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Barque Class

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2004 Ship Barque

A Barque-Class Ship.

The Barque Class is a family of ship designs featured in Sid Meier's Pirates! (2004). It includes the Coastal Barque, Barque, and Ocean Barque. All three of these Ship Types share the same physical appearance, and have similar characteristics.

Barque-Class ships are small-sized merchant vessels, with a relatively small capacity for cargo and crew, but making up for this with uncharacteristic agility and good sailing properties. While not favoured by players for use in combat, they can prove challenging to catch. Barques are the optimal prey for small warships like the Sloop Class and Pinnace Class.

DescriptionEdit

The Barque Class is a set of three Ship Types. Collectively, they are known as "Barque-Class Ships", and sometimes simply as "Barques".

Each of the three ship types is referred to as a "Variant" of the Barque Class.

Although all variants share the same 3D model, they can be distinguished by size. The Coastal Barque is the smallest of these, about as large as a Brig. The Ocean Barque is the largest of the three, rivaling a Merchantman in size.

All ship characteristics are also similar between these variants. The Coastal Barque, being the smallest, can hold less Cargo, Crew and Cannons than the others. However, it is slightly faster and more maneuverable. The Ocean Barque, the largest variant, holds more Cargo, Crew and Cannons, but is slightly slower than the others. The Barque sits comfortably in the middle, having "average" statistics compared to the other two.

Visual AppearanceEdit

2004 Ship Barque 3.4

A Barque as seen inside the game.

Barque Class ships are small-sized merchant vessels with full Fore-And-Aft Rigging. Being the smallest true merchant ships, they are designed primarily for carrying capacity, but their uncharacteristic rigging makes them considerably more maneuverable and harder to catch than other, larger merchant ships.

Barques are built with a long, thin hull. They sport three masts, with each of these masts carrying a single large lateen (triangular) sail, giving the Barque a unique, unmistakable appearance. The closest ship in appearance would be the Pinnace Class, though these are significantly smaller than Barques and carry only two lateen sails on a single mast.

Sailing PropertiesEdit

Unlike all other merchant vessels in the game, Barque-Class ships carry no Square Rigging whatsoever, relying entirely on Fore-And-Aft Rigging instead.

As a result, Barque class ships sail remarkably well at odd Points Of Sailing: their best speed is developed close to Broad Beam Reach, and they can even maintain a surprising speed at even wider angles like Close-Hauled, where Square-Rigged ships often struggle.

This allows Barques to sail well regardless of the wind, making them the largest ships to do so comfortably. Larger vessels, even warships, tend to have much more trouble sailing eastwards, while smaller ships can carry fewer men and cargo, making the Barques an excellent trade-off between speed and cargo capacity.

As a result, players who intend to ferry large amounts of cargo around the Caribbean tend to add Barque Class ships to their Fleet. This prevents the fleet from being slowed down too much (as would be the case with Fluyt Class, Merchantman Class and especially Merchant Galleon Class ships).

Combat PropertiesEdit

Being merchant vessels, Barque Class ships are often far from player-favourites. While they are certainly not as slow and lumbering as the larger, square-rigged merchant ships, they are still far from an optimal choice for combat. Their cannon capacity is relatively small for their size, incapable of warding off attacks by anything larger than a Sloop, and even their crew capacity is lacking.

On the other hand, AI-controlled Barques can sometimes offer quite a challenge to capture. This is due to the Barque's surprising ability to develop good speed at very odd angles to the wind, including (but not limited to) Close-Hauled, where even a Sloop-Class attacker may find it difficult to give chase. As a result, Barques have little trouble escaping from combat if they are not promptly inflicted with some sail-damage during the opening stages of the fight.

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