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Torvaldsland Ship

"The Gorean galley, carvel built, long and of shallow draft, built for war and speed, is not built to withstand the frenzies of Thassa. The much smaller craft of the men of Torvaldsland, clinker built, with overlapping, bending planking, are more seaworthy. They must be, to survive in the bleak, fierce northern waters, wind-whipped and skerry-studded. They ship a great deal more water than the southern carvel-built ships, but they are stronger, in the sense that they are more elastic. They must be baled, frequently, and are, accordingly, not well suited for cargo. The men of Torsvaldland, however, do not find this limitation with respect to cargo a significant one, as they do not, generally, regard themselves as merchants or traders. They have other pursuits, in particular the seizure of riches and the enslavement of beautiful women."
"Marauders of Gor" page 34

"The ships of the men of Torvaldsland are swift. In a day, a full Gorean day of twenty Ahn, with a fair wind they can cover from two hundred to two hundred and fifty pasangs."
"Marauders of Gor" page 34


"Their sails, incidentally, are square, rather than triangular, like the lateen-rigged ships of the south. They cannot said as close to the wind as the southern ships with lateen rigging, but, on the other hand, the square sails makes it possible to do with a single sail, taking in and letting out canvas, as opposed to several sails, which are attached to and removed from the yard, which is raised and lowered, depending on weather conditions."
"Marauders of Gor" page 34


"It might be mentioned too, that their ships have, in effect a prow on each end. This makes it easier to beach them than would otherwise be the case. This is a valuable property in rough water close to shore, particularly where there is danger of rocks. Also, by changing their position on the thwarts, the rowers, facing the other direction, can, with full power, immediately reverse the direction of the ship. They need not wait for it to turn. There is a limitation her, of course, for the steering oar, on the starboard side of the ship, is most effective when the ship is moving in its standard “forward” direction."
"Marauders of Gor" page 34

Ivar Forkbeard's serpent

"The ship was a beautiful ship, sleek and well-lined. It was a twenty-bencher, but this nomenclature may be confusing. There were twenty beches to a side, with two men to each bench. It carried , thus, forty oars, with two men to each oar.(...)
The sail was striped, red and white. The ship like most of the northern ships, was clinker built, being constructed of overlapping planks, or strakes, the frame then fitted within them. Between the strakes, tarred ropes and tar served as calking. Outside the planks, too, was a coating of painted tar, to protect then from the sea, and the depredations of ship worms. The tar was painted red and black, in irregular lines. The ship, at night, mast down with such colourings, moving inland on a river, among the shadows, would be extremely difficult to detect.
It was a raider’s ship. The clinker-built construction, as opposed to the carvel construction of the south, with flush planking, is somewhat more inclined to leak, but is much stronger in the high waters of the north. The clinker construction allows the ship to literally bend and twist, almost elastically, in a vicious sea; the hull planking can be bent more than a foot Gorean without buckling.
"Marauders of Gor" page 21

“The name of the ship of Thorgard of Scagnar,” I said, “is Black Sleen. What is the name of your ship, if I may know ?”
“The name of my ship,” said Ivar, “is the Hilda.”
“Is it not unusual for a ship of the north to bear the name of a woman ?” I asked.
“No,” he said.
“Why is she called the Hilda ?” I asked.
“That is the name of the daughter of Thorgard of Scag-nar,” said Ivar Forkbeard.
I looked up at him, astonished.
"Marauders of Gor" page 45?

"Forkbeard and I sat in the shade, under a tented awning of sewn boskhides, some thirty-five feet in length. It begins aft of the mast, which is set forward. It rests on four poles, with two long, narrow poles, fixed in sockets, mounted in tandem fashion, serving as a single ridge pole. These poles can also be used in pushing off, and thwarting collisions on rocks. The bottom edges of the tented awning are stretched taut and tied to cleats in the gunwales. There is about a foot of space between the gunwales and the bottoms of the tented awnings, permitting a view to sea on either side.
"Marauders of Gor" page 35?

"There was a great cheer from the men of Ivar Forkbeard. The serpent turned slowly between the high cliffs, and en-tered the inlet. Here and there, clinging to the rock, were lichens, and small bushes, and even stunted trees. The water below us was deep and cold.
I felt a breeze from inland, coming to meet the sea. The oars lifted and fell. The sail fell slack, and rustled, stirred in the gentle wind from inland. Men of Torvaldsland reefed it high to the spar.
The rowing song was strong and happy in the lusty throats of the crew of the Forkbeard. The serpent took its way between the cliffs, looming high on each side. Ivar Forkbeard, at the prow, lifted a great, curved bronze horn and blew a blast. I heard it echo among the cliffs.
"Marauders of Gor" Page 46

"Then the ship turned a bend between the cliffs, and, to my astonishment I saw a dock, of rough logs, covered with adzed boards, and a wide, sloping area of land, of several acres, green, though strewn with boulders, with short grass. There was a log palisade some hundred yards from the dock."
"Marauders of Gor" Page 48

"High on the cliff , I saw a lookout, a man with a horn. Doubt-less it had been he whom we had heard. From his vantage, high on the cliff, on his belly, unseen, he would have been able to see far down the inlet. He stood now and waved the bronze horn in his hand. Forkbeard waved back to him."
"Marauders of Gor" Page 48

"The Forkbeard then, to the delight of those on the bank, who cheered him, as the serpent edged into the dock, addressed himself delightedly to the oar-dance of the rover of Torvaldsland. It is not actually a dance, of course, but it is an athletic feat of no little stature requiring a superb eye, fantastic balance and incredible coordination. Ivar Forkbeard, crying out, leaped from moving oar to moving oar, proceeding from the oars nearest the stem on the port side to the stern, then leaping back onto the deck at the stern quarter and leaping again on the oars this time on the starboard side, and proceeding from the oar nearest the stern to that nearest the stem, and then, lifting his arms, he leaped again into the ship, almost thrown into it as the oar lifted. He then stood on the prow, near me, sweating and grinning. I saw cups of ale, on the bank, being lifted to him. Men cheered. I heard the cries of bond-maids."
"Marauders of Gor" Page 49


Winds and sun

"The men of Toravldsland sometimes guide their vessels by noting the direction of the waves, breaking against the prow, these correlated with prevailing winds. Sometimes they use the shadows of the gunwales, failing across the ghwarts, judging their angles. The sun, too, of couse, is used, and, at night, the stars give them suitable compass, even in the open sea."
"Marauders of Gor" Page 34 ?


"It is a matter of their tradition not to rely on the needle compass, as is done in the south. The Gorean compass points always to the Sardar, the home of Priest-Kings. The men of Torvaldsland do not use it. They do not need it. The sextant, however, correlated with sun and stars is not unknown to them. It is commonly relied on, however, only in unfamiliar waters. Even fog banks, and the feeding grounds of whales, and ice floes, in given season, in their own waters, give the men of Torvaldsland information as to their whereabouts, they utilizing such things as easily, as unconsciously, as a peasant might a mountain, or a hunter a river."
"Marauders of Gor" Page 34 ?

The Helmsman

"Only two of the Forkbeard’s men did not rest, he at the helm, bare-headed, looking to sea, and the fellow at the height of the mast, on lookout. The helmsman studies the sky and the waters ahead of the serpent; beneath clouds there is commonly wind; and he avoids, moving a point or more to port or starboard, areas where there is little wave activity, for they betoken spots in which the serpent might, for a time, find itself becalmed. The lookout stood upon a broad, flat wooden ring, bound in leather, covered with the fur of sea sleen, which fits over the mast. It has a diameter of about thirty inches. It sets near the top of the mast, enabling the man to see over the sail, as well as to other points. He, standing on this ring, fastens himself by the waist to the mast by looping and buckling a heavy belt about it, and through his master belt. Usually, too, he keeps one hand on or about the mast. The wooden ring is reached by climbing a knotted rope. The mast is not high, only about thirty-five feet Gorean, but it permits a scanning of the horizon to some ten pasangs."
"Marauders of Gor" Page ?


"Two men of Svein Blue Tooth rose to their feet and si-lenced the crowd with two blasts on curved, bronze signal horns, of a sort often used for communication between ships. The men of Torvaldsland have in common a code of sound signals, given by the horns, consisting of some forty mes-sages. Messages such as “Attack,” “Heave to,” “Regroup,” and “Communication desired” have each their special com-bination of sounds"

"There are shield signals, too, how-ever, it might be mentioned, in Torvaldsland, though these are quite limited. Two that are universal in Torvaldsland are the red shield for war, the white for peace. The men of Torvaldsland, hearing the blasts on the bronze horns, were silent. The blasts had been the signal for attention."
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