I was wondering what the different ships of the different peoples look like, specifically Elves, Gondorians/Númenoreans, and Corsairs.
The elvish ships are often described to have swan-shaped prows:
...sailing proudly down the stream toward them, they saw a swan of great size. The water rippled on either side of the white breast beneath its curving neck. Its beak shone like burnished gold, and its eyes glinted like jet set in yellow stones; its huge white wings were half lifted. A music came down the river as it drew nearer; and suddenly they perceived that it was a ship, wrought and carved with elven-skill in the likeness of a bird. Two elves clad in white steered it with black paddles.
But this human ship (from Tolkien's lake-town picture) also has the swan-prow:
And here is another elven ship (from one of Tolkien's pictures):
Both are reminiscent of Viking ships, with elegant curves and decorated prows. The man-boat looks like a Viking long-boat, which fits the idea of northern men being Viking-like.
The problem is the Númenorean ships. It can be assumed that they learnt the art of ship-building from the Elves, but How much did the deviate? Did the Gondorian ships end up looking mediaeval? Alcarondas, Ar-Pharazôn's flagship is described as having 'many masts', and is also called 'Castle of the Sea' (Akallabêth), suggesting that Númenorean ships were heavily fortified.
The Gondorian ships and the ships of the Corsairs will have a similar design -- both originated from the Númenorean model. Sadly, I couldn't even find a good description of either -- the best being:
And looking thither they cried in dismay; for black against the glittering stream they beheld a fleet borne upon the wind: dromunds, and ships of great draught with many oars, and with black sails bellying in the breeze.
(RotK, 'The Battle of the Pelennor Fields)
I looked up 'dromund' and found that dromons are a type of galley, but Middle English dromund can be any very big mediaeval ship. Of course, 'ships of great draught' certainly doesn't describe Viking ships, so there remains the question: had late Númenorean ships evolved to be such? (possible, especially since 'Castle of the Seas' doesn't fit to Viking ships) Or were there Haradrim influences?
Can anyone find more text or pictures in which ships of Numenor, Gondor, or the Corsairs are mentioned?
EDIT: A galley might fit the description of Ar-Pharazôn's ship: Big, many oars, many masts, and fortified