The lorcha is a type of sailing vessel having a junk rig with a Cantonese or other Chinese-style batten sails on a Portuguese or other European-style hull. The hull structure made the lorcha faster and able to carry more cargo than the normal junk. The advantage of the junk rig was in its ease of handling and resulting reduced crewing requirement, together with its relatively low cost of construction. Owing to its simplicity, it was also easier to repair. Lorchas were made locally of camphor or teak and generally were of 30 to 150 tons burthen.
This type of vessel was developed around 1550 in Macau, then a Portuguese colony in China. This hybrid type of vessel sailed faster than traditional pirate ships and British traders began to use it after the First Opium War.
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