A 'muletta' or Portuguese fishing boat.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Model. This fishing boat of most unusual form and rig was used for trawling off the coast of Portugal, principally in the estuary of the River Tagus. The vesel was carvel-built with curious underwater lines. The keel did not project below the general level of the concave bottom of the hull, thus allowing the boat to remain upright when beached.The curved stem, ornamented with spikes and surmounted by a projecting beak, is perhaps a design feature which has survived from the battering ram of a Roman galley. The large lateen sail was used to sail the boat to the fishing grounds. Once there, the series of small square and triangular sails were set to drive the boat broadside through the water while towing the trawl as well as being used as steering sails.