Originally Posted by dman72
I'm not sure that Columbus' fleet was indicative of the height of European ship-building at the time.
No they weren't. Remember he first went to Portugal which did not support his plan. Only then did he ask Spain for help. They gave him 3 caravels which were considered smaller ships compared to the carracks which were much larger and over 1100 tons. Comparing a fleet assembled by orders the emperor of China to Columbus who had to basically beg for his ships and was granted 3 small ships to go out on what was considered at the time "far out" idea is rather ridiculous.