The term "shnekker" firstly appeared in Russia in the Novgorod manuscript of 1284. The word derived from the Norman "shnekker" - snake, and denoted the name of a foreign ship. The length of such ships was 20 - 24 m, their width - 4.2 - 5.1 m, the height of boards - 1.2 - 1.7 m., and the draught - 0.5 - 1 m. Average displacements of vessels were from 10 to 20 t. The crew consisted of 40 - 70 people. The frame timbers had a strong outer sweep up to 25 - 30 degrees. For greater stability the ballast of stones with the weight of 1 t was laid on the bottom of the vessel. Oak planking boards were of clincker-built type that was a characteristic feature of sea vessels of all northern peoples. The historian Stroott in his work 'On the Norman Antiquities' mentioned that many Scandinavian vessels carried on their stems and sterns richly decorated towers with fortress-type merlons. Those were raised platforms (castles) with barriers for arbalest and sling men (the bow tower - forecastle, and the stern tower - sterncastle). The steering oar of a traditional Scandinavian form fastened at the starboard.