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A ship is a sea vessel. This is not to be confused with a boat, which is also a sea vessel. The rule of thumb is,

  "A boat can fit onto a ship, but a ship cannot fit onto a boat."  

So, a ship is just a huge boat. During the age of sail (SCA period), a ship was any vessel with three square-sail masts and a bowspirit (the little pole jutting out in front).

Ships in History

Since man could dig out a log, he has been making ships. Over the years, they have taken different shapes. Early ships were simply big boats, with expansions on either side to increase space (the catamaran is a perfect example). Biremes and triremes were ships used first by the Hellenes and were used in differing forms until the 14th century, mostly under the term "Galley". Galleys were then rendered obsolete by the more powerful "Man o' War". In the Viking lands, longships were predominant.

List of Period Ships

The following is a list of period ships:

Famous Period Ships

Famous Period Captains

Ships in the SCA

Obviously, due to an utter lack of real sea battles, ships are nearly non-existant in the SCA (at least, in the Midrealm). But, that doesn't mean you can't be knowlegeable about ships, or even crew one! A Viking who knows diddly-squat about the Longship would be laughed out of his own community. Perhaps your persona owns, crews, or captains one of these vessels.


Obviously, if you are a sea dog, you have to sound like one!

  • Fleet, Flotilla- A group of ships.
    • Armada - A group of military ships (Spanish).
    • Convoy - A group of merchant or trade ships.
    • Navy - A group of military ships.
  • Bottom - The ship, sans sails or mast or rigging; i.e. the hull and decks.
  • Sail - Unit of ship; e.g. "The English have a fleet of 50 sail". Also, the thing that makes most ships go.
  • Bow - Front of ship.
  • Stern - Back of ship.
  • Starboard - Right side of ship.
  • Port - Left side of ship.
  • Deck - Floor or level of ship.
  • Rigging - All the ropes and such.
  • Maidenhead - The decorative carving on the bow of many ships.

See also: