The Galleon is a sailing vessel for war and commerce of the XVI and XVII centuries, a type of transitory ship between the galeasa and the ship of the line.
It was born from the need to make long journeys, when the galeasa, as transitory type from a rowing ship to a sail one, was no longer suitable to travel to distant overseas areas.
Towards the middle of the 15th century the galleon is the best vessel after the carrak, with high sides, a little bit longer and faster than the nave.
The bow had a long front and recalled the big galley, hence the name.
It was a galleon with the bow «like carrack». Such a bow in the shape of carrack was maintained on some ships until 1590.
Usually it had two decks, an angular and cut off stern, that ended with a high quarterdeck with two or three floors.
The lowest circumference was in front of the large mast and, on the bow behind the fore mast, rose a regular quadrangular castle. The castle and the front are the main characteristics of the galleon. On the top of the front, at the main deck' s height, there was a figure head.
First galleons of the XVI century were primarily warships. The big galleon in the beginning of the XVII century had three or four masts and a bowsprit. Under the bowsprit outstretched a crossed sail. The bow mast was high ¾ of the water line's length and carried three crossed sails. The main mast was as tall as the water line. Also on it were outstretched three crossed sails. In the middle of the quarterdeck stayed a thin mast of flint, tall as half of the main mast and it carried the lateen sail. Behind it sometimes there was a fourth, thin mast, quite low, occasionally planted on the top of the rudder. Also on it there was the lateen sail. On each mast there was a crow's nest.
Smaller galleons had the same shape as the big ones, they were different only in size and number of masts and sails. They had three masts. On the front mast were outstretched two crossed sails, as on the main mast, while on the mast of the stern outstretched a lateen sail. A crow' s nest was on the front and main masts.
Around the middle of the XVI century, the galleons become real warships and at the beginning of the XVII century the name of galleon is synonym for ship of the line.
Merchant galleons were used for long trips to overseas areas newly discovered. The most preserved galleons are Spanish and Ragusian, used for the transport of silver from Peru and Mexico. They sailed in groups, fleets, from which the name fleet. At that time the galleons were bigger than the caravel, but smaller than the carrack of Dubrovnik. They weighed 200-500 tons.
The Ragusian galleons, something different from the structural characteristics of the other galleons of the time and of the big and spacious carracks of Dubrovnik, are named Argosies, their name date from Ragusies, adjective of Ragusa (Dubrovnik). How these Ragusian ships were appreciated shows the best the fact that the English made for them a literary expression: Argosy.
The keel and the posts are made of solid walnut wood, like all the elements of the deck and sides. The sails are embroidered on the cloth.The structural elements are laser cut.