I'm currently working on developing the navy for the most advanced faction in my fantasy world and I'm stuck with the design of the largest ship, a sort of a medieval carrier ship.
I'm talking about having a ship that would be roughly the same size and function as a modern aircraft carrier, with the main difference that it would carry smaller ships (Hunters) instead of aircraft because my fantasy world does not and will never have any sort of flying contraptions.
The problem with this idea is to find a way for the Hunters to sail out of and into the carrier while the carrier itself is on the move. The reasoning behind this is that the carrier would be carrying and managing several dozen Hunters, which would have a relatively short range of operation, so the carrier would have to keep up with them at a reasonable pace, especially when the operation demands prolonged harassment of the enemy.
As the carrier sails across the water, it creates a serious wake in its path and that very wake is my main design obstacle. Placing the hangar bay doors at the front of the carrier is obviously not an option, while placing them at the sides would force the Hunters to directly cut across the wake when coming in and going out every single time. Placing the hangar bay doors at the rear would force me to place the engines somewhere else and I honestly have no idea how the physics work when a smaller ship is tailgating an exponentially larger one.
So far the only concept that somewhat resolves the issue is to apply the idea from the Japanese I-400-class submarines that was attempted during WWII. This would mean providing the carrier with several cranes that would lift the Hunters out of the water while they maintain a parallel course to the carrier and bring them in. Carrying the Hunters in and out one by one seems significantly slower than allowing them to enter and leave the hangar bay relying on their own propulsion, but if there really is no alternative to it then I guess I will have to settle with that.
Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated...
PS EDIT: Both the carrier and the Hunters have engines powered by reactors (power cells), so they don't require sails.
PPS EDIT: The ships would be roughly made of the metals available to us during the pre-ww1 era. Since gunpowder and explosives don't exist, the guns on these ships are the first of their kind, basically oversized airguns.