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  • As a ship's boat the pinnace is a light boat, propelled by oars or sails, carried aboard merchant and war vessels in the Age of Sail to serve as a tender. The pinnace was usually rowed, and could be rigged with a sail for use in favorable winds. A pinnace would ferry passengers and mail, communicate between vessels, scout to sound anchorages, convey water and provisions, or carry armed sailors for cutting-out expeditions. The Spanish favored them as lightweight smuggling vessels while the Dutch used them as raiders. In modern parlance, pinnace has come to mean a boat associated with some kind of larger vessel, that doesn't fit under the launch or lifeboat definitions. Wikipedia

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