third crusade fleet
I am a historian working on a history of the Third Crusade. This is a real long shot, but a master mariner friend suggested that vessels under sail today have, despite the obvious technical improvements, many of the problems in terms of current and wind that faced the English fleet of the Third Crusade. So, any thoughts that members of Cruiser Log have will be appreciated and, if used, attributed in the book (working title Lionheart to be published by The History Press end 2013/early 2014).
In order to avoid paying the extortionate rates demanded by the ship owners of Pisa and Genoa, who possessed the two great Christian fleets in the Mediterranean, Richard Lionheart raised a fleet of his own by purchasing vessels in England ports and his continental possessions. Most of the English vessels acquired in harbours from Hull to Portsmouth were square-rigged, single-sailed cogs that cost between £50 and £66 each, paid partly in cash and partly by remission of taxes due by their owners. In all, forty ships were purchased in this way – thirty-three of them from the Cinque Ports alone.
Depending on the vessel’s size, crew numbers varied from twenty-five to sixty aboard an esnecca, the fleet’s flagship that could be rowed as a galley or proceed under sail with a favourable wind. The crewmen were not crusaders, but paid a year in advance at the rate of two pence per day, with the skippers receiving only twice that amount.
A considerable quantity of freight had to be stowed away and lashed down in the open holds. Some horses were doubtless carried aboard, for use during landfalls made on the voyage. Being unable to vomit, horses make poor sailors and had to be closely confined in stalls to avoid injury due to the ship’s motion – the flat-bottomed, wide-beamed cogs rolled abominably in even a light sea.
Richard left England before Christmas 1189 while his English fleet was being made ready to sail southward down the Atlantic coast and through the straits of Gibraltar into the Mediterranean. Roger of Howden’s account of the voyage is unclear, but the fleet must have put in at the ports of Normandy, Anjou, Poitou and Aquitaine (Richard’s domains) and possibly also in Brittany, of which he was overlord as further ships joined there. They certainly made landfall at Oporto and Lisbon to obtain fresh supplies and, more importantly, clean water for men and horses. The horses also needed to be exercised on land after being confined.
The land on both sides of the straits of Gibraltar was occupied by Muslim forces, but with insufficient naval power to impede so large a Christian fleet passing through. However, the southern half of Spain was all Moorish territory, so it was not until reaching Christian territory at the mouth of the Ebro in northeast Spain that they could land and re-provision. The plan was then to rendezvous with the king and the bulk of his army, travelling by land, at Marseille on the coast of southern France, where they did not arrive until 22 August 1190.
My question is this: can anyone suggest a rough schedule of departure and landfalls for these ships that fits the above? I am assuming that departure would not have been before the end of winter.