5 ships that scoured the Seven Seas

In Military History, Featured

Hoist the main sail! Raise the mizenmast! Fire a shot across her starboard bow!

OK, so I don’t know much about ships. Luckily I’m not the one writing the books, and our authors know a lot. For this week’s list we are looking at 5 ships that sailed the Seven Seas in the 16th and 17th century, with the accompanying text coming straight from the experts!

Venetian Galleass c. 1571

NVG 62 - Renaissance War GalleyIllustration from New Vanguard 62 - Renaissance War Galley 1470-1590

From the book:

The galleass was one of the most incredible ships of the period, combining a powerful all-round firepower with the ability to move under oars. A Venetian invention, the first galleasses were converted from galia grosse hulls during the late 1520s. These were cumbersome vessels, but although many saw them as sailing vessels, as they carried three masts, these Venetian warships were really a development of the galley, using the hull of the galia grosse to create a mobile bastion of wood and guns.

The Adventure Galley 1658 – Ship of William Kidd

NVG 70 - The Pirate ShipIllustration from New Vanguard 70 - The Pirate Ship 1660 - 1730

From the book:

Specially commissioned for Captain William Kidd as a privateer by London backers, the Adventure Galley was supposed to be the perfect privateering vessel. It also made an ideal pirate ship. In most respects she was a conventional fast, square-rigged, three-mast ship, but she was also fitted with oars, in case she needed to catch a prize during a calm, or to escape from her pursuers.

The San Felipe, 1629

NVG 96 - Spanish GalleonIllustration from New Vanguard 96 - Spanish Galleon 1530-1690

From the book:

The San Felipe (named after Philip IV’s patron saint) was 102ft (31.1m) long, with a beam of 33ft (10m) and carried 24 guns. During her career she sailed to the Caribbean as part of the Indies flota, and served in the Portuguese squadron of the Armada del Mar Océano during the war with France. She even participated in the Battle of the Downs, and survived the experience. She can therefore be seen as a typical ‘workhorse’ of the Spanish fleet during the middle decades of the 17th century.

Swiftsure, 1573

NVG 149 - Tudor Warships (2)Illustration from New Vanguard 149 - Tudor Warships (2)

From the book:

The Swiftsure was one of the first of the English race-built galleons designed by Sir John Hawkins, and until the launch of the Revenge four years later, she and her sister the Dreadnought were considered the fastest warships in the fleet, despite criticisms in some quarters that they were too lightly built. This criticism might well have let to the rebuilding of both vessels in 1592, making them the only Hawkins galleons to be rebuilt during their designer’s lifetime. The Swiftsure formed part of the usual Guard Fleets in home waters during the ‘Cod War’ with Spain, and participated in the Siege of Smerwick in 1580. During the Armada campaign of 1588, she formed part of Drake’s squadron, under the command of Captain Edward Fenner

The Regent (pictured in battle with Marie La Cordelière, 1512)

NVG 142 - Tudor Warships (1)Illustration from New Vanguard 142 - Tudor Warships (1)

From the book:

The largest vessel of the Tudor navy until the appearance of Henry Grace à Dieu, the four-masted Regent was a floating symbol of Tudor power, richly decorated and armed with no fewer than 225 guns, although almost all were handguns and swivel piece. By the time Sir Thomas Knyvet sailed her into action against the French off Brest on 10 August 1512, she boasted an additional battery of heavy guns.

During the battle the powerful Marie la Cordelière became isolated from the rest of the French fleet and was surrounded by English warships. Captain Hervé de Porzmoguer held his own against all comers, but the Regent finally managed to grapple and board the French warship. As the two sides fought a fire broke out on the Cordelière, and the flames quickly spread to the Regent. Soon both warships were engulfed in flames, and both warships were lost, with tremendous loss of life. This scene recreates the moment when the two ships first clashed.

Please chip in with any other ships you feel I have missed. The one rule – they can’t be from later than 1700!

Post Comments

There are no comments on this post yet.

Submit a Comment

You must be logged in as a Bronze, Silver or Gold Osprey member to comment on this post.

Click here to log in.