A sambuk typically had a keel length of around 75 feet (23 meters) long and had a beam or width of 20 feet (6.1 meters). Rather than a sterncastle, it had only a raised platform. Navigation was via a rudder at the stern and the lateen sails. It was slightly more reliable than a barijah, as it could be sail in all seas.
A sambuk was crewed by 15–20 sailors and could carry 80 passengers or 90 tons (81 tonnes).
The sambuk was the second-most common ship in Zakhara after the barijah.
In the Year of the Nine Stars, 657 DR, Grand Caliph Arash bint Sanjar sent an armada of sambuk to the Utter East. From these vessels, the corsairs launched a surprise attack on the Five Kingdoms, swiftly overrunning and seizing their defenseless port cities. Then legions of askar disembarked, beginning the Scouring of the Utter East. By the end, his forces boarded their sambuks and sailed home again.
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