Xebec – Amati


Scale: 1:60 Length: 72 cm


Xebec (AM1427) Scale: 1:60 Length: 72 cm

Xebecs were ships similar to galleys primarily used by Barbary pirates, which have both lateen sails and oars for propulsion. Early xebecs had two masts while later ships had three. Xebecs featured a distinctive hull with pronounced overhanging bow and stern, and rarely displaced more than 200 tons, making them slightly smaller and with slightly fewer guns than frigates of the period.

These ships were easy to produce and were cheap, and thus nearly every corsair captain (Raïs) had at least one xebec in his fleet. They could be of varying sizes. Some ships had only three guns while others had up to forty. Most xebecs had around 20-30 cannons, and the overwhelming majority had swivel guns equipped.

After the 18th century, galleys became increasingly outdated and xebecs became the preferred ships of Barbary pirates[8] thanks to their heavy and effective use of wind power, reduced need for slaves to row, ability to carry more cannons than a galley, and overall cheapness, speed, and maneuverability.

Xebecs were generally faster than contemporary ship types until the introduction of steamships.

Corsairs built their xebecs with a narrow floor to achieve a higher speed than their victims, but with a considerable beam in order to enable them to carry an extensive sail-plan. The lateen rig of the xebec allowed the ship to sail close hauled to the wind, often giving it an advantage in pursuit or escape. The use of oars or sweeps allowed the xebec to approach vessels who were becalmed. When used as corsairs, the xebecs carried a crew of between 90 to 400 men.

The use of square rig among pirates was initially rare, although after the 1750s a mix between lateen and square rigs became much more widespread.[10]


Amati’s Xebec kit features wood and metal fittings, diagrams and instructions. This kit does not come with tools, glue, paint or display accessories.


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