boats sailerglossary


A relatively straight-sided sailboat that mounts two masts, if it is less than 50 feet you can have a ketch rigging that is longer. The foremast or first mast is quite near the bow, about half way between the bow and midships. The second mast, called the mizzen, is shorter than the foremast, also called the mainmast, and is located between midships and the rudder. Most often, the mizzen is a triangular mast and the mainsail is usually also triangular footed by shortened boom. A third triangular sail, attached to the mainsail and held in place by rope footing, known as the jib, can be mounted for extra speed.


A schooner is any sailing ship, equipped with at least two masts, where the foremast and rear mast are the same size. Schooners are built the skim across the water and were usually equipped with several jibs and most were gaffe rigged (sails as the old British navy would call topgallants). They were above the foresail or aftsail. There were also several free mizzens mounted aft of the aft sail.


Multiple-masted ships, barques tended to have three sails with the two foresails the same size and a third sail that was smaller. Smaller than other ships, they were usually equipped with square sails in three sets plus rear-mounted and side-mounted square sails. She was a weatherly craft and was a workhorse when sail was still king. While not in great favor, they are nevertheless still plying the waters of the world.


Typically a larger ship, a barkentine is equipped with three or more masts. The two foremasts are the same size while aft masts are somewhat shorter. Barkentines were square-rigged, typically carrying three or more jibs that ran from the foremast to the prow and a square mizzen or mizzens.


Typically, a single-masted ship that carried its mainmast further toward the stern of the craft, the cutter also usually mounts a jib or jibs and can run before the wind. Often mistaken for a sloop, the cutter may fly multiple headsails, as well as a bowsprit or a jib.