A patache (occasionally "patax" or "pataje") is a type of sailing vessel with two masts, very light and shallow, a sort of cross between a brig and a schooner, which originally was a warship, being intended for surveillance and inspection of the coasts and ports. It was used as a tender to the fleet of vessels of more importance or size, and also for trans-Pacific travel, but later began to be used for trading voyages, carrying cargo burdens of 30 tons or more.
Pataches were used by the Spanish Navy (Armada Española) in the 15th–18th centuries mainly for the protection and monitoring of the overseas territories of the Spanish Empire. Because of their lightness and speed of movement privateers favored them in attacking commercial vessels. Fleets of pataches participated in several historical battles: