A caravel (Portuguese: caravela) is a type of small sailing ship. It is easy to maneuver. It was developed in the 15th century by the Portuguese. The Portuguese used caravels to explore the West African coast and the Atlantic Ocean. Lateen sails made the caravels fast and able to sail against the wind. Caravels were used by the Portuguese to explore oceans during the 15th and 16th centuries in the Age of Discovery.