The Guy That Wrote This (uhlrik) wrote in little_details,
The Guy That Wrote This

Period Ships In Icy Waters

Here's a question for the nautical types.

This is for a low-fantasy world with a technical level very roughly matching the renaissance (say, 16th century or so).

In a very cold north-facing coastal harbor area (something like Churchill, Manitoba for example with regards to latitude) that is prone to icebergs, what would seamen likely do with wooden ships during the winter time if they had no intention of making voyages over the dangerous winter? Would they be likely to leave them at anchor in the harbor, ground them on the ebb or put them into dry dock? For that matter, was the practice of using something like a dry dock even in practice in contemporary technological periods?

Most of the ships I'm thinking of are something like galleons (carvel-built planking, square sails, multi-masted and straight-keeled) or the dutch fluyt in design, and are broadside-equipped war vessels. Also present but a bit out of place in this sort of water (given the weather patterns) are a number of galleys rather like square-sailed bergantins.

Also, if they did employ dry dock or grounding methods, how quickly would they be able to get these vessels afloat again in an emergency, assuming access to plenty of capable hands? The time frame in question for emergency reentry is late winter/early spring.

I'm trying to cover a wide variety of possibilities here.
Tags: 1500-1599, ~boats and other things that float

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