The carrack was a versatile type of ship also know as nau; it appeared during the XV as the result of the research and development work of the Portuguese, who at the time were leading the world in naval technology; first used by Portugal and Spain, its oceanic qualities made it soon a design of choice for European nations and so it became one of the most influential ship designs of all times.
The carrack was a sail ship carrying three or four masts. It was developed initially in Portugal due to a requirement for an ocean going ship larger than the caravel, which could be used in exploration, trade and military missions.
Carracks were generally less maneuverable than caravels but offered more stability, onboard space and relative comfort for the crew and passengers. They had a large forecastle and aftcastle and the typical carrack hull was characteristically rounded, giving those ships an almost cartoon-like appearance. In many old drawings, paintings and engravings, carracks appear with curves that appear almost exaggerated when compared with other design types, but that was indeed their true shape.