PotBS Wiki
Dolphyn 400.jpg
'Dolphyn' Ketch (Civilian) (Obsolete)
A Level 8, 14-gun Small Merchant
Historical rating: 10-gun Unrated Ship
These parameters determine how your ship sails.
Max Speed: Maximum Speed
How fast your ship can move in battles. Improving battle speed does not improve Open Sea speed.

Acceleration: Acceleration
Determines how fast the ship gains speed.

Deceleration: Deceleration
Determines how fast the ship loses speed. Lower values are better if you want to maintain speed, higher values are better if you want to stop quickly.

Turning (Fast): Fast Turn Rate
The Ship's turn rate in degrees per second. This is how fast the ship turns if it is moving at maximum speed.

Turning (Slow): Slow Turn Rate
The Ship's turn rate in degrees per second. This is how fast the ship turns if it is moving at a speed of at least 4 knots.

Turning Accel: Max Turning Acceleration
This shows how fast a ship accelerates into a turn. The higher the value, the faster the ship reaches its maximum turn rate.

Turning Decel: Min Turning Deceleration
Ships gradually suffer less deceleration as they turn. This shows a minimum amount of deceleration a ship has when turning. Lower numbers (relative to other acceleration stats) are better.

Best Point: Best Point
The wind angle at which the ship can attain its maximum speed. The wind comes from angle 0o, and angle 180o is running with the wind at your back.
Capacity: Capacity
How many units of cargo the ship can hold.

O.S. Visibility: Open Sea Visibility
How far away other ships will spot you on the open sea.

O.S. Spotting: Open Sea Spotting
Increases your spotting range, allowing you to detect ships beyond their O.S. Visibility.

Crew: Crew
The maximum number of crew on your ship. Shows the fighting strength of your crew.

Target Tracking: Target Tracking
Reduces the accuracy penalties you suffer due to your movement and your target's movement. Improves your chance to hit fast moving ships.


8 ( Small)
LEVEL (SIZE): Level and Size
The level required to use this ship, and the size of the hull.

DURABILITY: Durability
The number of ships you have left. Decreases by 1 whenever the ship is defeated in combat (with the exception of skirmish).

INSURANCE VALUE: Insurance Value
Amount of doubloons you will receive for this ship if she is sunk or scuttled.
The ship's Health stats show how much damage it can sustain.
Hull: Hull (Structure)
The internal structure of your ship. When your structure runs out, your ship sinks.

Port: Port (Left)
The ship's port armor. Armor facings protect the ship's hull.

Stbd: Starboard (Right)
The ship's starboard armor. Armor facings protect the ship's hull.

Bow: Bow (Front)
The ship's bow armor. Armor facings protect the ship's hull.

Stern: Stern (Rear)
The ship's stern armor. Armor facings protect the ship's hull.

Sails: Sails & Masts
Shows how much damage the ship's sails and masts can sustain. Ships lose speed as they take sail damage.
Integ. Integrity
The ship's Integrity stats show how much damage it can sustain.
DR Damage Reduction
Shows how much the ship's armor reduces the damage it receives.
These change your chance to hit, chance to get hit and the damage you take.
Sails: Sails
Offense, defense and resistance values for your ship's sails and masts.

Crew: Crew
Offense, defense and resistance values for your ship's crew.

Bow: Bow (Front)
Offense, defense and resistance values for your ship's bow armor.

Stern: Stern (Rear)
Offense, defense and resistance values for your ship's stern armor.

Sides: Broadsides (Left & Right)
Offense, defense and resistance values for your ship's broadsides.

Grapple: Grappling
Grappling offense makes it easier to board ships. Grappling defense protects you against hostile boarding attempts.
OFF Offense
Offensive modifiers are a percentage increase to your chance to hit. The numbers here include any benefits from 'Accuracy, All' items.
DEF Defense
Defensive modifiers are a percentage decrease to the chance enemies will hit you. The numbers here include any benefits from 'Defense, All' items.
RES Resistance
Resistance is a percentage reduction in the damage you take.
The guns on your ship are divided into batteries. Guns within a single battery are identical and are controlled as a group.
Type Quantity & Weight
This shows number and size of the guns in the battery. Heavier guns do more damage, have longer range and penetrate armor better. Lighter guns reload faster and are better at dealing sustained damage against unarmored targets.
Reload Reload
The time it takes to reload the entire battery of guns, in seconds.
Damage Maximum Damage
This shows how much damage each cannon can do at minimum range using heavy round shot. Damage gradually decreases as your target gets farther away.
Range Maximum Range
This shows how far the cannons can fire heavy round shot. Other ammo types modify this range.
Acc Accuracy
This shows the cannon's percentage chance to hit a standard target at 200 or 400 yards away. The chance to hit is increased based on target size, and decreases based on movement.
200 / 400 Accuracy
This shows the cannon's percentage chance to hit a standard target at 200 or 400 yards away. The chance to hit is increased based on target size, and decreases based on movement.
Swivels: Swivel guns fire anti-personnel shot, spraying enemy decks with a lethal cloud of musket-balls. 4x 1/2lb 8.0s 6.7 100y -- / --
Topdeck:10x 6lb 20.0s 24.7 575y 104 / 81
Upwind & Luffing
26% - 36%
4.91 - 6.79 knots
13.21 knots
13.21 knots
16.04 knots85%
85%16.04 knots
18.87 knots
18.87 knots
16.51 knots
Open Sea Speed: 62
Information based on version Current game version is

Civilian ship deeds used to be sold by the Civilian Ship Deed Trader, until the vendor was removed.

A versatile, combat-capable trade ship. The Dolphyn is outmaneuvered by all the other ships in her class, but she packs a heavy punch and has sturdy armor.


The ketch developed around the middle of the 17th century. The ketch design has a short bowsprit with at least one triangular headsail, the main mast stepped abaft with a topmast carrying square course and topsail -- later versions added a topgallant -- and a mizzen mast with a triangular lateen sail. The hull form was relatively stubby with a round stern and a narrow transom like the Dutch flute and a plain curved stem. Larger ketches were built in the 18th and early 19th centuries. Ketches ranged in size from 40 feet to over 120 feet long for some of the 19th century versions, with a displacement from fifty tons to three hundred tons. The addition of the mizzen mast to what would have been a single-masted ship made them more seaworthy and more controllable on strong winds or heavy weather. This released them from costal waters and let them become true deep-water sailors. The original ketch design gradually developed three variants: the trading ketch, the gun ketch, and the bomb ketch -- though this is not to say a trading ketch or bomb ketch wouldn't be armed.

The first notable ketch was the Nonsuch. She was an eight-gun ketch built in 1650 at Wivenhoe, Essex, England. She was purchased by the navy in 1654 and served until 1667, when she was sold to Sir William Warren. The Nonsuch was small for a ketch. She was only 50 feet long and 15 feet in width. In 1667, the Nonsuch was loaned to Médard Chouart and Pierre Esprit Radisson. They sailed from London, Sieur des Groselliers, on June 5, 1668, with a cargo of "wampumeage." They sailed into Hudson Bay and on September 29, 1668, landed on the south shores of James Bay. There they built Fort Charles (later renamed Rupert's House) on the Rupert River. After trading with the Indians for a year, Groselliers returned to England in October 1669 with a cargo of furs. The following year the Hudson's Bay Company was formally incorporated and given by king's grant an area equivalent to nearly forty percent of modern Canada. The Nonsuch regularly patrolled the waters around the trading colony and had several engagements with raiders who were believed to be French privateers. The Nonsuch was instrumental in founding one of the oldest commercial organizations in the world. A plan of the Nonsuch can be seen and even purchased at this website.

Trading ketches tended to be smaller than their naval peers, averaging between 40 to 80 feet. One reason, of course, was to reduce crew size. Average crew on a trading ketch was about two dozen. The smaller trading ketch could easily maneuver in all sizes and depths of harbors for loading and unloading of merchandise directly onto the pier. In addition, the smaller ketches were easier to handle than the large ones. Trading ketches were used by many nations in and between the Caribbean and Americas. Although capable of blue-water sailing, larger vessels were usually used to transport goods from one side of the Atlantic to the other.

Gun ketches were used primarily for coastal patrol, small convoy escort, and fishery protection. A gun ketch would carry between four and eight cannon (ten on some large ketches built by the French), usually four to six pounders, and was generally 60 to 80 feet in length with a crew size of 70 to 90 men. Probably the most famous gun ketch in history was the USS Intrepid. Intrepid was a 64-ton, four-gun ketch, originally built in France in 1798. She was subsequently sold to Tripoli, renamed Mastico, and used by the Barbary Pirates based there to capture the USS Philadelphia on October 31, 1803. She was herself captured by USS Enterprise on December 23 of that year. She was placed under the command of Lieutenant Stephen Decatur and on the night of February 16, 1804, Decatur and his men sailed Intrepid into Tripoli harbor, boarded the ex-American frigate Philadelphia, and set her afire. Tripoli harbor was fairly shallow and only a shallow draught ship could have made the daring plan work. While the attackers made good their escape, the Philadelphia burned and sank.

Strategy and Use

As should be clear by now, ketches are a genuinely versatile ship. They're quite likely to be many players' second command, when you're ready to move up from your sloop, because they serve well both as fighting ships and as merchant vessels.


While smallish, ketches are not without their defenses. The ketch in Pirates of the Burning Sea can mount up to ten guns, and the heavier timbers of its hull allow for larger gun weights than sloops or schooners.

With two masts instead of three, the ketch sails better with the wind astern than larger, three-masted vessels, whose sails shadow each other, and it can certainly make better time with the wind at its back than the fore-and-aft rigged vessels favored by pirates and privateers. The robust hull and the two-masted rig mean the ketch fares better in heavier weather and stronger winds than smaller vessels, and even some of the fragile larger vessels like xebecs.

With armament proportional to its size and a moderate crew, the ketch can ably defend itself against lighter vessels. When faced with heavier opponents, the ketch's respectable speed and reasonable draft mean a fortuitous escape is likely.

Another notable advantage is that the Ketch has a 'heavy' variant. No other ship in its level bracket has a heavy variant, making the 'Dolphyn' Heavy Ketch surprisingly thick-skinned compared to its rivals such as the 'Bermuda' Sloop, 'Mediator' Cutter, and even the 'van Hoorn' Snow.

In the end, some may disparage the ketch as "average". However, those who appreciate the ketch for its versatility affectionately call it "balanced" and would sail nothing else.


Other variants of the Dolphyn:

Comparable Ships

Ketches are closely related to the more prevalent brigs. Both are two-masted, square-rigged vessels of similar dimensions. The main technical difference between the ketch and brig rig is that a brig has fore and main masts of equal height evenly distributed along the length of the ship, while ketches have a tall mainmast in roughly the center of the ship, and a shorter mizzen mast between the main and the stern.

Ketches differ from true "ships" in that they tend to be somewhat smaller, and they lack a foremast.

Distinguishing Characteristics

  • Larger and more heavily armed than sloops.
  • With both a main and a mizzen mast, the ketch handles better under a wider variety of wind and water conditions than single-masted vessels.
  • A small, sturdy vessel, the ketch makes a fine light warship, and its rig and hull design make it a versatile trader for both coastal and deep-water routes.
  • Large, clear deck from the mainmast forward makes it possible to mount mortars, turning the ketch into a floating siege weapon.

Version History

( 2013-03-10

  • Changed Cargo Capacity
  • Changed O.S. Visibility
  • Changed Sailing, Range, and Accuracy Stats