Chaika (boat)

A chaika (Ukrainian: чайка, chayka, Polish: czajka, Serbian: шајка / šajka, Slovene: šajka or plitka) was a wooden boat that could have a mast and sail, a type of galley, used in early modern warfare and cargo transport by the:

Chaika viyskova Boplan 1660.png
Chaika boat (Beauplan's book "Description of Ukraine", 1660) +
Rolemarine warfare/transportation
Crew50 or 60
Crew50 or 60
Draft4 m (13 ft)
(board down)
LOA20 m (66 ft)
Beam3.5 m (11 ft)
17th century woodcut showing Zaporozhian Cossacks in chaikas, destroying the Turkish fleet and capturing Caffa in 1616.



Tschaika were either 24 (Ganz ("Full") Tschaika) or 12 metres (Halb ("Half") Tschaika) in length, operated by sail or oars. Between 30 and 50 men were in service, commanded by an officer, with an NCO[clarification needed] helmsman, an armourer, a drummer, two bowsmen, and up to 36 oarsmen.[2]

Zaporizhian Host (Ukraine)Edit

Presviata Pokrova, replica Ukrainian chaika in the Solent

Chaikas were between 18 and 20 metres in length, 3 and 3.5 metres in width, and 3.5 and 4 metres in depth. The bottom of a chaika was carved out of a single tree trunk, with sides built out of wooden planks. To protect the boat from enemy guns or from sinking, reed bales were tied to the gunwales of the boat. Some chaikas also had two steering oar's, so that the boat never needed turning around in order to switch direction.[citation needed] One such boat could carry around 50 to 60 men and up to 6 falconets (small cannon).

A similar, but larger boat used by the Zaporozhian Cossacks for both transport and warfare was called a baidak.


  1. ^ Baš, Angelos (2003). "Šajkarstvo na Slovenskem". Traditiones (in Slovenian and English). 32 (1). COBISS 21585965.
  2. ^ Hollins, p. 11

External linksEdit