The Swan Ships

Marielle

Well-Known Member
So we've been talking a lot in other forums about the Kinslaying, the Ship Burnings, and all the rest, but we've been neglecting the poor ships themselves! They're meant to be the Teleri equavalent of the Silmarils, so they've got to be beautiful, and transport a great number of Noldor back to Middle Earth, so they've got to be big. Do we even have an idea of how many there're supposed to be?

For a model, I'd suggest a modified Skeid (longship), They're beautiful, fast, and graceful, but the design doesn't leave that much of a below-deck -- hence we might want to modify that.

upload_2017-4-21_10-37-55.jpeg
 

Nicholas Palazzo

Well-Known Member
The problem that we face is that the more efficient a sail structure the ships have, the more ropes will be involved. I have the distinct feeling that there will be folks who will consider a bunch of ropes tying off the sails to be "un-elvish".
 

MithLuin

Administrator
Staff member
I would like something large enough to be called a 'ship' - not just a boat.

Something designed to be lived on (for months at a time), not just for a quick day trip.

And it has to be able to cross an ocean.

Doesn't mean we need to go as far as the age of sail. After all, you can cross an ocean with the Kon-tiki or a one-man sailboat. But...not too small or simplistic for the pride of Alqualondë.

I don't think this is too many ropes, personally:


The Nonsuch, a replica 17th century English two masted ketch, is in the Manitoba museum in Winnipeg.

(Not sure if this is the same boat, but still, I feel you need to see it under sail to really judge):
 
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MithLuin

Administrator
Staff member
Whereas a Clipper ship (such as this replica 1812 Schooner, The Pride of Baltimore II) has a few too many sails (in my opinion). I would want to avoid making it look like the swan ships were built for 'racing'.

 

Haerangil

Well-Known Member
,Dromon ,Shallop, Skiff ,Barge, Galley ,Galleon, Bark ...Gondola are the shiptypes jrrt mentions in his texts...

i mean galleon and bark are pretty large ships
 
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MithLuin

Administrator
Staff member
I guess I am stuck with the issue of development over time vs the-greatest-things-ever-are-from-Valinor-and-can't-be-matched.

Numenor is going to have some very impressive ships in their time - a whole fleet of them. They are going to be very large and certainly be seen as oceangoing vessels that can take trips over a year long.

So if the Swanships of Alqualondë are single-sailed ships...they really aren't going to seem like 'the most impressive boats ever made'. But I don't necessarily want them to be triple masted, either - it's a quandary.

This leaves aside Vingelot, as Eärendil's boat should also be very impressive. Of course, Bilbo described her for us in great poetic detail.... ;)
 

Haerangil

Well-Known Member
think in different degrees of greatness.
the valinorian ships should be exceptionally beautiful, but not necessarily great in dimension or technology... i guess that while they are perfect examples of the art of shipbuilding and design they are practically quite simple ... they go with nature.

numenorean crafts start as imitations of elvish shipbuilding but at one stage leave the path of elvishness...
they become bigger, more technically elaborate but also less close to nature in design and technology (by the way:will we design numenoreans at their fall as some kind of steampunk-culture?) and probably less beautiful.
 

Haerangil

Well-Known Member
...and we still have to acknowledge:while we ignore it, in theiry the noldor did travel to middle-earth for years and their ships must have been big enough to transport horses and what not else.
 

Haakon

Administrator
Staff member
I think of Nick's rope issue as having to do with magic versus technology - we want the swan ships to be more magical than technologically advanced. I think the difference between Valinorean and Numenorean ships are just that - the former are less technologically advanced but somehow better because of the supernatural influence of Ossë.
 

MithLuin

Administrator
Staff member
Obviously, the description of the swan ships is vague. They are made of white timber, they have white sails, and they have oars. Whether they have one mast (or two, or three), or the number of sails, or how many decks....all left to the reader's imagination.

They do need to be beautifully made ships, no matter what, so sleek lines is good. Nothing about them should look 'clunky'. But I don't think they have to look so much like a swan that they could be mistaken for a real bird, either. These aren't 'magical' ships, in the sense of running on illusions and magic. They move under the power of wind in the sails or oars pulled by elves. But of course they are filled with elf-magic I'm sure. I never thought that meant 'no ropes' the way elves ride horses without harness, but it might involve something unusual....
 
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