The Hulk, in the English name "hulk" near to "wreck", is in fact a derivative of an older term that is found in French ("Hourque") and in Dutch ("Hulke"). This last term means "jarre". From the outset, he announced the two essential characteristics of this type of ship of the early Middle Ages, the full forms and its vocation of cargo. Related to the Cogue, the Hulk is a heavier and enlarged version, announcing the late nave as the Caraques of the fifteenth century. A displacement of 300 tons or more, and the systematic use of many reinforcing porques, was a sign of it, as were the high-footed. Although three masts were the rule, the first are large Hanseatic Cogues with a mast.

He eclipsed the Cogue and cohabited for almost a century with the Caraque, rather widespread in the south. Its simple sail was faster to stir but the sail area was no less important. Thus his mainsail reached some 180 square meters. But its maximum tonnage remained limited (800 tons anyway) by the choice of a construction on board. It was a perfect synthesis of the experiences of shipbuilders in the North and the South. The Nefs and Cogs that met during the crusades thus generated derivatives of the two influences in the north. Mixed, these Hulks could be armed from 4 to 14 pieces. When the caraque spread to the north (supplanted a century later by the galleon), the last anachronistic Hulks disappeared.