Virginia Line Drawings

Pinnace design from 1586

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Prior to 1600, most shipwrights served long apprenticeships. They were learning a remarkably complicated technology that was passed orally to each succeeding generation and kept carefully protected from the competition. Time was needed to master the depth of knowledge and skills especially as the ships were constructed with very few straight timbers. About 1600 this was changing as the parameters and proportions used in shipbuilding were written down, and mathematics was used to define the design. Matthew Baker was a leader in this effort to define ship design and created a single diagram to show the proportions of a ship. From this the size of all components can be derived. This design by John Bradford shows the proportions of Virginia in the style of Matthew Baker.