Construction of El Galeón / by Alejandro Mallado

The galeon was an ocean going ship type which evolved from the carrack in the second half of 16th century. Galeons were constructed from oak, pine and various hardwoods for hull and decking. Hulls were usually carvel-built. Hundreds of expert tradesmen, including carpenters, blacksmiths, shipwrights and pitch-melters worked day and night for months to make a galeon seaworthy.

To cover the expense, galeons were often funded by groups of wealthy businessmen who pooled resources for a new ship. Therefore, most galeons were originally consigned for trade, although those captured by rival states were usually put into military service.

The most common gun used aboard a galeon was the demi-culverin, although gun sizes up to demi-cannon were possible. Because of the long periods often spent at sea and poor conditions on board, many of the crew sometimes perished during the voyage; therefore advanced rigging systems were developed so that the vessel could be sailed home by an active sailing crew a fraction of the size aboard at departure.