Calavera de Graciá Amat
Title: Calavera de Graciá Amat
Author: Graciá Amat
Year: c. 1465
Description: Contract for the construction of a caravel.
Owner: Archivo Histórico Protocolos de Barcelona.
Call No.: Notariales IX, 10. Pliego de “Construccio de naus”.
The term caravel referred to a variety of vessels, from small open decked fishing boats to larger closed-deck ships for trade and exploration. Their lateen rig and shallow draft made them especially suitable for exploration along the coast of Africa during the 15th century. The caravel described in the contract by Graciá Amat was 36 tonéis, or slightly larger than an average fishing vessel. It had a 3:1 keel to beam ratio, two masts, and a bowsprit. Both an axial rudder and two lateral rudders were mounted.
The text states that it is a contract made between Graciá Amat, mariner and citizen of Barcelona, and Miguel Johan and Pere Vicens, “maestros de ribera” and also citizens of Barcelona. An earlier caravel owned by Graciá Amat is mentioned in records dating to 1454 and 1455.
Elbl, Martin Malcolm. (1985) “The Portuguese Caravel and European Shipbuilding: Phases of Development and Diversity.” Revista da Universidade de Coimbra, Vol XXXIII, 563, 571. (Includes a reconstruction of the ship described in the text)
Etayo, Carlos, Naos y carabelas de los Descubrimientos y las naves de Colón. [n/c]: Industrial Gráfica Aralar, 1971, pp. 125.
Madurell y Marimón, José María. (1968) “Antiguas Construcciones de naves (1316-1740)”, Hispania (1968) 108.