Tag Archive for Polacca

A polacca (or polacre) is a type of seventeenth-century sailing vessel, similar to the xebec. The name is the feminine of “Polish” in the Italian language. The polacca was frequently seen in the Mediterranean. It had three single-pole masts, often with a lateen hoisted on the foremast (which was slanted forward to accommodate the large lateen yard) and a gaff or lateen on the mizzen mast. The mainmast was square-rigged after the European style. Special polaccas were used by Murat Reis, whose ships had lateen sails in front and Fore-and-aft rig behind.
Some polacca pictures show what appears to be a ship-rigged vessel (sometimes with a lateen on the mizzen) with a galley-like hull and single-pole masts. Thus, the term “polacca” seems to refer primarily to the masting and possibly the hull type as opposed to the type of rig used for the sails.

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