I'm writing a book and need help with trading frigates crossing the Atlantic in 1650 to the West Indies and American colonies. How many men would be on a ship and were there stairs or ladders leading to the decks below?

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    Hi, welcome to the site! Did you perform some research, that we could compare or extend? – Voitcus May 19 '15 at 17:42
  • Both of those questions would depend completely on the individual ship and what kind of trade it was conducting. – Tyler Durden May 19 '15 at 17:47
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    @TylerDurden Frigates were warships and were not intended for trade purposes other than privateering and securing own trade routes. – Voitcus May 19 '15 at 18:47
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    @Voitcus In the 1650's the word 'frigate' was used to describe any ship of fine lines that was built for speed. Its use to denote a class of cruising warship came later. – Steve Bird May 19 '15 at 21:02
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    @Stuart Allen As I've already noted above, the assertion that frigates are purely warships isn't true in the time period covered in the question. Faulkner's 'Universal Dictionary of the Marine' (1784) includes the following as part of its definition of 'Frigate' - "Formerly the name of Frigate was only known in the Mediterranean, and applied to a kind of long vessel, navigated in that sea with sails and oars. The English were the first who appeared on the [Atlantic] ocean with those ships and equiped them for war as well as commerce." – Steve Bird May 22 '15 at 13:45

The Mayflower was a small-ish merchant ship (Dutch Fluyt) of the early 17th Century ~100 tons burden. With a crew of ~25-30 men and boys.

Also all the models/diagrams seem to show stairs from the half deck to the upper deck and to the deck below that above the hold (and maybe down to the orlop deck or hold )

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