Ships Rigs

I got some feedback that my recent posts on square riggers have been appreciated. 🙂 I think some people would like to learn more about the different types of sailing ships, so I’ll go ahead and try to explain at least a few of the more common types around. I’ll start out with the ‘ship’ rig and if you like it I’ll continue on with some of the others. 🙂

There aren’t many of ANY type of sailing ships any more. It’s hard for them to compete when everyone wants immediate gratification now a days. There are still a few around, they’re mostly being used for educational purposes (which they are fantastic for), or for cruise vacations. I do know of a couple that are trying to make a go of sail cargo operations again, but they’re in a tough spot and trying to find a niche market. Here’s a link to a post I wrote a while ago, and here’s another link to a more recent list by Sailing Dog.

The main way to categorize sailing vessels is whether they’re rigged fore-and-aft (the sail is rigged along the centerline of the vessel) or square rigged (the sail is rigged to lie across the centerline of the vessel). A sailing “ship” is one with at least 3 masts, and all masts are rigged with square sails. They will probably also have fore-and-aft sails set between the masts and on the bow.

A full rigged ship is a beautiful sight to see. They were the largest and some of the fastest ships around during the age of sail. Check out this video for a little history of some of the ships of the Flying P Line. The Peking is still afloat and is lying at the South Street Seaport in New York City. I spent a few hours exploring there a while back. Too bad she’s no longer sailing. 😦

The Sorlandet is an example of one of these ships that is still sailing about. She’s used as a sail training vessel and it’s possible to get aboard if you want to spend the time (and money) to learn. 🙂

The Royal Clipper is one of a few newbuilt vessels. She was built in modern times as a cruise vessel for Star Clippers. You can sign on and take a cruise any time you want. I’m planning to do it myself soon.

So, that should give you a pretty good idea of what a sailing “ship” is. If you like this kind of thing, please check out the links and some of the other websites they lead to. Let me know what you think. 🙂

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