A glossary of people, places & objects in Earthsea

Now showing glossary items relating to ships & boats

Black Ships

Fleet driven back by Morred, according to the Deed of the Young King; presumably that of the Enemy of Morred

Sources: Home, T; Winter, T


Small poled boats, commonly used in the canals of Havnor City

Sources: Dolphin, OW

Related entries: Ships

Coracles, reed

See Ships


Sailing ship of Lebannen, the fastest ship in his fleet; captained by Serrathen (Tehanu) & Tosla (The Other Wind). At 50 feet long, it's considered relatively small. It has white sails, white wood decks including quarterdeck and afterdeck; accommodations include the large, windowed king's cabin in the sterncastle and ship-master's cabin beneath, a foreward hold and a sleeping closet under the forecastle.

Also (imaginary) boat belonging to the trader Hawk, an alias of Ged

Sources: Hort Town, FS; The Dolphin, T; Palaces, OW; Dolphin, OW

'A tall ship was at the pier, a ship she knew, the Dolphin. … She saw the mooring lines cast off, the docile movement of the ship following the oared tug that towed her clear, the sudden fall and flowering of the white sails in the darkness. The light of the stern lantern trembled on the dark water, shrank slowly to a tiny drop of brightness, and was gone.'

[The Dragon Council, OW]


Sailing ship which carries Alder to Gont

Sources: Mending the Green Pitcher, OW


See Ships

Gull of Eskel

Merchant ship on which Spark serves, presumably based out of the islet of Eskel. Commandeered by Lebannen's officers in around 1052, for running contraband or stolen cargo

Sources: The Dolphin, T; The Master, T


Boat made by Medra, who sailed in her for several years seeking recruits to the newly-founded School of Wizardry on Roke during the Dark Years

'…a slender, sturdy deep-sea boat, built according to the style of Havnor.'

[The Finder, TfE]

Log rafts

See Ships; Children of the Open Sea


See Ships


Also known as: Sanderling

Clinker-built sailboat with a brown or red sail and a single pair of oars; eighteen feet long and meant for two or three hands. Given to Ged by an old fisherman on West Hand in the East Reach, and named for the curing of the fisherman's cataracts. Ged sailed in Lookfar for many years, leaving her on Selidor in The Farthest Shore

'"We called the boat Sanderling, but do you call her Lookfar, and paint eyes aside her prow, and my thanks will look out of that blind wood for you and keep you from rock and reef. For I had forgotten how much light there is in the world, till you gave it back to me."'

[Iffish, WoE]

Pretty Rose

Small shabby coaster on which Alder travels from Gont to Havnor

Sources: Palaces, OW


Fishing-sloop belonging to Birt of Sattins island; it has oars and a single sail

Sources: The Rule of Names, W12Q

Sailing boats

See Ships


See Lookfar

Sea Otter

Two-masted, decked and cabined vessel trading between Way and Wathort; carries Ivory and Irian to Roke

Sources: Dragonfly, TfE


Ship of the Andrades that carries Ged to Roke. The Shadow is a thirty-oared galley, with a crew of seventy, carrying pelts and ivory from the northern islands. It's decorated with the Old Serpent of Andrad

Sources: The Shadow, WoE


Also known as: Galleys, Longships

The main method of transport in Earthsea, ships are used for transporting goods for trade, for fishing and crabbing, and for war or raids on other islands. All vessels are powered by sails and/or oars. Oared galleys of twenty to sixty oars plus a big square sail seem to be the main long-distance vessel within the Archipelago; they island hop, mooring at night and rarely going out of sight of land. Coasters are small sailing vessels which traffic small cargoes from port to port. Larger Archipelagan trading vessels may be two-masted and multi-decked (for example, Sea Otter); it's unclear whether such ships also carried oars. In Osskil and the South Reach, the oars are manned by slaves. The Kargish ships are longships, with red sails. Long narrow sailing-ships with high triangular sails are designed to catch the wind in the South Reach, while boats in the Inmost Sea bear a high fore-and-aft sail that can be turned to catch a head wind. More modest craft include sailing dinghies, such as the eighteen-foot clinker built Lookfar, fishing-sloops, catboats and rowing boats. Little poled chips ply the canals of Havnor City, and oared tugs tow ships out of harbour in the Bay of Havnor. Reed coracles are used on Astowell, where there is no wood for building. The Children of the Open Sea travel on large log rafts with sails, but driven by the ocean currents. Paddled boats, such as canoes or kayaks, are not mentioned.

The method of construction of wooden vessels differs according to origin: in the north and the Reaches, vessels are generally clinker built (with overlapping planks), while elsewhere non-overlapping (carvel built) construction is used.

Named boats and ships include Ged's boat, the Lookfar, Lebannen's ship, the Dolphin, and the Farflyer, Gull of Eskel, Hopeful, Pretty Rose, Queenie, Sea Otter, Shadow, Stormcloud and Tern

Related entries: Travel & transport


Warship of the warlord Losen; one of the fleet of eighty ships that Early sends against Roke School of Wizardry during the Dark Years

Sources: The Finder, TfE


Sailing ship whose master is Tosla

Sources: Palaces, OW



WoEA Wizard of Earthsea
ToAThe Tombs of Atuan
FSThe Farthest Shore
OWThe Other Wind
W12QThe Wind's Twelve Quarters
TfETales from Earthsea

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