The fantasy world is set in medieval times (1100 A.D - 1400 A.D).

The mission is to travel from the mainland to an ice continent using a ship, a distance of say from England to the North Pole. The sea being traveled across is tame, though there are some icebergs the closer you get to the arctic continent. The purpose is to mine precious stones in the ice.

The only outstanding source of technology or magic is stones that generate wind. These stones are used by sailors to give their sails a bit of an advantage over the seas.

What sort of ship could sustain travel like this (a cog, a galley, etc)? How long would it take? And how many crew members would be needed (and what would their roles be)?

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ The archetypal medieval ships in norther waters were Baltic cogs and Viking longships. (Note that longships are generally not called galleys, on account of being very different from the Mediterranean types.) The first visit from a Western European to Novaya Zemlya was by Hugh Willoughby in 1553. The Dutchman Willem Barentsz made the first discovery of the Svalbard archipelago in 1596. You can research the history of their expenditions. $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    Apr 4, 2020 at 23:38
  • $\begingroup$ I don't think this is viable without coal, iron furnaces, and canned food. $\endgroup$
    – John O
    Apr 5, 2020 at 0:23
  • $\begingroup$ maybe add how strong the wind generated ? maybe it can help others to decide how big the ship need to be and the sail, from that then people can count how many people or crewman need to sail the ship. $\endgroup$
    – Li Jun
    Apr 5, 2020 at 7:38
  • $\begingroup$ also how much mined precious stone the ship or the persons need to carry for your world? and also how heavy the precious stone is ? $\endgroup$
    – Li Jun
    Apr 5, 2020 at 7:42
  • $\begingroup$ as for ship type icebreaker type is suitable with your description. $\endgroup$
    – Li Jun
    Apr 5, 2020 at 7:49

1 Answer 1


I think this could be done by one man in a kayak, provided there are things to hunt along the way, and the individual is adapted and skilled at arctic living. At least, I recall my middle school classes indicating the Eskimos did long solo hunting trips.

The distance is large, but not impossible, particularly with your wind-stones.

If you are not hunting along the way, the problem is carrying enough food and keeping warm. You might need a fleet of cargo ships delivering supplies.


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