Anmerkungen zum Schiffbau der Hansezeit
Remarks on Shipbuilding in the Hanseatic Period
As naval architects especially interested in the history of shipbuilding during the Hanseatic period, we feel compelled to highlight some disturbing aspects of the scholarly discussions of shipping among Hanseatic historians. In particular, we note a number of definitions and findings that simply cannot be squared with the physical and technical principles which modern naval architecture has discovered. Of course, we all agree that Hanseatic shipbuilding was a rough-and-ready affair, in which trial and error led to an intuitive understanding of the physical principles involved, even if these were not articulated. Blissfully unaware of maritime engineering, Hanseatic historians have, however, advanced arguments which, viewed in the light of the current state of knowledge in shipbuilding science, are unconvincing.
For instance, concepts such as wales or bends and other structural terms, e.g. deck beams and watertight decks, are described without any clear explanation of their function. Moreover, the definitions of deadweight tonnage, freeboard, calculation of displacement, and the dependency of ship safety on freeboard are inadequate. In short, there is a crying need for cross-polination between Hanseatic historians and naval architects, since a linkage between the archival material and the scientific principles of maritime engineering cannot be but fruitful.