A cutter sailing ship is a mode of aquatic transportation used by the Southern Water Tribe's military to transport its warriors. The boat is exclusively suited for use near the icy South Pole, but can function in many other regions of the world as well.
In 97 ASC, Chief Hakoda and his troops left the Southern Water Tribe to help the Earth Kingdom battle the Fire Nation invaders. The battalion sailed to the Eastern Sea on four cutter sailing ships, and used the vessels to prevent Fire Nation cruisers from accessing a waterway that led to Ba Sing Se. During a nightly patrol three years later, Hakoda spotted a lost Appa flying high above his ship.
After finding evidence to suggest that a battle had taken place between Water Tribe warriors and Fire Nation soldiers, Team Avatar discovered a cutter sailing ship somewhere in the Earth Kingdom. They soon learned the boat belonged to Bato, who imparted to the group that his father had made the vessel and took him ice dodging with it. Since Sokka and Katara never completed the ritual due to Hakoda's departure, Bato told Team Avatar to navigate his ship past a group of rocks. Aang was tasked with controlling the jib, Katara the mainsail, and Sokka steered the boat, and together they successfully completed the challenge.
Pakku and a few other waterbenders from the Northern Water Tribe journeyed to the South Pole on a cutter, wanting to aid the recovery of their war-torn sister tribe. Team Avatar accompanied them at the beginning of their travels, before parting ways and going to General Fong's fortress.
Following the fall of Ba Sing Se, Hakoda and his companions fled their base at Chameleon Bay. Realizing that their battered cutters could not withstand more battle, they decided to sink their ships in order to deceive the Fire Nation into thinking they had already been defeated.
The Water Tribe warriors later rebuilt their ships and deployed them in the Invasion of the Fire Nation in the summer of 100 ASC. The mechanist upgraded them with a submarine. The ships were abandoned by the invasion force at the Great Gates of Azulon, where they were immediately captured and secured by the Fire Nation defenders.
A cutter sailing ship is somewhat U-shaped. The bow of the ship, which has a yellow lantern, extends high up into the air and is tied by rope to a wooden mast at the vessel's center. The mast is also tied to various other parts of the ship, which is often done so that it does not fall over due to sustained damage. A symbolic blue flag bearing the Water Tribe's emblem is placed on top of the mast. The blue sails, of which there are generally one or two, are triangular and also connect to the mast; it is the primary way the cutter moves across the water.
The ship is made from wooden planks. This wood comes in two shades of brown: light and dark. The cutter's trimmings and borders are usually light brown, while the remainder of it is darker in coloration. The vessel's deck stores drinking water, bags of food, boxes, crates, barrels, cleaning utensils, and various animal skins, the latter of which line the rim of the hull. The interior of the ship is accessible via a doorway and stairs.
- ↑ "Appa's Lost Days". Elizabeth Welch Ehasz (writer) & Giancarlo Volpe (director). Avatar: The Last Airbender. Nickelodeon. October 13, 2006. No. 16, Book Two: Earth
- ↑ "Bato of the Water Tribe". Ian Wilcox (writer) & Giancarlo Volpe (director). Avatar: The Last Airbender. Nickelodeon. October 7, 2005. No. 15, Book One: Water
- ↑ "The Avatar State". Aaron Ehasz, Elizabeth Welch Ehasz, Tim Hedrick, John O'Bryan (writers) & Giancarlo Volpe (director). Avatar: The Last Airbender. Nickelodeon. March 17, 2006. No. 1, Book Two: Earth
- ↑ Nick Magazine presents, The Bridge.
- ↑ "The Day of Black Sun, Part 1: The Invasion". Michael Dante DiMartino (writer) & Giancarlo Volpe (director). Avatar: The Last Airbender. Nickelodeon. November 30, 2007. No. 10, Book Three: Fire