needed a larger and more advanced ship for their long oceanic adventures. Gradually, they developed the carrack ΐ] from a fusion and modification of aspects of the ship types they knew operating in both the Atlantic and Mediterranean and a new, more advanced form of sail rigging that allowed much improved sailing characteristics in the heavy winds and waves of the Atlantic ocean.

    A typical three-masted carrack such as the São Gabriel had six sails: bowsprit, foresail, mizzen, spritsail, and two topsails.

    A Carrack Ship by Bruegel - History

    At the beginning of the 15-th century the big seagoing saling-ship had one mast and one sail. Fifty years later she had three masts and five or six sails. Unfortunately this great change comes just at a time when we are very badly off for pictures or descriptions of ships. English inventories of 1410-12 have benn publishedn and these give little light on the first stage of the change, but after that comes darkness. Other inventories of about 1425 are known to exist, but they have been not yet copied and printed.
    The documents of 1410-12 show that one ship in the English Royal Navy - and only one- had more than one mast she had "I mast magn." and "I mast parv." - in other words, one big mast and one small mast. The latter may have been in the top as a topmast. We are not told which, but the reference is very important as being the first evidence of a second mast in Northern waters.
    It must be noted that this small mast was found in a ship called the "carake" and a carrack was by origin a Mediterranean type.
    The name 'carrack' was not new. It occurs in Spanish documents before the end of 13th century, and there is an account of the capture by Spanish galleys in 1359 of a large Venetien carrack but it is in the 15-th century that the carrack was in her prime, and we see her then as a three masted ship developed by the southern nations from the Northern one-master and then taken up all over Europe. Genoa was the chief port.
    Ther were Venetian carracks as well, but usually the wessels from Venice were galleys. designed and equipped for long voyages and cargo-carrying.
    . From the book : A Short History of the Sailing Ship by Romola Anderson , R.C. Anderson

    Elõre közlöm, hogy sok mindenben a 'Flamand karakk' építéséhez fogom hasonlítani a hajó építését, ezért elõre is elnézést kérek.

    Ezt a tervrajzot az oldalon találtam még valamikor. Némi kutatás után kiderült számomra, hogy az eredeti makett a madridi tengerészeti múzeumban található, és a tervrajzot az alapján rajzolták. Eddigi tapasztalataim alapján célszerûnek találtam a tervrajz teljes digitalizálását, nehogy a bordatervekkel, vagy egyéb építési csomóponttal problémába ütközzek. Az eredeti bordatervek digitalizálása során elõ is került az elsõ probléma. Az eredeti rajz tartalmazza az összes bordát, de sajnos nem mérethelyesen, ezért alapvetõen használhatatlannak bizonyultak. A vonalrajz alapján új bordatervet kellett készítenem. A többit képekben

    The age of discovery (1400-1550)

    • small ships for exploration: caravels
      • a shallow draft to chart unknown waters
      • ability to sail to windward (lateen sails)
      • small crew
      • cargo space for voyages of up to a year
      • high platforms at front and back from which to fire at opponents
      • armed with cannons
      • square sails for more sail area
      • large payload


      In 1492 Colombus's used 2 caravels, the Nina and the Pinta, and a larger carrack, the Santa Maria, as his flagship [More].


      Large carracks had ample room for large crews, provisions and cargo required for east Indies trading. Their size and stability allowed mounting of cannons.

      Magellan's Victoria Replica

      Carracks were also used by Vasco de Gama for the first successful trip to India around the Cape of Good Hope. In 1498, de Gama left Portugal with 170 men, 3 carracks and one caravel he returned 22 months later with only 2 ships and 55 men. He had sailed 24,000 miles and spent 300 days at sea [ BBC History ]. For the next 100 years, the Portuguese controled the East India trade, sending a fleet to India almost every year, scheduled to coincide with the monsoons. For more details see our historical page.

      Carracks for exploration like the Santa Maria or de Gama's San Gabriel were small, about 90 tons but merchant ships would average 250-500 tons with a crew of 40-80 and some war ships went up to 1000 tons. The average speed was about 80 miles/day and the trip to India took 6 to 8 months each way.

      Wreck of a merchant Nao

      Inside of a ship

        , J.R. Steffy, Ship Lab, Center for Maritime Archeology , A. Wells, Texas A&M , A. Wells Master's thesis (5Mb PDF file)

      The Carrack's Mission

      The Carrack is an artist-centered, volunteer-run, zero-commission art space in downtown Durham, North Carolina that hosts short, rapidly rotating exhibitions, performances, workshops, and community gatherings.

      The Carrack proudly supports the work of creators who are underrepresented in the art world at large, including artists of color queer and trans artists and artists who are emerging, experimenting, or producing temporal and/or site-specific work.

      We believe art is an invaluable asset – a resource for cultivating relationships, strengthening communities, and sparking political change. We seek a reimagined arts ecosystem: one that is accessible and collaborative, one that is unbounded by discipline, age, class, race, ability, gender or other identities.

      All artists and organizers use The Carrack for free and keep 100% of what they make from sales if they choose to sell their work. The Carrack is entirely funded by grassroots donations. Find out how you can support this work here.

      The Carrack does not and shall not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion (creed), gender, gender expression, age, national origin (ancestry), disability, marital status, sexual orientation, or military status, or any other basis proscribed by law, in any of its activities or operations. These activities include, but are not limited to, hiring and firing of staff, selection of volunteers and vendors, and provision of services. We are committed to providing an inclusive and welcoming environment for all members of our staff, audience, volunteers, subcontractors, vendors, and clients.

      The Carrack is an equal opportunity employer. We will not discriminate and will take affirmative action measures to ensure against discrimination in employment, recruitment, advertisements for employment, compensation, termination, upgrading, promotions, and other conditions of employment against any employee or job applicant on the bases of race, color, gender, national origin, age, religion, creed, disability, veteran’s status, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.

      From the moment The Carrack opened its doors in June 2011, the space has played an essential role in a rejuvenated Durham, North Carolina arts community. To date, The Carrack has exhibited work by over 1000 visual artists and hosted over 150 exhibitions in addition to numerous performing arts events.

      The Carrack was founded by Laura Ritchie and artist John Wendelbo in a second-floor space on Parrish Street. Its objective was to provide exhibition and performance opportunities for local artists as well as a gathering place for community creatives and an incubator for Wendelbo’s Durham Sculpture Project.

      Originally the gallery space was funded by community donations and a successful Kickstarter campaign in late 2011. Throughout 2012, Ritchie and Wendelbo formalized the gallery’s operations, establishing a juried exhibition model and performance calendar. The Carrack also secured nonprofit fiscal sponsorship through Fractured Atlas. In early 2013, Wendelbo relocated to New Mexico and left The Carrack in Ritchie’s hands.

      Ritchie assembled a team of volunteers, advisors, and community stakeholders to expand and redefine the creative vision of The Carrack while moving it toward a sustainable funding model that remains true to its origins: artist-centered, community-run, zero-commission. The Carrack has stabilized its current support through a fundraiser every October and a Carrack Sustainer donor program.

      In June 2016, on The Carrack’s fifth anniversary, the organization relocated to a first-floor space at 947 East Main Street.

      In June 2018, Laura Ritchie departed as The Carrack’s Director, after seven years of dedication, and with The Carrack firmly on its feet, entrusted the project to new Director, Saba Taj.

      Why is The Carrack a zero-commission gallery?

      Perhaps the better question is: What do emerging artists need to become career artists? At The Carrack, we believe that artists need opportunities to express their unique vision with complete creative freedom. They need to be able to determine every aspect of the exhibition of their work, without commercial concerns, in order to take that next step in their career.

      The Carrack provides artists those opportunities through self-curated exhibits and events without the pressure to sell work. A commission model, to some extent, determines the kind of artwork that a gallery can show some work must sell for the gallery to make its commission. By letting artists take complete ownership of their art and its presentation, The Carrack alleviates the need for sales and facilitates direct interaction with the audience.

      The Carrack puts the artist squarely at the epicenter of all of its efforts. The space is yours do something great.

      “The space is yours.” What exactly does this mean?

      Exhibiting artists have full control of all aspects of their exhibitions. Artists receive their own set of keys and design their show as they wish. Our hope is that each artist transforms the space into something that reflects and compliments their body of work.

      The artist has the responsibility to put on a great show. The Carrack’s future depends on the quality of effort that each artist puts into each exhibition. Carrack staff and volunteers are available to help by request, but we do not dictate the show.

      How does The Carrack stay open?

      The Carrack is run 100% on donations from individuals, organizations and businesses. A crowdfunding campaign initially opened the gallery’s doors. Since then, tax-deductible donations have supported The Carrack. The gallery’s present fundraising model has four components:

        : An Annual Fundraiser each October
    • an annual artist-supported fundraiser, for which artists donate small artworks with low, set price points
    • the Carrack Sustainer program, through which supporters pledge a monthly, tax-deductible amount that’s paid via autodraft
    • higher-level sponsorships, both for general operating expenses and in support of specific exhibitions or events
    • Why are Carrack exhibitions only three weeks long?

      We cultivate the expectation of creative urgency by keeping exhibitions short and by programming our calendar densely. As much as is possible, we want the whole run of an exhibition to have the energy of the opening reception. This pace also allows us to provide exhibition opportunities to as many artists as possible.

      Where did the name “The Carrack” come from?

      A carrack was a 15th-century ship. In its time, its fast and sturdy design offered a platform for discovery. Likewise agile and transformative, The Carrack is a platform for artistic exploration from which artists can connect with their community in new ways, discover new routes of expression and chart unique, creative careers.

      Watch the video: Νησάκι Ιωαννίνων. Το μοναδικό νησί στον κόσμο χωρίς όνομα (September 2022).


  1. Akinyemi

    No, I cannot tell to you.

  2. Vurisar

    And it is not far to infinity :)

  3. Magal

    I think you are wrong. I can defend my position. Email me at PM, we will discuss.

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