I think what I have here is a very good 3D model (courtesy to James/Stompy, check for other views) of the Going Merry, and I assume that if you are interested in this post, you are familiar with the first ship Luffy and Co sailed on in One Piece.

When I was the moderator for Yelu’s manga discussion board (now dormant), I used to ask 1 question/day for members to earn points. The Going Merry question was one of the S-rank questions, and I started out by searching for the answer myself.

In the old days, One Piece was not as popular. And there was this one website that posted about a possible real-life model for Going Merry. I found it and used the picture on the left as the cIue to my question. A few days ago, I found this picture laying in the depths of my photobucket album. With the help of tineye.com, I was able to find this model again, which Woody Joe calls “Catalonia”: a model dedicated to church near Barcelona . In existence oldest sailer model.

Here is where it gets interesting. Going Merry has always been classified as a caravel class vessel. But if the Going Merry was modeled after the “Catalonia” , then its classification will not be as clear. In fact, Catalonia is the oldest surviving model of either a caravel or a nao1, and the distinction between a caravel and naos i apparently never clear anyways.

Woody Joe calls the model “Catalonia” probably because the model is a votive model from a Catalonian church. However, the more correct name for the model is actually Het Matarómodel, since the church is more specifically located  in Mataro. The original model can now be found in the Maritime Museumin Rotterdam. I think the Woody Joe model looks like a good replica of the original model.

Lets look at Going Merry, notice the placement of the blelaying pin on the sides of the hull to be almost identical to the Mataromodel? The anchor also seems to have a similar release mechanism and is stowed at the same position as the model. Heck, Going Merry and the Mataromodel just looks alike. The curvature of the hull of Going Merry seems to be more round than ellipsoidal; it is square-rigged on the mainmast and lateen-rigged on the mizzenmast, which wikipedia says is more indicative of a nao. But some caravels that were made later seemed to have adapted the same rigging as the nao… And i can go on and on and on… And I think the official word is that Going Merry is a caravel. Period. So if you are interested, please read the links to see what differentiates a caravel from a nao.

The Going Merry does have a mizzenmast, which is different from the Mataromodel. But some research will show that the Mataromodel is one of the only artifacts from the 15th century that really demonstrated how a caravel or nao was rigged and built. Actually, now I think about it, even though I don’t know much about sailing (despite having taken an intro to sailing  class for a semester), Going Merry seems to be not navigable at all… Is it just me or there are no sheets/ braces on the main sail? How are you going to control the main mast? Does it depend solely on the lateen-rigging and the rudder? I guess Nami is a much, much better sailor than I though she was… Okay, I know it is probably because drawing all those $%@!&#$%^ rigging on the ship will make it look super messy.

Anyways, I don’t know how much of a ship builder Eiichiro Oda is, but if he actually referenced anything during his creation of Going Merry, my best guess would be the Mataromodel. No matter what, I personally think that the Mataromodel is much more like the “real” Going Merry than the japanese replica of the live-action(?) Going Merry in Odaiba…. (I still think it is super cool though >_>)

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Reference
  1. http://www.bbprivateer.com/carvel.htm []