boats schooners

The traditional schooner is a rather sleek craft to begin with whose lines sweep back from a figurehead (on some older antiques) and bowsprit to the waterline, moving along the water line and then sweeping up to the stern and rudder.

Schooners usually have anywhere from a 20-foot to a 40- or 50-foot beam, depending on the original design and some were larger as they were actually seagoing cargo ships.

Quite typically, you will find the basic schooner has at least two masts with the mainmast set further toward the bow and somewhat ahead of midships. The front mast is usually stepped in the first third of the ship.

Schooners typically carried gaff-rigged sails each sail was actually a polyhedral shape with a long back line, with a short spar the gaff-rigging angling toward the mast, the mast itself and the longish boom and footing. The foresail and mainsail booms actually overlapped. One thing to note is that gaff-rigged ships and their four-sided sails actually carry more sail area than a sloop of similar size. It can carry this off because their sails are really four-sided, rather than three-sided as a sloop's sails are configured. To carry the same amount of canvas, a sloop would need at least two very large, very triangular sales and would have to fly a large jib.

Schooners quite typically also carry at least one jib ahead of the foresail, however, that's usually in limited cases. More often than not, schooner-rigged ships carried multiple jibs to catch the wind and drive through to a destination.

As noted, gaff-rigged schooners are today used primarily as private sailing ships or vacation destination ships. There are some interesting island cruises in the Caribbean and you can also find some interesting schooner vacations Down East in Maine.