Picture Of Caravel

Pirate Ship

Probably the most used ship of the 15th century, but also used in the 16th and 17th. The original, Mediterranean version, was lateen rigged (the sails shaped like triangle) on the two masts. Later, Spanish and Portuguese developed caravel into a three-masted ship with the first two masts square rigged and lateen rigged on the mizzen-mast. Some caravels even had four masts. They were small sized ships (from 80 to 130 tons), about 75 feet long. They were also highly maneuverable. Because of a shallow hull, the caravels were mostly used for a long voyages and the exploration of the African coast. Sometimes they were mounted with the guns and used as a warship. A big weakness was a lack of cargo capacity and the small living quarters. Even Christopher Columbus used two caravels for his famous expedition in 1492. One of them was his famous flagship, the “Santa Maria”.