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Age of Pirates 2: City of Abandoned Ships. Sailing fleet through the eyes of a historian Kirill Nazarenko
Age of Pirates 2: City of Abandoned Ships. Sailing fleet through the eyes of a historian Kirill Nazarenko

You are reading an article prepared during the development of the pirate life simulation game Corsairs Legacy by Ukrainian Mauris studio with the aim of popularizing the marine theme in general and pirate games in particular. You can follow the project news on our website, YouTube channel, and Telegram.

In this article, Kirill Nazarenko analyzes the historical correspondence of the sailing fleet in Age of Pirates 2: City of Abandoned Ships.

Hello! At the request of Volodymyr Bondarenko, I am reviewing the ships from the Sea Dogs game. Here I can only say one thing: you asked me to do this. I have already admitted that I like the Sea Dogs game. If we talk about the names of the ships and their appearance, then, frankly, it is far from ideal.

The ships in Age of Pirates 2: City of Abandoned Ships are divided into 7 classes. Although, if we talk about historical realities, then the division into classes probably grew in the game "Sea Dogs" from the one adopted in the English fleet, where there were many classes.

Age of Pirates 2: City of Abandoned Ships. Sailing fleet through the eyes of a historian Kirill Nazarenko

Age of Pirates 2: City of Abandoned Ships: Tartana

The 7th class is a boat and tartanTartan is more or less similar to something historical. It has Latin sailing equipment and a rather sharp hull. It resembles the small ships of the Mediterranean basin.

As for the boat, it is rather some kind of Roman merchant ship with one straight sail. I must say that in the 17th–18th centuries, small vessels, say, deckless boats and dinghies usually had either oblique or Latin sail rigging (Latin sail looks like a right triangle), but not straight. Therefore, a boat with a direct sail looks rather ridiculous.

In the 6th class, there is a bilander, an improved bilander, a pink, a trading pink, a barque, a heavy barque, a sloop, a light sloop, and a fast barque.

Here comes the birthmark of this game. The fact is that the creators of Sea Dogs decided to make a compote from the types of sailing ships, while not bothering with the drawing of the ships.

If we recall the historical realities, then two and one-masted ships had a huge number of varieties. There were dozens, if not hundreds. Each coastal area had its nuances of sailing rigging, and some were very original. And I'm only talking about Europe. If we also take the coast of Asia and the Far East, we will see even more types of ships.

It seems to me that it would be more logical to start small vessels with single-masted vessels (historically they were called luggers or tenders), and then move on to two-masted ones in older classes. But here we have two-masted rhinestones in the 6th class.

If we look at these ships, let's say at bilanders, then we will see a straight sail with them, and not on a bowsprit, but on a sprit-topmast.

A bowsprit is a horizontal or inclined spar tree protruding forward from the bow of a sailing ship.

Sprit-topmast (topmast — part of the ship's spars, serving as a continuation of the upper end of the mast) is a mast tree typical of the 17th century, standing on the bowsprit, but in a vertical plane, that is, at an angle of the bowsprit. They quickly abandoned it, because the strength of the connection between the sprit-topmast and the bowsprit was very small.

This sail was called "Boven spritsail" (sail over the spritsail) and was used on large ships. On such two-masted ships, I don’t know at all about the installation of a sprit-topmast. Nevertheless, it appears on these billanders.

Well, and so it has a normal sailing rigging, typical, say, for a two-masted big. Although these names were quite mobile. Mostly straight sails and a single Latin sail on the second mast, which may be called the mizzen mast in this case because it is lower than the foremast, which in this case would be called the mainmast (a ship's mast, usually the second mast, counting from the bow ship).

If we take pink, it looks more like some historical prototypes. This is a two-masted ship with a Latin sail on a mizzen with a staysail (a triangular sail) in front, which is placed between the mainmast and the bowsprit. This is something more like small coasters in European and American waters.

Age of Pirates 2: City of Abandoned Ships. Sailing fleet through the eyes of a historian Kirill Nazarenko

Age of Pirates 2: City of Abandoned Ships: Barque

As for the barque, I think there is a problem in translation because it should have been called bark rather. In general, in Spanish and Italian, the bark is a fairly broad category of sailing ships. But here the barque in Slavic languages is more associated with a river self-propelled vessel, and not with a two-masted sea vessel. This barque is more like the brig.

What is called a sloop in the game is again some version of a brig, but with a slanting mizzen sail.

One must understand that the word “sloop” is also very ambiguous. For example, in the English tradition, by the end of the 18th century, three-masted ships with full ship armament, but without closed artillery decks, began to be called sloops. In the 18th century, a lot of things were called a sloop, that is, a two-masted ship could also be called a sloop. But it seems to me that it would be much more interesting if the creators of the game played more seriously with sailing rigging.

Age of Pirates 2: City of Abandoned Ships. Sailing fleet through the eyes of a historian Kirill Nazarenko

Age of Pirates 2: City of Abandoned Ships: Sloop

Next comes the barque and the fast barque. Moreover, some kind of ridiculous phenomenon with two straight sails on a bowsprit, while two-masted. This is rather strange.

In the 5th class, even more, oddities begin. There is a Lugger, a Fast Lugger, a snaw, a Trade snaw, a Galleon, and a Reinforced Galleon. And all this in the fifth class.

At the same time, as far as I know, the lugger was the name given to single-masted ships with a light hull, which served for communications and intelligence in the 18th – early 19th centuries.

Age of Pirates 2: City of Abandoned Ships. Sailing fleet through the eyes of a historian Kirill Nazarenko

Age of Pirates 2: City of Abandoned Ships: Lugger

Here we see a two-masted vessel with characteristic forms of the 16th century: with a rather high bow and stern. I don't even know what to call it. According to my concepts, this is some kind of galleon that should look like this, but not a lugger and not a fast lugger.

Next comes the snaw. The snaw is a Slavic term of the 18th century, or rather, it took root in this region in the 18th century. It meant a two-masted brig-type vessel that served for intelligence. It is two-masted, but here we see a very developed sailing on the bowsprit: two jibs (an oblique triangular sail attached to the tackle going from the mast to the bowsprit), and two sails under the bowsprit, and very high raised.

To be honest, I don't even know what it's like. Moreover, on the second mast, which in this case, it is probably correct to call the mainmast, because it is almost on the same level as the front one, which can be called the foremast, there is both a straight mainsail and a slanting sail set on a hafel (an inclined spar tree that is lifted the mast and rests against it with its heel).

Such armament was used, but rather rarely because the straight mainsail and gaff were bound to obscure each other and work poorly together.

Then comes the galleon and the reinforced galleon. Here the galleon looks a bit like a real one, but it seems to me that the bowsprit is too far up and too long. It is not clear how it holds up because in length it reaches almost the middle of the foremast (the first, counting from bow to stern, the mast on a ship with two or more masts), or even higher than the foremast. The shape of the hull of this galleon is indeed typical of the 17th century: it has a rather strongly elongated latrine (originally, an overhang on the bow of a sailing ship for installing a bow decoration).

In the 4th class, there is a pinnace, a reinforced pinnace, a brig, a sheathed brig, a light caravel, a simple caravel, a merchant caravel, a sheathed fast galleon, a fast galleon, fluyts, heavy fluyts.

Here, of course, the mix is complete. If we talk about the brig (let’s skip the pinnace) then for some reason, it has three masts. There are no three-masted brigs, I tell you this for sure.

Age of Pirates 2: City of Abandoned Ships. Sailing fleet through the eyes of a historian Kirill Nazarenko

Age of Pirates 2: City of Abandoned Ships: a sheathed brig

But under the sheathed brig, it probably means sheathing with copper sheets for greater speed. Basically, this is true, but the annotation says that the sheathed brig retained almost all the advantages of a conventional brig, except for a slight decrease in speed. Why plating the bottom with copper sheets should cause a decrease in speed is absolutely incomprehensible, rather the opposite, since the plating protected against fouling with shells and algae and should potentially increase speed. But in any case, the three-masted brig is completely absurd.

Next comes a light caravel, a caravel, and a trading caravel.

By caravels, it is correct to understand small vessels with Latin sails, which were used in Spain and Portugal in the 15t–-16th centuries, and which quickly fell into disuse when the question of sailing across the Atlantic arose because the Latin sail was inconvenient.

Age of Pirates 2: City of Abandoned Ships. Sailing fleet through the eyes of a historian Kirill Nazarenko

Age of Pirates 2: City of Abandoned Ships: Caravel

Caravels were used for coastal navigation. As a rule, they had one level of sails, that is, one sail on one mast, and there were usually one or two masts. In principle, it is wrong to call Columbus's ships caravels, they should be called nao — they were three-masted ships with straight sailing rigging. That is, this is something like what is drawn in the picture in the game. Still, it is not necessary to call it caravels.

Next comes the galleon in Age of Pirates 2: City of Abandoned Ships. Here, the galleon has the least number of complaints: if the bowsprit was a little shortened, and so two masts with direct sails and a third mast with a Latin sail — basically, the galleon was armed in this way in earlier times. Moreover, it has a fairly even hull, which was typical for a galleon.

By the way, the very name of the galleon comes from the name of one of the varieties of golet. Perhaps the shipbuilders and sailors of that time wanted to emphasize the elongated, flattened hull of this type of ship.

As for the fluyt, it is a typical three-masted merchant ship. Its sign was quite full rounds. Indeed, this is the main Dutch trading vessel of the 17th century and more or less similar to what was called a fluyt. Here it is impossible to judge the details of its hull, but it will do. Although, I would not attribute it to the fourth class.

Next comes the 3rd class: military galleon, heavy military galleon, corvette, sheathed corvette, frigate, reinforced frigate. Why a corvette and a frigate are in the same class — I cannot understand.

But again, you need to understand that a galleon and a frigate in the same class is like making a war chariot and T-34 tank representatives of the same class. However, when there were galleons, there were no frigates and corvettes. When there were frigates and corvettes, there were no galleons.

As for the corvettes, the corvette is not like anything at all. Corvettes, of course, had 3 masts and direct sailing equipment. But the corvette is the beginning of the 19th century, and it did not have closed artillery decks, but at the same time, at the time when the corvettes came into use, there was no longer a direct sail on the bowsprit.

As for frigates, here again, we see the same topmast, on which a huge sail is carried, which is slightly smaller than a straight mainsail and foresail, which is very strange. The contours of the hull of this frigate are reminiscent of the contours of a frigate of the early 18th century.

Age of Pirates 2: City of Abandoned Ships. Sailing fleet through the eyes of a historian Kirill Nazarenko

Age of Pirates 2: City of Abandoned Ships: Frigate

For frigates, let me remind you, that the main difference is the presence of a closed artillery deck, an open deck, and a slightly elevated stern. In general, the hull is similar to a frigate. If you remake this strange design on the nose with a sprit-topmast, then maybe it will do.

Next comes the second class: battleship, fast battleship, warship, and heavy warship.

It is clear that any battleship is a battleship, and it would be better to distinguish them by the number of guns. It would have been more logical in the game, but for some reason, they decided to call them that.

Even though in the battleship I can see with my eyes 3 artillery decks, and it looks like 3 closed decks. It's too much. The battleships had either two closed decks and one open, or three closed and one open. Moreover, the sailing armament is quite archaic, it draws on the end of the 17th — beginning of the 18th century — this is a Latin sail on a mizzen, a sprit-topmast, and large straight sails on a bowsprit. The same can be said about a fast battleship.

As for the warship, for some reason, it has two masts, but at the same time, it has two closed artillery decks. How this can be I don’t know. Such ships simply did not exist.

Finally, the first class is a warship, reinforced warship, Manowar, and improved Manowar.

Here we are dealing with loan translation from English, because in English "Battleship" and "Manowar" is normal, but in Slavic languages, it is not normal. These are three-deck battleships or 100-gun battleships.

Here, judging by the number of guns, the warship has 68 guns, the reinforced warship has the same number, the Manowar has 98, and the improved Manowar also has 98 guns. But these ships, if we talk about Manowars, are rather three-deck battleships, pulling at the beginning of the 18th century in terms of sailing rigging and hull shape. Well, a reinforced warship — for battleships of the 6 class.

Age of Pirates 2: City of Abandoned Ships. Sailing fleet through the eyes of a historian Kirill Nazarenko

Age of Pirates 2: City of Abandoned Ships: Manowar

By the way, if someone thought about how the Slavic people of the 18th century broke their tongues, saying “sixty-four-gun battleship”— it’s hard to say (in Slavic languages), and that’s why they said, “sixties ships”, or “seventies ships”. But it’s not clear what the 90- and 100-gun ships were called, because I didn’t see this in those written sources that I came across.

Now for the unique ships in Age of Pirates 2: City of Abandoned Ships.

Tartana, which is depicted as a unique ship: two masts with Latin sails — this is something similar to a normal Mediterranean small boat.

On a longboat, I would still make slanting sails, not Latin ones. Because usually Latin weapons are not installed on the longboat.

Age of Pirates 2: City of Abandoned Ships. Sailing fleet through the eyes of a historian Kirill Nazarenko

Unique ships in Age of Pirates 2: City of Abandoned Ships: longboat

Well, a lugger, which is shown in the class of unique ships, is decent. Although I repeat, that in my concept the lugger is single-masted. A lugger is rather what the creators called a sloop. The fact that the lugger is two-masted is something strange with strangely set sails. It's hard for me to describe this building.

Here is a schooner from the unique ships of the 5th class — it is also wrong. Because the right schooner should carry slanting sails on all masts. In this case, in the picture, we have the so-called hermaphrodite, that is, the brig schooner, which carried straight sails on the foremast and oblique sails on the main mast.

As for the barque from the 5th class, this is some kind of three-masted ship. If only it had a slightly longer body. Here I would rather call it a corvette, although it is too small for a corvette. On such small ships, three masts look pretty ridiculous.

A caravel from unique ships is exactly the same nao that Columbus sailed on, but this is not a caravel.

Age of Pirates 2: City of Abandoned Ships. Sailing fleet through the eyes of a historian Kirill Nazarenko

Unique ships in Age of Pirates 2: City of Abandoned Ships: caravel

Unique fluyt. Its uniqueness, apparently, is that it was awarded giant sails on a bowsprit and sprit-topmast, which would hardly work in real life.

Here is a brig in the 4th class, it looks like a real one. The galleon — not so much.

Corvette in the 3rd class is quite similar to the real one. About pinas, it is somehow difficult for me to judge. Pinas and heavy galleon — there is a feeling that you just had to invent other ships.

The frigate, which is depicted in the 2nd class, for some reason has two masts. There could be no two-masted frigates.

Further, we see just options for battleships. But for some reason, these unique battleships have a monstrous superstructure at the stern, which makes them very strange.

The Manowar is well drawn. Its body is quite similar to what it was at the turn of the 18th-19th century.

The Soleil Royale would also be decent if it were not for the too-far sails on the bowsprit.

I'm sorry if this is a bit of a devastating review, but I can't say anything about these drawings of ships except that they are rather strange. However, the game is still very good and exciting.

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