For millenia, sailing was the only way of propulsion safe for rowers, so it is only natural, that the Selkie developed their own riggings and sailing ship vessels,
Selkie, to this day, favour triangular, or in international parlance lanteen, sails.
Mythical and ancient times
Early Times (- 826)
The oldest type of sailing ship used by Selkie, which is tangible in written sources, are ships not primarily propelled by their sails, but by oarsmen: The rámhlong in Selkie, or galleys in international parlance. As there was no distinction between warships and civilian vessels, not yet, the types of vessels could be used for many different purposes. With the advancement of the Dark Ages, the vessels built advanced as well, their methods of construction changing and new methods of construction falling in and out of favour, depending on the region.
Ramming was never a favoured tactic amongst the Selkie, who much rather preferred to keep the enemy at a distance, hence the Order of Ladra, God of Helmsmen and Boatsmen, being the Arrowmaidens. Armament of vessels during that time were indeed archers with a variety of arrows, as well as torsion siege engines with a variety of ammunitions (this was indeed the most regular application of siege engines by the Selkie, many of their operators later finding jobs on dry shores when need arose).
One of the oldest, tangible form of vessel built by the Selkie are the Caogaidí, the Fifties, named after the roundabout number of oarsmen this kind of vessel had in order to fix its tax bracket and dayage, which is indeed where they are first tangible in the year 952 BCE in what later would become Silverport.
Each of these vessels had roundabout fifty oarsmen, or rather between 40 and 58 in accordance with the tax regulation, an even number split in two with one half sitting and rowing at each half of the vessel. They were rather long vessels, up to 35 metres long, and had a sharp keel, allowing for high speeds. In a test of the University of Wembury with a rebuild Caogaidí, the untrained and slightly uncoordinated crew of oarsmen managed a continuous speed of up to 9.5 knots.
They had a mast amidships, but that one was only used in favourable wind. A full deck was typical, but there were also provisions in the taxation regulations for vessels without that, meaning they had to pay a little bit less.
These vessels seem to have been rather common in Silverport, as the records show - still, useable for all manner of things, both military and civilian, these vessels were the backbone of the maritime trade of the Selkie in the Age of the High Kings, including their colonization efforts to the outlying islands.
The Caogaidí was built in the primitive, yet highly efficient way of mortise and tenon construction method with the shell, meaning the hull, first at first, later in the age of the High Kings gradually being replaced by the skeleton-first method.
The Tríochaidí was the other common type of vessel of the Selkie during that time, at least according to the tax regulations, its name meaning Thirties - with 20 to 38 oarsmen.
While the Caogaidí knew many different uses, the Tríochaidí was far more limited to military application, capable of taking aboard small loads, but not good as a freighter. Much rather, these small vessels, which could be up to 30 metres long, but were usually a bit shorter, were fast scouts, troop transports and patrol vessels, but also ideal pirate vessels and merchant raiders.
The vessels of the Ceapaire Dúbailte Type, or sandwich type, was a more military application of the Caogaidí Type, with a second set of oarsmen and oars stacked upon the first, doubling the oarscrews and making it possible to successfully maneuvre vessels fourty metres in length and six metres wide.
The useability for trade of these vessels was limited.
The Triatán Type, or Triangle Type, was a type of small vessel not mainly powered by oarsmen, but by the wind, using the triangular sails it was named after to achieve great and impressive speeds. Ultimately, their use was limited to being either small scout vessels or fishing boats, predecessors of the Seoll Type, which is still in use today.
Later, these types of sailing vessels were adopted into the Reathaí Type or Runner Type, which is further explained below.
While the southern parts of the Lands of the Selkie used the mortise and tenon construction method, the parts north of the Silver Mountains, roughly, used a method of construction known as clinker built, which slowly spread southwards in the 7th and 8th centuries to dominate seafaring in the dark ages until the carvel construction method came around in the latest 13th and 14th centuries.
Dark Ages (826 - 1365)
A further development of the ancient Tríochaidí-Type, the Reathaí-Type, or Runner-Type, were in use up until the 13th century. The time from which one can differ between the Tríochaidí-Type and the Reathaí-Type is an issue of much debate, but what differs them is clear, namely the full deck, the complete abandonment of the ram and the upcoming evolution of sails, gradually replacing the oarsmen. At first, these sails had been square, but the more time passed, the more these vessels adopted lateen sails, either as an auxiliary propulsion or as the main propulsion (by the time two masts were in use, the oarsmen had almost vanished).
These vessels were constructed with the skeleton first, instead of the shell first, and, by the 11th century, used mostly lateen sails and oars protruding directly from the hull. They usually were around 30 metres long, with a crew of around 120 men, eighty of which were oarsmen, ten nautical crew and thirty actual soldiers and warriors. A keel is evident from the 10th century onward.
Armament-wise, the Reathaí-Type had a wooden castle either behind the mast or between the masts (depending on whether or not the vessel had one or two masts), under which the Captain and the officers had their sleeping spots, while the upper level served as a platform for archers, slingers and, in a few cases, for small catapults or torsion siege engines or bolt throwers (although they could throw other things as well).
These vessels had a limited amount of application as trading vessels and were usually more vessels of war and piracy (which, at the time and at sea, were kind of the same thing for the Selkie). They are not to be confused with the 20th century Reathaí-class Torpedo Boats in service with the SDF-Navy (although it is usually assumed, that one took the name from the other).
Geal-Type, or White-Type
The Geal-Type, or White-Type, is type, which was basically the Reathaí-Type, only as a cargo-hauler. Usually wider and slower, with more oarsmen, they were basically the same vessels, used as cargo transports or troop transports, oftentimes also as merchant vessels. There exists record of a special type known as the long margáil, or Horse Trading Ship, which, in turn is belived to be a sort-of Ride-On/Ride-Off Vessel for horses.
Tuaisceartach-Type, or Northener-Type
The Tuaisceartach-Type, or Northener-Type, is usually believed to have originated in the North, in the area of Launceston, around the 8th or 9th century. With their flat bottoms and high sides, these clinker-built vessels with pronounced keels had rudders instead of steering oars. They could be between 15 and 25 metres long and had a cargo capacity of up to 200 tons.
While mostly used by merchants, these square-rigged boats could also be used as warships and troop transports.
Although some Northeners also had lateen sails, their numbers were rather limited.
Explorers, Traders, Mercenaries (1365-1690)
The Luasbhád, literally Speedboats, were small and light vessels in service with the Harbour Guards of the larger cities. With a single mast, and triangular sails, these vessels were fast and lightweight, as well as heavily armed for their size. They carried sufficient crew to board and capture other vessels, too. They could be up to 25 meters in length, characteristic for them being their high, raked masts with the long bowsprits and booms.
Prized for their speed and agility, especially upwind, these small vessels were mostly used for harbour defense and coast hugging. They were mostly in service from the 17th to the the 18th centuries, with some still being build in the 19th and 20th centuries, they mostly became workboats during that time.
Capall na dTonnThe Capall na dTonn Type, or 'Horse of the Waves Type', is a type of sailing vessel in use with the Selkie since the 16th century. Typically with a bowsprit and two masts, and rarely anything but (most exceptions to that are indeed of more modern times), the foremast is shorter then the main mast, with fore and aft sails, these vessels were typically used for purposes, that required speed, such as privateering, blockade running, war, but also fishing and trade.
Capable of sailing in shallow waters as much as on the open ocean, highly agile and speedy, while also only needing a relatively small crew, these ships are favoured by fishermen and some traders to today, but mostly serve as tourist attractions nowadays.
The sails of the Capall na dTonn Type are mostly trapezoid, with the exception of the jib and the fore staysail, which were triangular. However, these trapezoid sails, the foresail and the mainsail, were controlled at their peaks along their heads by a pole, usually equipped with running backstays.
The Eachtraí Type, or Adventurer Type, is a type of sailing vessel, that came up in the late 16th and early 17th centuries - during the latter, those vessels were perfected.
sail-fishing vessel still used along the shores of the Free Lands and the Archipelago, as well as up in Northern Islands with a few modifications. The originals were, and sometimes still are as traditional craftsmen still build their boats in accordance with their inherited knowledge and skill, of wood, nails and corresponding materials
The rigging is, according to a foreign sailing expert seeing the prototype at work, typically for a sloop with one jib and one jib-headed mainsail, both on the twenty-three meters high mast with a long boom. Provisions to climb the mast as seen necessary are provided, especially since at the top both a flag and a satellite uplink for both data transmissions and GPS are fitted, as well as a radio antenna.
Second Golden Age and Age of Peace (1690 - 1903)
The Dorcha-Type of sailing vessels was a type of small, shallow sailing vessels, larger then the Seol-Type and used as both a fishing vessel and a cargo hauler to this day. Plump by silhouette, with flat bottoms and a raised bow and stern, these one masted vessels with a trapezoid main sail and a fore stay sail, much like the Capall na dTonn.
However, unlike the Capall na dTonn, the Dorcha-Type was not a very good vessel for high seas, mostly being used as a ship connecting the Oileánra-Archipelago and the Mainland via Shella and Droichid Island. Some regularly sailed to Mount Vellenge and Lutetii as well.
On average, these vessels were thirty meters long, eight meters wide and two meters deep. They were also, usually, unarmed.
Distant cousins of the Barquentine Rig of the 19th century.
The Tarraing-Type of sailing vessels is an oddity of Selkie-Shipbuilding, mainly because it was a large freighter, not a small and nimble ship. Their first predecessors came up over the 17th century, but their golden age were the 18th and early 19th centuries and the trade, which they had a part in. The MGoL had a fleet of these vessels, numbering a total of 39 vessels of this kind in 1719 (in 1720, three of their vessels were part of the Raid on the Kyrenaian Treasure Fleet of 1720, two of which were lost).
Generally measuring about fifty meters in total length, with a beam to hull-length ratio of 1:5.5 to 1:6, generally giving them a beam of 8.7 meters. Records of the MGoL indicate, that these ships were armed for self-defense, with up to 16 canons to maximize the cargo capacity to around 800 to 900 tons. They were also relatively fast, usually being able to reach ten knots with good winds.
The term tarraing means something along the lines of to haul, giving this type of vessel the international name of Hauler-Type. One of the most famous vessels of this kind is the Saor, owned by Enya Díol of the Tribe of Fingal.