It will rapidly become clear to the reader that this book does not fit easily into the pattern set by the other titles in the Anatomy series. Each previous volume was written by a specialist possessing full knowledge of the vessel under examination. The authors were able to base their descriptions on archival material like plans or on contemporary drawings or photographs. Even in the case of Susan Constant, by Brian Lavery - the subject nearest in time to Columbus's Santa Maria - the author was able to support his statements in part by reference to construction standards of the period. This is, unfortunately, far from being the case with the ships of Christopher Columbus. There is now no technical information available on how ships were built in Spain in the fifteenth century. The Itinerario de Navegacion by J Escalante de Mendoza (published in 1575 - 83 years after Columbus's voyage) contains only rules of a general character dealing with the materials used in shipbuilding, such as the timber most suitable for hull and masts or the appropriate vegetable fibres for manufacturing rigging and sails; the author gave no information at all on the dimensions of parts of the hull nor on the standing or running rigging.