Reply To: Design of East Indiamen

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Paul M

    First I would urge the reading of Merchant Sailing Ships Volume 1 by David McGregor, and Architectura Navalis 1768 by F H af Chapman, which have many illustrations.
    The rigs of EIM were very similar to RN ships, which is how the larger ones could be mistaken for ships-of-the-line and the smaller ones for frigates.
    The main difference was in the hull shape; EIM were narrower and deeper, and much fuller and squarer below the waterline – less of a “cod’s head and mackerel’s tail” and more boxy.
    The fo’c’sle and quarterdeck were continuous so as to be a complete deck, meaning the nominal upper deck could be used for some of the cargo.
    Although the armament of each size of EIM was heavy, the cannons were shorter in barrel length than RN cannon and so of shorter range and less accurate; also the crew was smaller so there were not enough to fight all the guns as effectively as a man-o-war, or to resist boarding.