A cutter sailing ship is a type of seafaring vessel used by the Southern Water Tribe's military to transport its warriors. The ship is suited for use near the icy South Pole, but can function in many other regions of the world as well.
The family of Southern Water Tribe origin that eventually became the ruling dynasty of the Fifth Nation pirates possessed an elegant cutter that was passed down as heirloom. Eventually, it came into the possession of Tagaka who intended to use it to transport "Avatar" Yun after capturing him in 296 BG. However, the plan was foiled by Kyoshi and Yun's companions, and the Fifth Nation's entire fleet was sunk or captured.
In 97 AG, Chief Hakoda and his troops left the Southern Water Tribe to help the Earth Kingdom battle the Fire Nation invaders. The battalion sailed to the Eastern Sea on eight cutter sailing ships and used the vessels to prevent Fire Nation cruisers from accessing a waterway that led to Ba Sing Se. During a nightly patrol three years later, Hakoda spotted a lost Appa flying high above his ship.
After finding evidence to suggest that a battle had taken place between Water Tribe warriors and Fire Nation soldiers, Team Avatar discovered a cutter sailing ship in the Earth Kingdom. They soon learned the boat belonged to Bato, who imparted to the group that his father had made the vessel and took him ice dodging with it. Since Sokka and Katara never completed the ritual due to Hakoda's departure, Bato invited Team Avatar to navigate his ship past a group of rocks. Aang was tasked with controlling the jib, Katara the mainsail, and Sokka the tiller, and together they successfully completed the challenge.
Following the fall of Ba Sing Se, Hakoda and his companions fled their base at Chameleon Bay. Realizing that their battered cutters could not withstand more battle, they decided to sink their ships in order to deceive the Fire Nation into thinking they had already been defeated.
The Water Tribe warriors later rebuilt their ships and deployed them in the Day of Black Sun in the summer of 100 AG. The mechanist upgraded them by adding a submarine to each. The ships were abandoned by the invasion force at the Great Gates of Azulon, where they were immediately captured and secured by the Fire Nation defenders.
A cutter sailing ship is somewhat U-shaped. The bow of the ship, from which hangs a yellow lantern, extends high up into the air and is tied by rope to a wooden mast at the vessel's center. The mast is also tied to various other parts of the ship, which is often done so that it does not fall over due to sustained damage. A symbolic blue flag bearing the Water Tribe's emblem is placed on top of the mast. The blue sails, of which there are generally one or two, are triangular and also connect to the mast; sailing is the primary way the cutter moves across the water.
The ship is made from wooden planks. This wood comes in two shades of brown: light and dark. The cutter's trimmings and borders are usually light brown, while the remainder of it is darker in coloration. The vessel's deck stores drinking water, bags of food, boxes, crates, barrels, cleaning utensils, and various animal skins, the latter of which line the rim of the hull. The interior of the ship is accessible via a doorway and stairs.
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- Nick Magazine presents, The Bridge.
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