I saw a post on forum, and after some searching I can't seem to find a good answer as to why many junks have either flat fronts or square decks on the front (if they have pointed hulls). I have a few possible ideas:

  • It's a structural feature for resisting stormy conditions in the S China Sea
  • It's a cultural holdover from ancient times when these were river rafts
  • It's designed to increase hold and deck size, allowing more cargo

I am assuming there is a relatively consistent reason, and am wondering if anyone more familiar with maritime technology or Asian history knows what it is.


closed as off-topic by overactor, Pavel Janicek, bowlturner, Nick Wilde, Crabgor Nov 27 '14 at 15:39

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

  • "This question does not appear to be about worldbuilding, within the scope defined in the help center." – overactor, Pavel Janicek, bowlturner, Nick Wilde, Crabgor
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    $\begingroup$ I feel like this might be more in place over on history.SE as it's purely about the real world. $\endgroup$ – overactor Nov 27 '14 at 7:03
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    $\begingroup$ It might also be a possible example question for the new proposal Sailing. $\endgroup$ – Philipp Nov 27 '14 at 13:07
  • $\begingroup$ I agree this doesn't seem the place for this question. $\endgroup$ – bowlturner Nov 27 '14 at 13:32
  • $\begingroup$ Quite possibly, though I looked through History SE and didn't find much similar (it doesn't seem to focus on technology), and the original context in which it was asked was with regards to sailing in a fantasy context. It would be cool to have a Sailing SE though. $\endgroup$ – ltab Nov 27 '14 at 16:18

You are talking about a construction form which has no English term. In Germany we say "Kastenboot" (box - boat).

One example for this is the traditional Chinese Junk. There had been two main benefits of this construction form:

  1. Easy to build. You don't need to bend wood, or not too much. Due bending wood is very sophisticating, in the past this was a massive benefit. It allows to build more ships in less time with less effort.

  2. There's no or only a little radius in the hulk which means the ship can hold more cargo.

In modern day's these benefits can be archived with other techniques without the drawbacks (slow speed, ...) so it's not very common today.

  • $\begingroup$ I know of at least one common modern boat type which has a flat front: The Optimist. However, it is designed for a special purpose: As a training sailboat for children. $\endgroup$ – Philipp Nov 27 '14 at 13:10
  • $\begingroup$ Correct, but your comment must be seen as a sidenot, not a objection due it fits my answer. ("not very common" and "slow speed") $\endgroup$ – Sempie Nov 27 '14 at 13:20
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    $\begingroup$ A comment is not always a complaint :) $\endgroup$ – Philipp Nov 27 '14 at 13:25

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