Captain Malonso Cosetti strode the forecastle of SVS Scia
as he enjoyed a unseasonably warm day and took in the sounds. There were the ancient sounds of wind, wave and a ship under sail as well as the sounds of eating as the crew took their lunch and the newer sounds of a chugging engine and turning paddle wheels. This was her maiden voyage, which was mostly sailing to Rislos in the Dragon's Teeth and back and seeing how well she worked. So far so good in that regard.
Malonso was among the youngest commanding officers in the Venoan Navy. Just after getting his commission in 1407 YO he had served on SVS Fuocomare
, the Serene Republic's first steam galley as an ensign. He'd been fascinated with the new craft and had approached his duties with a enthusiasm which his superiors noted. It also surprised them when he'd shown a similar keenness for his duties on the Steam Galley SVS Lady DiMallangio
after he'd survived the fire which burned Fucomare
to the waterline sixteen months after her christening. He'd been worried a bit after hearing that a couple members of the Fifteen wanted to abandon steam galleys after SVS Mazza
also burnt and SVS Carronata
exploded even though those were from the first squadron and by that point DiAgnellio and his associates had delivered newer and safer engines. Fortunately those voices were silenced after reports of Infrastructural victories over the Drow were received and the navy pushed for as many new Steam Galleys as it could. The facts that he'd had as much experience with Steam Galleys as any other officer and a good report from his superiors were ultimately enough to get him a command of one of these ships.
There had been an ongoing dispute between the inventors who'd been designing these new ships and the shipwrights at the Arsenal. The former always wanted to constantly experiment, refine and improve so that each ship is better than the last. The latter wanted them to settle on a design so they could quickly assemble dozens of them. Malonso understood that both of them had a point, but even so he was glad that the inventors had been allowed to tweak Scia's
designs given everything he'd seen indicated that she was improvement on anything that came before.
She was fifty four yards long and weighed four hundred and fifty tons, which was a bit larger than the traditional galleys which had been the mainstay of the republic's navy for centuries even though she did share a lot in common with them. The main difference between her and her predecessors was of course her double action engine driving her twin paddlewheels with (using a reckoning which the dwarves apparently worked out for mine pumps) 900 horsepower. This had allowed him to get her up to sixteen knots for short bursts and eleven knots at a steady sustained pace. Moreover it did so while taking up a fraction of the space that rowers would, which meant that the designers could delete the oar-banks, which meant that the she was both more seaworthy than her fore-bearers and gave her a proper gundeck.
An old-fashioned Venoan galley had three or five forward main guns, a single stern chaser and four 3-pounder broadside guns. Scia
retained the heavy forward arsenal with a massive new model 68-pounder cannon along with five 24-pounders (one in the rear) but also a broadside arsenal of sixteen 12-pounder long guns and eight 24-pounder carronades, all of which were rifled even if he had his doubts about how effective that was in the case of the northern style snub-cannons. She was still more forward oriented than sail warships, but unlike her predecessors her flanks were the massive weak spots they were.
All in all Malonso felt good with how things had turned out so far. He still knew that a breakdown could happen and if worse came to worse there was the transport Tartagura following behind her, but he doubted it. Rislos was only a day or so away, which would be followed by inspections, then the gunnery trials and more tests. After a couple of months of that, she would join up with the forty one similar ships of Serene Republic's growing steam fleet.
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