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Would you care about the size and form of the ship?

  1. Anything other than historically precise is garbage.

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  2. If you explained why well enough, I'd buy into it.

    47.6%
  3. I don't know shit about boats. I wouldn't even have noticed.

    47.6%
  4. I thought you said this story was erotica? I'm just skimming for the "good parts". ;)

    4.8%
  1. Wreybies

    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Do you care about my boat?

    Discussion in 'Setting Development' started by Wreybies, Feb 16, 2017.

    I'm not sure if this is something I actually care about, or if this is just another flavor of me procrastinating, but...

    I've been back and forth about the ship that will be the main setting for the second act of my WIP. It's meant to be a fishing ship and the technology in play is old-timie, 13th to possibly 17th century. So, think big wooden ships.

    Also, important to note, my story is Science Fantasy. It's not our world, it's not our timeline.

    I settled on the idea that the most functionally appropriate ship to base my ship on is probably a Dutch herring buss. Thing is, a herring buss is not a very large ship. There may be a captains's quarters on the larger ones, which will be little more than a large closet. It doesn't give me any room for scenes that are below decks.

    [​IMG]

    So I thought a caravel. But a caravel is not a fishing ship and isn't much larger than a herring buss. Same problem.

    I should probably also note that I've been binging on Black Sails these last few weeks to get in the spirit of things. Now THOSE ships have plenty of room for all kinds of scenes. There's a spacious captain's quarters. There are modest quarters for officers. There's space for the crew to hang hammocks below decks. Those ships are large enough to cross the line from thing to location.

    So my question becomes: Would you care in a fantasy story that a ship of this size serves as a fishing vessel? Is this the kind of thing that would make you think Preposterous! or would it even register to you?

    I don't usually create polls, but in this case... :)

    [​IMG]
     
  2. Iogairn

    Iogairn Member

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    I think being historically correct is less important than making sense. Fishing vessels weren't usually that large because it wasn't economical (smaller boats tended to fish near the shores so there was no need for large ship with a lot of crew, which meant there wasn't much need for bureaucracy so there wasn't a huge need for captains,quartermasters etc). However you could probably think your way around that with a small detail or so: e.g. fishing dried up nearer to shore so an old military vessel was converted to search for further scope of fish.
     
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  3. Homer Potvin

    Homer Potvin Active Member

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    I'd pick none of the above. I know a decent amount about boats, but I wouldn't care about the size of it and whether that would be appropriate to fishing or not. I don't think the size of it at all is relevant unless you go out of your way to point it out to me. And if you're doing that to cover up a plot hole I'll smell it like a fart in the shower. I can almost always tell when a writer is compensating for something they know is bullshit, even if I don't have any specific knowledge of it myself. Best bet is to pretend that your reservations about it don't exist.
     
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  4. Wreybies

    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Nope. No plot hole. I just want it to be large enough to be an interesting place for story to happen.
     
  5. Zadocfish

    Zadocfish Member

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    Have you considered making it a fishing vessel for especially large, open-ocean fish?
     
  6. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    Go with the one you want. The six people that know better can read something else.
     
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  7. mrieder79

    mrieder79 Probably not a ground squirrel

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    I think it's fine, although if it fits with your story I think the concept of fishing for really big fish is neat. That would justify larger craft, like whalers, for example.
     
  8. SethLoki

    SethLoki Unemployed Autodidact Contributor

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    In addition to @mrieder79 — necessity breeds invention, I'd say if fish fetched a good price, or there was a big demand for them, then it'd be viable/feasible/plausble to have larger fishing vessels. Hoist up the main sail. :bigsmile:
     
  9. Iain Aschendale

    Iain Aschendale "Cue the artillery" Contributor

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    No no, not a fishing vessel, and especially not a large fishing vessel. Before refrigeration, fishing vessels are going to need to put in just about every night or the fish will go bad. Maybe, maybe some sort of onboard salting or pickling is possible, but the idea of the wooden "factory ship" is just not going to work. Whaling ships weren't all that big either, I think the Pequod, from Moby Dick, had a crew of less than thirty, and that was including the three "devils" that Captain Ahab brought along to crew the fourth boat. Also, when you say 13th to 17th centuries, you make me want to scream a little bit. We tend to think of the past as pretty static until steam came along, but there were huge developments in naval technology in even the thirty or so years between the sinking of the Essex (which inspired the book) and the fictional voyage of the Pequod.

    And yes, Capt. Ahab and company were on a four year voyage, but the reason they could do that without their spoils, well, spoiling, is because once they caught a whale, the whale was "tried out", or skinned and rendered down for its oil, on the same day it was captured, or perhaps the next day. There was no time for decay to set in. The one case where a "blasted whale", that had begun to decompose, was cited it was specifically stated that there would not be much oil, and it would be of low quality (however, the head of the whale might contain ambergris, which was quite valuable).

    From memory, however, a trip on a sailing ship from England to the new world took anywhere between five weeks to five months in the time period you're proposing. On an older or slower ship, five months could give your characters plenty of time to... intrigue... below decks.

    And yeah, I'm one of the six who might spot some errors. But, if you don't have a good grounding, and you don't have the time/inclination (this is not a bad thing, not everything needs to be done in fine detail :) ), shying away from details is probably a good thing.

    ETA: Looked over the poll options and couldn't find one I liked.

    E) Either research like a mad bastard or keep it vague.
     
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  10. Shadowfax

    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    It's not entirely true that a small fishing vessel wouldn't have "bureaucracy"; they'd still have a captain, and - assuming the crew was large enough - some sort of first officer/leading hand that the other crewmen would look to for instructions.

    However, if you're only going to be at sea for a few days, you don't need much in the way of crew quarters - and no room for such fripperies!

    To the OP, https://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Grand_Banks talks about schooners from New England operating in the fisheries; my understanding is that they were long-lining from dories (fishing with long lines of up to 2,500 baited hooks, from a dory - a small, open boat - which would return to the "mother-ship" once its shift was done). It also covers how the catch was salted to overcome the problem of spoilage. And a schooner (the America after which the America's Cup is named was a schooner and was 152 feet long) would be anywhere up to 200 feet long (100 is more common, but you could go all the way up to the 475 foot of the https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_W._Lawson_(ship) ), so big enough for captain's cabin, etc.; how complicated do you want the sailplan to be? Two, or three masts would be typical, and you can have her fully fore-and-aft rigged (like a modern yacht), or you could make her more complicated by having a topsail schooner, where the foremast carries one or more square-rigged sails.
     
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  11. jannert

    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    You could do a lot worse than pick up one of the most entertaining non-fiction books I've ever read on the subject of fishing, voyaging, attitudes, ships, etc ...during the period of real history you're interested in:
    Cod: A Biography of the Fish That Changed the World
    by Mark Kurlansky (Author)

    I know you're writing fantasy, but if you want it to be believable in a world similar to ours, you need to make some effort at not handwaving details you don't know about ...yet. Details are what make a book believable. NO amount of research will be wasted time. You'll pick up ideas you hadn't thought about, notions of things that were possible as well as were not possible, etc. I think you'll go away from your research with more good ideas, not fewer ones.

    Do research.
     
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  12. big soft moose

    big soft moose Contributing Member

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    As I recall this a fantasy set in a fantasy land merely inspired by earthly matters - that being the case you can design your ship how you want so long as its purpose justifies the design

    e.g may be your fantasy ocean is more like a big lake and hardly ever has storms - this enables ships to be a buxom as an ale house whore and wider in the beam, in order to store the huge carcases of the trebwibble fish upright and cross ways in the hold, which is necessary to preserve the taste of their specially sort after flesh from arround the base of the dorsal fin which is believed to be an aphrodisiac on all three continents* This beamy ness also leaves plenty of room above the cavernous hold for officer cabins

    (cue a steamy sex scene where Brenn and Tevin try out the effects of the dorsal flesh themselves)

    Of course it also means that the ship will handle like a pig on ice with the wind anywhere other than astern and it will take forever to turn - it will also be easily out manuevered by watashi pirates in their narrow beamed galleys rowed by slave labour each mounting a flame thrower in its bows coerced out of a captive dragon.
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2017
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  13. Iain Sparrow

    Iain Sparrow Contributing Member

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    uhm, yeah... watching ten episodes of Black Sails does not qualify as research!;)
    Besides which, it's bullshit and a typically romanticized 'Hollywood' version of piracy and men at sea.

    A truly exceptional book that would entertain you, and be an excellent way to research your story, is listening to the audiobook, Empire of Blue Water, by Stephan Talty. Another book that would give you some real insight, In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex. It's the true story that inspired Melville's, Moby Dick. It's actually way better than Moby Dick... no pretentious soliloquies!
     
  14. Iain Aschendale

    Iain Aschendale "Cue the artillery" Contributor

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    The film version of Moby Dick starring William Hurt, IIRC, used a barque, which is a nice general category of ship big enough for pretty much whatever you want, especially since you're in an alternate/non-historical timeline.

    From Wikipedia:

    Researching, I see the Beagle was a classed as a barque. This floor plan work for your story?

    [​IMG]

    Crew of 120 though, which might be a bit high. Thinking that way, how many people do you want/need on your ship? Do they all need to be named/involved characters, and if not, how many redshirts are you comfortable with?
     
  15. Iain Aschendale

    Iain Aschendale "Cue the artillery" Contributor

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    I may have to read that, I loved Moby Dick for the whaling information more than the story itself. I'll have to choke back the gag reflex that the abomination of a filmed version of In the Heart of the Sea gave me, but it should be possible.
     
  16. Iain Sparrow

    Iain Sparrow Contributing Member

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    This is one time that the real life events were more dramatic, and amazing, than the fictional account.
    The story of the Essex was that generation's, Titanic.
     
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  17. texshelters

    texshelters Active Member

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    Agreed. Peace, Tex
     
  18. texshelters

    texshelters Active Member

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    Chinese fishing boats (Junks) look cool. Don't limit the research to Europe.

    Peace, Tex

    http://www.boatdesign.net/forums/attachments/boat-design/6138d1145856222-info-ideas-chinese-fishing-boat-junk-styles-old-beauty.jpg
     
  19. Wreybies

    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Firstly, thanks to all for your opinions and thoughts on the matter. :) What follows was not mentioned, on purpose, because I wanted opinions that weren't overly manhandled.

    Close, but not quite. These people live far, far into our future. It's a "Lost Colony" story. The colony fails when, upon arrival, the delphi crew (genetically modified dolphins) - amongst whom mutiny was already brewing on the journey through the stars - decide they're done playing sea-doggies to their human masters and one of them who is a particular kind of telepath psychically blasts the jesus out of the humans and sets them to wander thitherward. "Don't care where you ugly-ass walkers go, but you can't stay here. Also, you, you, you and you have to die. Sorry, but you possess unwipeable knowledge that will eventually lead you all back here again. The rest of you, fuck the fuckity-fuck off in that direction until you hit water again. Cheers!"

    The humans stagger away to the other side of the continent. Memory of how and why they came here has been fried out. Mostly. ;)

    Fast-forward a big-ass number of years and we get to Page #1 of my WIP.

    I'm playing with the idea that along with certain meta-psychic abilities, every once in a blue, when the genes line up just so, a person is born with a bank of built-in data that would have been useful information to a colony such as this, had everything gone according to plan. These are the wrights. These occurrences would have been much more common had the delph mutineer not killed the majority of those who carried these genes. He specifically targeted those with data-banks of a more high-tech nature and left the ones with more basic survival data-banks alone. One such bank of data is the shipwright gene. Brenn's great-grandpa was such a person. Thus, the Morrow Family Shipyards are born. Fortunes rise.

    This brings me to the broad swath of maritime knowledge that @Iain Aschendale mentions. Yes, I know full well that I mention a span of time where huge advances took place since this is basically the centuries leading up to and including the beginning of "The Age of Discovery". Brenn's great-grandpa could conjure the plans for a vast array of ships that would have been build-able with the materials at hand.

    Funny you mention this. There is a thing called a talima (kinda' like krill... kinda') that they catch that induces a blissful, marijuana-like high. Not illegal (culture hasn't risen back to that level of control over people) but frowned upon in polite company.

    So from the above-mentioned concerns, and from what is already present in the story, here's what I'm planning for what you mention here:

    Carl Morrow is the owner of this fishing fleet. His sister, Petla Morrow, owns the shipyards. The shipyards would have passed to Carl as the eldest but a Bad Thing™ he did in the past meant he was passed over in favor of his sister. To get him out of her hair, and to keep the family name in good standing, she builds him this fleet. Carl is an ostentatious blowhard. I'm thinking that the fleet itself consists of ships more like the aforementioned herring buss, which are more functionally correct to the task, and that this big-ass ship that serves as a flagship was something that he wrangled out from his sister to keep him and his ego happy. I will not be going into great nautical detail as regards the ship itself. She's big. She's beautiful. Her sails billow and fill like the bellies of pregnant women, softly glowing in the sun. The story won't be a lesson in maritime knowledge. There will be enough to know where you are and to paint the setting, but you won't be setting to sea, fully schooled, upon a galleon after reading my story. ;)
     
  20. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Contributor

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    @Wreybies one interesting thing about your world is that the shipwrights should have knowledge of ships beyond what you'd normally see at that level of technology. Maybe they can't build them, but they about them. Seems to me this would include large trawlers. Could they not just develop some kind of fishing vessel that has no direct counterpart in our own history--a combination of what their technology allows and the more advanced knowledge of what is possible possessed by the shipwrights?
     
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  21. Wreybies

    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Yes! Bingo!

    This idea is an offshoot from another discussion that I think you also participated in concerning knowing that technology is possible, even if the details are not known. For example, if you know that plastic is a thing that can exist, and you have a general idea that plastics and rubbers started from plant resins, even if you're not a chemist, you have a leg up on things; you know there is an end product that can be made to happen.

    However...

    The members commenting in this thread have brought up something that would still matter, I think. Economics would mean that a ship is going to answer to its function, and just because you could make a fishing vessel as big as a barque or a galleon, doesn't mean it would be economically sound to do this. It also seems to me, now, thinking about it, that a fleet of such large ships, even a small fleet, would be even less economically sound. I'm still leaning, at this point, to making the fleet be comprised of ships that make more clearcut sense as regards what they do, and the Northern Wave serve as their flagship. Perhaps she was already at hand, meant for different purposes altogether, or she's an oceangoing folly, so to speak, in the architectural sense of that word. A set of plans Carl finds, drafted by gramps, that he pressures Petla into creating. It's his throne, since he was deprived of his place as the heir to the family business. It works on several levels for different parts of the story. It fills the need for a ship large enough to make this voyage feasible. It creates a segue into the the past and the Bad Thing™ Carl did. It serves as a representation of his personality. It certainly creates a location for story to happen. Lots of things.

    ETA: Petla would love and hate this ship in equal measure. The crowning glory of the Morrow Shipyards, become a rather garish and tawdry tramp in the hands of Carl...

    Whoever said brainstorming threads are pointless. ;)
     
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  22. big soft moose

    big soft moose Contributing Member

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    in a survival situation, or a society that grew out of one, you could have all manner of boats being used as people press whatever they have to hand into service - ergo they might befishing from a barque becasuse thats what they had to use

    (as with the british navy in 1940 which included pleasure cruisers, trawlers, private yachts and name it - if it would float and mount a gun it got used)
     
  23. Iain Aschendale

    Iain Aschendale "Cue the artillery" Contributor

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    Interesting idea, and there have certainly been a number of oceangoing follies, the Vasa springing to mind right off, followed by the British defeat at Gallipoli being due in part to General Hamilton's insistence on using the battleship Queen Elizabeth as his flagship, despite needing something quick and maneuverable that would allow him to review the action on both sides of the peninsula as quickly as possible.

    In The Algebraist, the baddy's flagship is [a]

    So yeah, I'd totally be into that idea!
     
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  24. Wreybies

    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    The Northern Wave begins to fall into place, and also take on a personality of her own. :)
     
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  25. matwoolf

    matwoolf Contributing Member Contributor

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    Some tunes for the soundtrack.

    Personally I'd be drawn to 'Whaler,' tho' it is your planet. The hardest part with seafaring yarns is filling all that time at sea. I had to cut mine short with a murder, and half-way stop at Cape Hope. Drove me crazy, day after day at sea, nothing but blue waves, and me writing 'day after day at sea, nothing but blue waves.' So it is quite a challenge.
     
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