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What Are The Different Sailing Ship Types


The different types of sailing ships have been used for various purposes throughout history. Some of them were used for war while others were used for trade. Nowadays, many people like to go on a cruise and enjoy the beautiful scenery and the peace and quiet. 

But, many people also like to buy a sailboat and live aboard it. There are many benefits of living aboard a boat such as the freedom to go wherever you want, the ability to travel with very little money and the ability to live life at a very slow pace.

In this article, we are going to discuss the different types of sailing ships and their uses.

The Fully-Rigged Ship

The Fully-Rigged-Ship

A fully-rigged ship is one that has all of its rigging (lines that support the sails) complete with blocks, tackles, sheets and all other accessories needed to make the vessel go where it’s supposed to go.

These types of vessels were originally used to carry cargo around the world. Nowadays, they are used for pleasure cruises or as floating vacation homes. You can see a fully-rigged ship in full sail on any ocean. It looks very impressive and it gives the impression that the vessel is going to be very hard to control. In reality, the captain of the ship has total control over the movement of the vessel.

The Schooner


A schooner is a type of boat with two or more masts, usually rigged with square sails. The sails are set so they fill with the wind on the forward (or bow) side of the boat. This creates a pressure that pushes the boat forward. On a sailing ship, this is called “driving” the boat.

On a schooner, the main mast is stepped well forward on the deck of the boat. This allows the entire length of the yardarm to be raised up high into the air. When the yardarm is raised, it provides a large surface area for the wind to act on. 

Because the yardarm is so high off the deck, it creates a huge amount of lift. This means that even a light breeze will cause the boat to really get going. A schooner is not only faster than a monohull (one-hulled boat), it is also much more responsive to changes in the wind.

The Clipper


A sailing ship is any vessel that derives its propulsion from the wind. This includes everything from tiny dinghies to massive aircraft carriers. The clipper ship was the fastest type of sailing vessel ever built. It had two masts and a triangular sail, which was attached to a wooden frame. The frame was covered with a thin layer of copper and it helped reflect the sun’s rays. This allowed the vessel to sail much faster than other types of sailing ships.

A clipper ship could cruise at speeds up to 20 knots, which is about 30 miles per hour. That’s more than twice as fast as an average sailing ship. A typical sailing ship could only travel at around 10 knots.

The Carrack


The carrack was one of the largest sailing ships ever built and it had a very low freeboard, which means it had a very shallow draft. It was the ship of choice for traders who wanted to go where the traffic was heaviest. Because of its size, the carrack could carry a huge amount of cargo. 

It had two masts and three tiers of sails. The mainmast was square-rigged on the fore and main deck, and it was stepped (like a theater stage) on the poop deck. The foremast was stepped on the forecastle. The mizzen mast was stepped on the mizzen mast deck.

A typical three-masted carrack measured about 250 feet long and had a beam or width of 40 feet. The keel was 15 inches wide and it weighed about 10 tons. It was built with oak, pine, and fir. On the main deck were the living quarters, the trading rooms, and the cargo holds. On the upper decks were the fighting tops, the cannon ports, and the helmsman’s station.

The Barquentine

The Barquentine

A barquentine is a type of sailing ship with two masts and three or sometimes four rows of oars. It was developed in the 18th century to carry goods and passengers between Europe and America. The name “barquentine” comes from the Spanish word “barca” meaning “boat” and the French word “entine” meaning “ship”.

These types of sailing ships were used for carrying bulk cargo like grains, coal, and salt. They were also used for transporting people. Because they were so slow, they were often used as slave ships. The slaves were chained together in the hold and given only enough food to survive. Many of them died as a result of this treatment.

The Hulk

The hulk sailing ship

A hulk sailing ship is a large, square-rigged sailing vessel that has been deliberately beached and left to rot. They were designed to be beached and abandoned because they are so large and top-heavy that they are extremely difficult to maneuver. In fact, some of them had only two masts instead of the usual four. The term “hulk” comes from the Middle English word “holm” which means a piece of land.

These ships were used for transporting goods and people around the world until the late 1800’s. They were very common in the Mediterranean Sea and in the Pacific Ocean. Nowadays, they are only found in a few places, such as the Black Sea, the Baltic Sea, and the San Francisco Bay area. They are also called “barracuda boats” because of the way they attack and devour smaller boats.

The Brig Sailing Ship

The Brig Sailing Ship

A brig is a sailing ship with two masts and two square sails (one on each side of the hull) and a lateen-sail on the stern. A brig was originally a merchantman, a ship built for commercial purposes. As such, it had to comply with the rules set forth by maritime law. Those rules stipulated that a merchantman had to have at least 12 square feet of sail area for every ton of its weight.

A brig has an enormous amount of sail area compared to its size, so it is able to make very good progress even under adverse conditions. It can be used as a training vessel for new sailors or as a pleasure craft for the owner. It is ideal for offshore cruising because of its seaworthiness and ability to carry a large amount of cargo.

The Brigantine

The Brigantine

A brigantine is a type of sailing ship with two masts. The main mast is tall and slender, rising clear out of the hull. It is stepped, which means that it has a step at the top (the cap) where the sailmaker attaches the sail. The step is designed so the sail will hang evenly from the top of the mast. 

The smaller, secondary or “boom” mast is stubby and thick, and it is stepped at both the top and bottom. The purpose of the boom is to carry the weight of the yardarms and yards that hold the sails. Yardarms are attached to the yardarms by shackles. The lower part of each yardarm is called the “slip”, and it fits into a hole in the deck of the ship.

The name “brigantine” comes from the fact that the two masts resemble the masts of a brig. The main mast is like the mast of a brigantine; it has a slimmer, taller shape than the stubby, thick secondary mast.

The Bark (Barque)

The Bark (Barque)

A bark ship is a type of boat that was used by the Native Americans of the Pacific Northwest Coast. The bark ship was constructed from a single tree trunk. It was hollowed out with a stone tool and then covered with a tarpaulin-like canvas. Once complete, the vessel was then caulked with cedar shavings and resin.

The bark ship was paddled by the occupants using long sticks. The sticks were inserted into holes carved out for them in the side of the boat. These boats were used for fishing and hunting and were an important part of the Native American way of life. Today, bark ships are used for recreational purposes like canoeing and kayaking. Canoeists and kayakers sometimes use them for racing.

The Xebec


The xebec is a flat-bottomed boat with two square masts and lateen sails. It was originally used for fishing in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden but was later adapted for use as a merchant vessel and as a warship.

The xebec was used by the ancient Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, Phoenicians, Hebrews, and many other cultures. The ancient Egyptians built them as long as 4 meters (13 ft) and as wide as 1.8 meters (6 ft). They could carry up to 200 tons and were very common in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden regions. The ancient Greeks called them “dolichoi” which means “long boats”.

The Fluyt

The Fluyt sailing ship

A fluyt is a type of Dutch boat. It is characterized by two masts and a triangular or rounded stern. The word “fluyt” comes from the word “fly” which means “to sail fast”. A fluyt was the fastest type of sailing ship until the arrival of the clipper ships in the mid 19th century. These were larger and had three masts and carried the name “clippers”.

The word “fleyt” is still used today to describe a fast sailing ship. However, a fluyt is much different than a clipper ship. A fluyt is a much smaller, more agile boat that is ideal for exploring coastal waters and rivers. 

It is perfect for those who want to explore the rivers and coasts of the world. You can use it as your home base to explore many different areas. It can be used as a tender or as a live-aboard boat. It can be used as a fishing boat or just for pleasure.

The Cutter

The Cutter sailing ship

A cutter is a type of sailing ship that has both a mainsail and a jib sail. The main purpose of the main sail is to catch the wind and exert a force on the ship so it moves forward. The jib sail is attached to the mast just above the main sail and it is used to help direct the movement of the ship. The two sails are usually connected by a gaff (a small wooden pole). A gaff helps keep the sails from becoming tangled.

A cutter is different from a schooner in that a cutter has a shorter mast and no yardarm. A schooner has a longer mast and no yardarm. This means that the schooner needs more wind to achieve the same amount of forward movement as the cutter. Therefore, a cutter is better suited to coastal sailing and inland lakes, rivers and canals.

A cutter has three masts, one at the front, one in the middle and one at the rear. The masts are usually stepped (or tapered), which means the top part is much thicker than the bottom.

The cutter is a classic type of sailing ship that was developed in the Mediterranean Sea region of the world. The cutter is one of the easiest types of sailing ships to rig for modern day cruising.

The Yawl

The Yawl sailing

The Yawl is a small sailing vessel with two masts and a lateen-rigged sail plan. It is a traditional boat of the Mediterranean and Black Sea coasts of Europe and Asia Minor. The Yawl is a fast sailer with a moderate displacement hull. The lateen sail plan makes it a great seagoing boat with a moderate weather helm.

The Yawl is a very seaworthy boat. It is used for fishing and for leisurely coastal cruising. It has a shallow draft and is easy to beach or dock. The Yawl is a popular boat for children to learn to sail on because of its easy handling and stability.

The Ketch

The Ketch sailing ship

Ketch is the name of a particular type of sailing vessel that was common in the 17th and 18th centuries. The ketch has two masts, with the main mast being taller than the foremast. This arrangement of masts gives the ketch its ability to sail closer to the wind without losing way.

A ketch is usually between 30 and 50 feet long. In earlier days, these vessels were used for both fishing and trade. Nowadays, they are used mostly as private pleasure boats. They are fast, seaworthy, and very comfortable. You can take one out for a day’s sailing and come back without needing a dock or mooring. Ketches are used around the world for both pleasure and commercial purposes.

The Windjammer

The Windjammer sailing ship

A windjammer is a large, lateen-rigged sailing ship which was the principal means of commerce for millions of people in the 19th century. The word “junk” comes from the Dutch word “windjammers” meaning “wind-powered boat”.

Windjammers were used all over the world and traded goods with almost every culture on earth. In fact, the British used windjammers to keep the Chinese in check during the Opium Wars. The Chinese used windjammers to keep the British in check during the Boxer Rebellion.  

The French used them against the Germans during World War I. These ships were very common in the 19th century and still exist today. Some of them have been converted to house floating casinos and are now known as “floating hotels”.


How do we use the sailboat today?

We use the boat to explore the canals and rivers of the Netherlands and Belgium, as well as the North Sea. We cruise the canals at a leisurely pace, taking our time to enjoy the beautiful scenery, nature, and the historic architecture.

During the day, we stop at various places of interest such as villages, locks, museums, restaurants and cafes. We anchor in many bays along the way and take the dinghy ashore to stretch our legs or go shopping. We also explore the towns and cities on both sides of the waterways. 

What material is used in sailboats?

Sails are made of very light, strong synthetic material like Dacron or Sunbrella. Hulls are generally made of fiberglass. Some boats are made of wood and some are not. The choice of materials depends on a variety of factors.

What are the benefits of sailing?

The benefits of sailing are far reaching. Here are a few: It is a clean sport. It uses no fossil fuels. Sailors are always looking at the wind. This means they are always on the alert for changing conditions.

When the wind dies, they adjust their sails or power their boats with a small, silent engine that uses virtually no fuel. When the wind picks up, they quickly adjust their sails or power their boats with the silent engine. And so on. There’s very little pollution from a sailboat.


There are many different kinds of sailing ships. Each kind of ship has a different purpose. You should know about all the types of sailing ships so you will be able to choose the right one for your needs.

Sailing ships have been used for centuries by many different kinds of people such as explorers, pirates, merchants and many others. Nowadays, there are many different uses for sailing ships. Some of them are luxury yachts, racing boats, cruise liners, cargo ships, military transport ships, research vessels and many others.

The type of sailing ship you need will depend on what you want to use it for.

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