Small and sturdy, the Ducraer is a fishing boat developed off the eastern coast of Southern Sarvonia, probably in the fishing village of Nepris, at the Adanian Seacoast. This boat is very useful in rough surf and has numerous different features that make it a very able fishing boat. It is equipped with a mast and oars, and is usually used by two people.
Description. The Ducraer is usually eight peds in length with a beam of almost two and a half peds. The hull is square at the back while tapering to a point at the bow. Its bow is abruptly raised with broad flaring topsides, which makes it easy to launch directly into the surf. The hull forward is about chest high while the hull aft is about mid thigh in height. The higher sides help keep the water out while giving a fisherman a safer work area. It also enhances rough water capabilities, making sure that the boat cannot be filled with water in the event that a large wave was to crash around it. With a wide-open hull the movement is unrestricted for easy gear handling and versatility.
Image description: Avennorian fishermen in their Ducraer fishing boat. Picture drawn by Quellion.
Along the inner bottom of the Ducraer are strakes two fingers widths wide every
half span for stiffness and
protection. This gives the Ducraer hull tremendous load carrying ability while
the flat bottom assures a stable boat when loaded. A flat bottom also has the
advantage since it can be used in very shallow
water, as the draft isn’t as large because the bottom doesn’t extend
downwards. In the middle of the boat is a bench that provides the fishermen a
place to sit when they are rowing the craft. There are also two oarlocks one on
each side to keep the oars in place. The ores are about one and a half
peds long, and both oars
and oarlocks can be removed and stored on the side under the bench.
About two peds from the bench is another piece of wood extending the length of the ship. In the center of the board is a hole. This hole is actually the stand for the mast, which is also stowed underneath the bench when not in use. When needed in open sea, the mast, complete with a triangular sail, can be pulled up and placed in the hole. It is then fastened with several strong metal clamps for stability.
At the inside base of the bow is a box that takes up two-thirds of the area across and is about elbow to fingertips wide and deep. It has a split cover so only one side can be opened when needed. This is because one side is usually for the fishermen's tools for repair, spare line, hooks or whatever is necessary. The other is usually for bait, depending on what is the days-desired catch. This box is attached to the boat by metal clamps as well. Both sides cannot open unless a small latch is moved to the side. This is a very important feature as it guarantees that the box is not lost in rough water, and it makes sure the contents don’t spill out all over the ship.
Usage. The rough surf in the Adanian Sea makes the broad topsides and large hull of the Ducraer ideal. Using a larger boat in this region was almost impossible due to the reefs, high winds, rough sea, and cliffs. This smaller boat is more maneuverable and much more popular. Although it is small, it is worth the price for the average fisherman living in Nepris or along the coast in that area and is common as a boat within Avennorian families. The Ducraer is big enough to allow the fisherman to catch and carry large fish back to shore, such as the evoor.
Avennorians, when they first settled the coastline of what is now Nepris, expected to find pearls and other riches because of the ones they found in other parts of the Adanian Sea. Unfortunately they were disappointed and found much less than they originally expected. The good thing was that although pearl hunting was not helped much by the Ducraer, fishing of all types was made possible and many villages on this south eastern side were eventually helped because they were able to actually fish.
History/Origin. The Ducraer definitely originated in the area that we call Nepris today, but when that area was originally settled, it wasn’t called Nepris. Though the area was settled as early as 510 b.S., the name Nepris wasn’t officially heard until about 320 a.S. On the other hand, trading with the Thergerim was recorded a soon as Avennorian settlers appeared in the region; about 510 b.S., and so a sturdy boat that could make ventures into those rough costal waters and allow fishing was needed very early on. Therefore, the Ducraer was probably first created around 500 b.S.
The story below is one that is most likely true, though the village and shore that is mentioned in it is not necessarily Nepris. In fact, it probably could have been any of the small villages located on this shore, and was almost definitely invented far before the time when the village near Mossy Rocks Cove was called Nepris.
When the Avennorians first settled in this area, they struggled to fish and even venture out to sea at all because of the rough, windy conditions that they found there. But one day, something extraordinary washed up on shore. A boat, about eight peds long was found on a beach, though it was badly mangled. The boat had a hull that, when compared to a rowboat, far outstripped the rowboat in height. A man named Ducras, a fisherman who had lived in a small village all his life, tried to build one. Painstakingly he measured the strakes, hull, keel and other parts of the boat and though it took him a year to figure out how to build it, he did eventually, it is said, construct the very first Avennorian Ducraer. The design was new and interesting, and so had many parts that were difficult to build, especially as the boat was already torn and beaten at many points.
Ducras eventually traveled north to Marduran. His fame soon grew up and down the coast, and he quickly gained money. After earning enough for supplies and workers, he eventually opened up a large shipyard that built Ducraers for many Avennorian fishermen. His business had continued even after he died, and has been successful for many years. Unfortunately during the large Storm of Three Nights in 1025 a.S., the building was battered badly. It was rebuilt however, and is still running fairly successfully.
To this day, no one really knows where the boat washed up from, though no one, especially those living in Nepris and other points in that region, have any wish to take the time to find the person who could steal the credit of creating the first (or second) Ducraer. The boat is now used throughout the Sarvonian coast, though fisherman in Nepris can create Ducraers that are considered to be slightly superior in make compared to others used elsewhere. This leads most people to think that Nepris was the true original, but no one is sure.