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A cog is a type of ship that first appeared in the 10th century, and was widely used from around the 12th century on. Cogs were clinker-built, generally of oak , which was an abundant timber in the Baltic region of Prussia . This vessel was fitted with a single mast and a square -rigged single sail . These vessels were mostly associated with seagoing trade in medieval Europe , especially the Hanseatic League , particularly in the Baltic Sea region . They ranged from about 15 to 25 meters (49 to 82 ft) in length with a beam of 5 to 8 meters (16 to 26 ft), and the largest cog ships could carry up to about 200 tons.