The 15 Different Types Of Sailing Ships

Paul Stockdale Author Avatar

The 15 types of sailing ships are listed below.

  • The Schooner
  • The Carrack
  • The Brigantine
  • The Barquentine
  • The Clipper
  • The Windjammer
  • The Fully Rigged Ship

Throughout centuries, there have been many different types of sailing ships seen from harbors and coastlines around the world.

This article will show the various types of sailing vessels that have made their mark in maritime history and we showcase their purposes and why they are still remarkable feats of marine engineering.

The different sizes, shapes, and masts of the ships required different numbers of sailors to handle them and each type of ship was crafted with a different purpose in mind.

All ships are unique with no two types of ships being the same with each coming with its own experiences, features and requirements.

1. The Schooner

The Schooner

The Schooner sailing vessel, with an average size of 46m (152 feet) in length, was developed in the early 17th century and first used by the Dutch.

The ship came with fore and aft sails and they were created to operate in the toughest of wind and ocean conditions.

The Schooner was a multi-purpose sailing vessel used for transporting slaves to transporting cargo and it was used for fishing and racing too.

There are 5 different schooner types that are characterized by their rig configurations listed below.

  • Tern schooner : This was a 3-masted schooner most popular between 1880 and 1920 capable of carrying up to 400 tons in cargo and it required a crew of 6-8 people
  • 4-6 masts schooner : These schooners spread the sail area over smaller sails
  • Grand Bank Fishing schooner : Similar to the famous Bluenose, it carries the main gaff topsail and a fisherman's staysail set between the masts.
  • Square Topsail schooner : This was a combination of fore and aft sails and small square sails, most popularly used for coastal cargo transportation in the 1800s
  • Coastal schooner : This was a coastal schooner sailing ship used for carrying goods and general cargo to nearby islands along the coast ( 1 )

The 19th Century schooner came with two or three masts, the one at the fore being shorter than the others.

Modern schooners, with Bermuda rigged sails, remain powerful, economical coastal liners traversing the Pacific.

Famous schooner sailing ships are listed below.

  • America : The Schooner named " America " was designed for racing and it became the first winner of the America's Cup international sailing trophy ( 2 )
  • Thomas W Lawson : The schooner “ Thomas W Lawson ” had a unique seven masts, with interchangeable sails and gear
  • Wawona : The schooner " Wawona " was one of the largest lumber carriers and fishing vessels between 1897 and 1947

2. The Carrack

The carrack sailing ship

The Carrack, developed in the 14th and 15th centuries with the first built in Portugal, is a nautically-rigged wooden ship with three or four masts each having square sails or triangular sails and it was heavily used between the 14th to 15th Centuries and remained popular until the 18th Century. It is the sailing ship Christopher Columbus used to sail the world.

It was the largest ship in Europe with the Spanish Carrack being more than 1,000 tons in weight and 150 feet (45 meters) in length. More modern versions of the Carrack were developed by the Portuguese and they could hold up to 2,000 tons. ( 3 ).

The Carrack had 4 decks with the lower 2 used for cargo, the 3rd was for accommodation and the 4th was for cargo owned by the crew ( 4 ) and this bulky ship was the standard trading ship along the Baltic, Mediterranean, Asian, and Atlantic coasts in the mid-16th century useful for carrying cargo across seas.

The Carrack had a strange shape which made it cumbersome to sail close to the wind and after a lot of engineering experiments, parts of the ship were stripped off giving the ship a high stern and a low bow.

The modern Carrack features a square-rigged mainmast, foremast, and a latten-rigged Mizzen mast, along with a rounded stern, sizable bowsprit, forecastle, and aft castle.

This is a large ship, built to carry heavy freight for long-distance hauls since it was very steady even in the worst weather with the British Army calling it the “Great Ship” because of its highly-functional ship design.

Famous carrack shipping vessels are listed below.

  • Santa Maria : This was the famous ship that Christopher Columbus used to sail and discover America in 1492
  • Victoria : The first ship to circumnavigate the globe
  • Grace Dieu : This was commissioned by King Henry V and it was one of the largest carrack ships in the world in 1418
  • Cinco Chagas : This was presumed to be the richest ship at that time. it was sunk in battle in 1594 ( 5 )

3. The Brigantine

The Brigantine

A Brigantine is a two-masted sailing ship with the main mast both a fore-and-aft main sail, a triangular type of sail and a square main topsail that came in various sizes ranging from 30 tons to 150 tons and it could carry a crew of up to 125 people but the shipping vessel could still be handled by a smaller crew if needed.

These ships were similar to the sailing vessel called the Brig as they both had top-gallant sails and were used by the Royal Navy to scout and monitor enemies on the high seas while also being popular amongst pirates as they were faster and easily maneuverable sailing vessels.

It is unclear when the ship was originally built with loose definitions date the ship back to the 13th century when it was originally referred to as the "sail and oar-driven war vessel" ( 6 ) and early academic definitions where the vessel was referred to as the "Brigantine" was first seen in books in the early to mid-16th century ( 7 ).

They would sail across the trade routes of the Baltics and Northern Europe, all the way from Germany to Scandinavia.

The mid-size ships had two sails on the-mainmast with a stripped-down fully-squared rig.

4. The Barquentine

The Barquentine

The Barquentine, first built in the 17th century and also referred to as a " schooner barque ", " barkentine " or " schooner bark ", is a sailing ship similar to a barque but with only the foremast square-rigged and the remaining masts rigged fore and aft ( 9 ). They weighed 250 to 500 tons.

The Barquentine has three or more masts and square sails on the fore and aft masts with the main mast had topmast and gaff sails and these had been stripped down to facilitate operation by a slimmer crew and basic rig.

The Barquentine sailed the waters of Northern Europe which were dominated by variable wind speeds and they were popularly used to carry lumber from Scandinavia and Germany to England and the Baltic Areas.

5. The Xebec

The xebec

The Xebec, also known as " Zebec ", a name derived from the Arabic word for "Small Ship", was a sailing ship built in the 16th to mid-19th century that was used mainly for moving cargo.

The Xebec sailing vessel held between 90 and 400 crew and was 103ft 9 inches in length with a tonnage of between 200 - 300 tons ( 10 ) and they were very agile and popular with European navies.

The features of the Xebec are listed below.

  • Long-prow bulkheads
  • Narrow elongated hulls
  • Huge lateen yards
  • One aft-set mizzen mast
  • 3 lateen-pillared masts, both raked forward and having a single triangular sail

Their shallow draft and lateen rig allowed for a closer pinch to the wind allowing them to flee quickly or turn around and fire a broadside volley quickly.

After a lot of engineering experiments, the Xebec gave rise to the Polacre-Xebec, which replaced the mizzen mast. The mainmast of the new derivative also had a square rig and these new vessels were light and could not carry a heavy load with the shallow draft and low free-board making them unsuitable for open-seas sailing.

6. The Barque

The barque ship

The barque, also referred to as " barc " or " bark ", is a sailing ship first introduced in the 15th century ( 11 ) with 3 or more masts with square sails on all masts, except the aft or mizzen mast. It could carry approximately 500 tons and could hold a crew of 100 people.

Although they are quite similar, the barque should not be confused with the Schooner Bark which is a different vessel.

The Barque ship was commonly used by traders to carry extremely high volumes of cargo from Australia to Europe with cargo mainly consisting of Nitrates and Guano destined for the Western South American coast and they were popular in the period prior to the start of World War II.

7. The Clipper

the clipper ship

A clipper was a sailing vessel introduced in the mid-19th century that was mainly used as a merchant ship for transporting goods and it was designed for speed.

Clipper ships ranged in size from a few hundred tons to over 4000 tons ( 12 ) and they all had a narrow build, a protruding stern, 3 to 5 masts for speed, and a square rig.

They were most commonly used by British and American traders to ship goods from China to their countries and they were also used to ferry Gold and Tea back to Great Britain and the Americas.

Famous clipper ships are listed below.

  • Cisne Branco : This is a steel-hulled built like the original clipper. It is used as a training vessel by the Brazilian navy to this day
  • Race Horse : This clipper ship set the record of getting from New York to San Francisco in 109 days in 1850 which was a record at that time
  • Marco Polo : This clipper vessel was the first boat of the time to make around trip between England & Australia in under 6 months in 1852

8. The Windjammer

the windjammer

The Windjammer is a commercial sailing ship built in the 19th century with a capacity between 2,000 to 8,000 tons and the speed ranged from 14 to 21 knots ( 13 ).

It came with three to five square-rigged masts and it had a cost-effective extended hull that allowed for larger storage space.

It was a general-class merchant ship and was mainly used to transport bulky cargo and it ferried lumber, coal, and many other goods from one continent to another before evolving from carrying cargo to carrying passengers on cruises in later generations.

9. The Fluyt

The Fluyt sailing ship

The Fluyt, also known as " fleut " or " fluit " is a sailing ship that originated in the 16th century in the Dutch Republic with a weight between 200 and 300 tons, approximately 80 feet (24 meters) in length, and a crew capacity of 12 - 15 people ( 14 ).

The Fluyt has three squared-rigged masts and was primarily used as a merchant ship to transport cargo.

It was lightly fortified, had a small stern and extended box-style structure, and was crafted using specialized tools to reduce the costs of production and make them affordable to merchants.

10. The Fully-Rigged Ship

The Fully-Rigged Ship

A fully rigged ship, also referred to as a "full-rigged ship", is a sailing ship with three or more masts, with all of the masts being square-rigged and the rig, hull, mast, and yards made of iron, wood, or steel.

A full-rigged ship weighed an average 325 tons and could carry a crew of up to 36 people and these ships required a larger crew because of their fully rigged construction ( 15 ).

During the 18th century, a full-rigged ship was also referred to as a " frigate " and they were mainly used for patrolling and for attacking.

A full-rigged ship weighed an average 325 tons and could carry a crew of up to 36 people ( 16 ).

However, towards the end of the 19th century, these ships were stripped down so they could be handled by a smaller crew which helped in easier handling of the sails during the monsoon period when winds would change speed and direction without any warning.

This helped in easier handling of the sails during the monsoon period when winds would change speed and direction without any warning.

A fully rigged ship masts from stern to bow consists of: ( 17 )

  • Mainmast : This is the tallest mast on the ship
  • Foremast : This is the second tallest mast on the ship
  • Mizzenmast : This is the third tallest mast on the sailing vessel
  • Jiggermast : If there is a 4th mast, it will be the jiggermast and will be the smallest mast on the ship

11. The Cutter

The Cutter

The cutter is a smaller sailing ship built in the early 18th century with a single mast rigged fore and aft and it varied in size from 20ft to 34 ft in length on average with a crew capacity of between 21 to 66 people ( 19 ).

A cutter sailing vessel features: ( 18 )

  • Narrow hull
  • 2 or more headsails
  • Decked sailcraft
  • Raking transom
  • Vertical stem
  • A gaff-rigged long bowsprit

This sailing ship was used for patrolling territorial waters and other enforcement activities during the 18th century and it was used to ferry soldiers and government officials because it was very fast and could outrun any enemy.

Modern-day cutters have a rugged appearance, are small and aptly fit into their intended purpose – speed and agility and the British Sailing Club still has open-oared cutters in their fleet of sailing ships.

12. The Yawl

The Yawl

A Yawl is a sailing ship that was originally that was originally a dutch ship nicknamed " Dandy " or " Jol " in Dutch built in the 19th century with a speed range from 10-14 knots, an average crew size of 25 people and a ship size ranging from 30ft to 75ft in length with beam sizes ranging from 10ft to 12ft.

They bore two fully-equipped masts and a fore-and-aft sail, a smaller jigger-mast and a mizzen mast that leans towards the rudder post of the ship with the mizzen sail in this case purposely designed to aid in balancing and trimming the ship on rough waters.

One famous yawl sailing ship is the Islander which was a 34ft yawl that Harry Pidgeon sailed around the world on. He was the second person in 1918 to sail around the world at that time.

13. The Brig

The Brig

The brig is a two-masted sailing ship that was originally built in the 18th century with square rigging on both masts and sometimes had a spanker on the aft mast.

The length of a brig varied from 75ft to 165ft with tonnages up to 480 ith tonnages up to 480 and it needed a crew of 22 people ( 20 ).

The brig was used as a war vessel and a cargo ship for transporting goods and they were later used to ferry large cargo on the open seas since they could easily follow the direction of the prevailing winds.

It came with a berthing deck that had sleeping quarters for cabin crew and marine officials, storage areas, a sail bin, a wood-paneled stove room, guns, and carronades.

They would be brought into the harbor without using tugs and could maneuver well in small areas.

Famous brig ships are listed below.

  • USS Argus : This was a United States Navy brig that fought in the First Barbary War, taking part in the blockage of Tripoli and the war of 1812
  • USS Reprisal : This was the first ship of the United States Navy
  • USS Somers : This was a brig in the United States Navy that became infamous for being the only US Navy ship to undergo a mutiny

14. The Ketch

The Ketch

A ketch is a two-masted sailboat that originated in the 17th century with most ketch ships ranging from 40ft to over 120ft in size and weighing between 100 and 250 tons. A ketch ship needed a smaller crew of only 4 people to operate ( 21 ).

The ketch looked just like the Yawl and as stated had two masts each having a fore-and-aft rig with the difference between the two being that the ketch had a mizzen mast placed on the taller mainmast but at a position in front of the rudder post. The mizzen in this case aided in maneuvering the vessel.

A ketch ship was used for:

  • Cargo Transportation

15. The Hulk

The Hulk

A hulk is an 18th-century ship that is a derivative of the Carrack with a weight of 400 tons that is afloat but incapable of going to sea. In maritime terms, the name "Hulk" was given to ships that were outdated, stripped down or unprofitable to run.

The bulk of the hulk fleet was comprised of abandoned ships, stripped down and therefore could not continue to ply across the Mediterranean Sea as cargo or transport ships.

They are stationary and kept for their buoyancy and were used as a prison, a place for gambling.

  • Maritime Museum Of The Atlantic. " Sailing Ship Rigs ".
  • The New York Times. " America's Cup Held Here Since 1851 ", PDF.
  • World History Encyclopedia. " Carrack Definition ," Paragraph 3.
  • Same As Reference 3
  • Military History. " Carracks, Famous Carracks ," Paragraph 9.
  • " Aken, tjalken en kraken " by Hans Haalmeijer & Dirk Adrianus Vuik, Page 12.
  • Google Books Ngram Viewer. " Brigantine ".
  • Gaspee Info. " Brigentines Described ," Paragraph 3.
  • Wikipedia. " Barquentine ," Paragraph 1.
  • " Ship: 5000 Years Of Maritime Adventure " by Brian Lavery, Page 137.
  • Oxford English Dictionary (Online Edition). " Barque ".
  • University of Houston. " No. 338 Clipper Ship ". Paragraph 2
  • Marine Insights. " Windjammer Sailing Ships: From Past to Present ". Paragraph 8
  • History Today. " Dutch Shipbuilding in the Golden Age ". Volume 34, No. 1
  • " The Story Of The Sea, Volume 1 " by Arthur Quiller-Couch, Page 20.
  • Whaling Museum. " Rigs Of Vessel, Ship ," Paragraph 1.
  • " A Dictionary of Sea Terms " by Anstead, A, Page 96.
  • Britannia. " Cutter, Sailing Craft ". Paragraph 1.
  • " The Boats Of Men Of War " by William May & Simon Stephens
  • Texas Navy Association. " Glossary Of Nautical Terms ". Page 1
  • National Museum Of American History. " Ship Model, Ketch ". Paragraph 1

1800s sailboat

The Great Clippers (1820-1870)


Cutty Sark

For once, we left the guns to rest, and turn the bar back in time, with one of the most glorious page of sail: A long tradition that still is revered around the world, maintained by naval schools and living museums: The magnificent Tall ships and the invention of trading race: The great clippers are unleashed !

This was before steam definitively ruled the seas, when it was still dirty, noisy and unreliable, sometimes bordering to dangerous. The oceanic nobility of the time were wooden cathedrals of sail, champions of rival trade companies that made the headlines, turned the heads and drew unapologetic cheers. The prize ? The freshest tea from India up to London’s docks…

Captains, ship-owner and architects raised as the superstars of their day, empires betting their fortune on the finest pure-breeds, with names carried with pride as an invitation to compete, fine lines, fiery temper, daring prows ready to cut the seas and break records. But clippers were also a way to revolutionize naval architecture, by searching for -empirically- the best hull shape and water lines.

They influenced naval construction to this day, also allowing frigates to be faster and mixed vessels to reach good speeds while under sail, often a viable alternative to mediocre or dangerous early steam powerplants. From 1869 and the opening of the Suez canal, clippers demand fell whereas the first composite vessels appeared, soon to be replaced by 1880s iron-hulled ships.

American clipper

And when this ended, it went on with human cargo, immigrants to the US and South America or Australia. Here, from 1820 to 1870 follows the harrowing legends of half-century sailing at its very best, with the British, American and Australian clippers that made history. Follow us in that adventure !

History of clippers

The term itself was controversial. “Clipper” could either be likened to “to clip”, cut, cross quickly, or get close to an marine slang term for the “pinnacle” of its field, a thoroughbred of the seas as it was also associated with race horses. It was influenced by Dryden, the English poet that first used it to describe the swift flight of a falcon in the 17th century.

Origins (1770)

Still, Clippers had common characteristics, including a generous sailing area, elongated hull with fine shapes at both ends. In short, and at the very moment when the steamers might dethrone them, the Clippers represented an effective alternative, albeit subject to the vagaries of the weather, but much more efficient, increasing delivery speed as more important as the payload capacity.

The sailing clippers were therefore justified for carrying goods with high added value, and the buyers were ready to pay premiums and colossal fees to the first stocks arrived. Hence the highly competitive nature of these “trading regattas”. The British and the Americans held the highest position during those years from 1820 to 1860. The other Europeans followed, and the big four-master or five-master square or schooners iron ships succeeded them until the 1930s.

Alan Villiers describe the opinion of most sailors as being “sharp-lined, built for speed (…) tall-sparred and carrying the utmost spread of canvas”. Added to very fine lines that went against carrying capacity, the ships had skysails and moonrakers on the masts plus studding sails on booms and extra manpower. The true first clippers has been the topsail schooners developed in the Chesapeake Bay right before the American Revolution, which took a prominent part in the war of 1812. Their early inspirations has been French luggers operating in the Caribbean. After this war, American clippers started to link with China and India, bearing some resemblance to the small and sharp-bowed British “opium clippers” in the 1830s. “Baltimore clippers” continued to be built, this time for American companies willing to engage in the China opium trade until 1849 when it was no longer profitable.

The early clippers (1830)

The first post-Baltimore ship, also considered as the first proper “clipper” was an enlarge model called Ann McKim , built in 1833 at Kennard & Williamson shipyard, displacing 494 tons OM, with a sharply raked stem, counter stern and square rig. She is frequently assimilated as the “first clipper” but appeared at a time ships were still bulky and was its own breed, but her influence can’t be denied.

Ann McKim

Not to be undone, old Europe made a clipper, through Scottish yard Alexander Hall and Sons, innovating with a new kind of prow, soon to be called “Aberdeen clipper bow”. This first “Aberdeen clipper” was the Scottish Maid (1839). She displaced 150 tons OM only, but built to compete against steamers on the lucrative Aberdeen-London trade. Since the distance was short she did not need to be taller. Her hull was the work of passionate designers, the Hall brothers, which tested multiple hulls shape in a water tank. 1836 tonnage regulations were also taken in account. In effect, Extra length above this level was tax-free, which motivated greatly the construction of more Clippers. These first European clippers were indeed those trading between the British Isles.

The 1840s saw the gradual appearance of much larger clippers, tailored to carry from the far east tea, opium, spices and other precious goods. Larger, they were to went through notoriously difficult cape of good hope without too much harm and then race through the Indian ocean. In the USA the first of these was the Akbar (1839), 650 tons OM, followed by the Houqua (1844), 581 tons OM, for tea. Opium clippers were generally smaller, such as the Ariel (1842) 100 tons OM.

Extreme clippers (1845)

The New Yorker 1845 Rainbow , 757 tons OM is now seen widely as the first “extreme clipper”: Large hull with very fine lines, lost of sail area. The Rainbow was really sacrificing cargo capacity for speed. More on the detail below.


Extreme Clippers would flourish between 1845 and 1855, before changes of regulations and more reliable steamers among others made them less profitable. Already there were concerned in 1850 these ships were too uncompromising and costly, therefore Medford, in Massachusetts, launched what is often compared as the first “medium clipper”, the Antelope of Boston (1851). It was a compromise, combining large stowage capacity with yet still good sailing qualities. They certainly made more profit on payload on less expensive goods which freshness was not an issue. This new breed ultimately replaced extreme clippers. Companies still kept some more for the prestige and as a flagship than to make profit as per se. By 1856, none was built anymore. Their shine lasted for just ten years but they will certainly raised the clipper as a genre, as far as possible by using sailing power. No ship that fast and with that tonnage was ever built afterwards.

The golden age of clippers (1850-60)

1800s sailboat

From 1859 a brand new British clipper appeared, in total contrast with the American ships. From 1859 were still extreme clippers, with a sleek, graceful appearance and lower sheer and freeboard, as bulwarks and narrower. They were the supreme athletes of the seas, and nothing was too fine to win the ultimate race of the time: On the China tea trade route. The first of these was aptly named the Falcon , that year of 1859. The last of these great China clippers (a name taken back for a famous seaboat of the 1930s) appeared in 1870 ad a year prior, the Suez canal was open. Only 25 to 30 of these clippers were launched at a rate of around four each year worldwide. The 1860s vessels, first generations, were of course all wooden but iron construction slowly but surely was making its way, heavier, but making the ships much stronger. In fact as the world’s leading industrial power, UK already built a flew ships in iron prior to 1859. Like frigates they were called “composites”. By 1863 the first composite tea clipper had iron spars inside its wooden hull plus copper sheathing for anti-fouling.

One of the last of these late 1860s Tea/Opium composite clippers was the Dumbarton-built Cutty Sark. The fall of this activity was gradual. First, the Emperor of China forbid importation of European goods and imposed payment in silver for tea. This was circumvented by the East India Company which produced and introduced Opium on the Chinese Market, with tremendous effect in the population, hence the Imperial ban and subsequent two opium wars. Apart Opium and tea, gradually passenger transport was thought just as profitable as wealthier gents opted for adventure and exoticism by embarking at any price on these majestic tall ships.

Flying cloud

One such vessel converted to passengers and mail was the City of Adelaide , designed by William Pile of Sunderland (1864). But fast clippers carrying precious goods rarely exceeded 20 years of service. They were either worn out of progress made them obsolete. Apart some exploits like the Challenger carrying almost her own construction price with her tightly packed tea and precious silks load, Clippers were least and least profitable. The Australian City of Adelaide is the second and only surviving Clipper.

Californian Clippers The most prestigious and prolific Clipper builders and operators were the West Coast Yards. The great incentive was the 1848 gold rush . Americans but even Europeans flocked to California to try their luck. Rather than crossing a still untamed wild west by land, they preferred the faster route by sea, via the Cape Horn. Impoverished New Yorkers or Easterners in general despite the ticket high price, bet their own existence on this trip west. Californian clippers were therefore built to rally San Francisco to New York in record times, in four month, and gradually down to 90 days as the Clippers became better and better.

Of course the speed was showcased as an argument as tickets prices flamed up in some cases. In all, until 1855, some 144 clippers were built on the West coast. The champion became the Flying cloud, holding a record with 89 days. But in the 1860s extreme clippers left their place to medium clippers. McKay’s thoroughbred had a length-to-beam ratio of 6/1, which was much narrower than the usual 5/1. The Cloud measured 73 meter on the waterline, she was one of the largest. But the record holder of the largest clipper ever built went to the Great Republic, a 1853 McKay prestige vessel, displacing 4500 GRT for 400 ft (122 m) over all length.

Captains usually cheated by not allowing to reduced sail, even in heavy weather. They only reduced it when crossing the Cape Horn. However these ships on average rarely made more than 6-8 knots on the long run. Despite of this, Clippers, after disembarking passengers in San Francisco often went south, taking the eastern route to Asia and loading previous loads in Shanghai and other port, then sailing to Europe via the Good Hope Cape, and then back to the USA with more migrants. In two or three trips, the ship more than made up for the expenses of its construction and maintenance.

Outstanding and unmatched performances for trade ships

Clipper route

Due to their prolific sailing area, the great tea Clippers of the 1860s were the pinnacle of the genre, the fastest sailing trade ships ever built, up to over 16 knots (30 km/h) when the winds were favourable an the sea calm enough. 1900s iron-built windjammers sometimes approached those speeds, but only modern yachts beat them in terms of pure speed. By judging statistics of port-to-port liaisons, American clippers seemed at the top of this game and rule supreme. Donald McKay’s Sovereign of the Seas reached the unheard of, and record-holding speed of 22 knots (41 kph) on her way to Australia.

Even the best competitors of the the Great Tea Race of 1866 never approached that speed. Ten US-built Clippers raised to the hall of fame in terms of sustained speed over long distances. The Champion of the Seas for example once managed an astounding 465-nautical-mile (861 km) run in a single day (which held up until 1984). It was not uncommon for US-built Clippers to cover more than 700 km daily, on entire weeks. This of course was also linked to the skills of seasoned, brave and aggressive captains, showing outstanding feats of seamanship, flair and probably also luck. Clippers were also very safe, fortunately for their precious load. Their unmatched speed prevented them to be caught up and captured by pirates. Nothing was as fast, even oversailed cutters.

Back to the tea race, this year saw three clippers from rival companies competing: The Ariel, Teaping and Serica. The first to win earned an extra bonus of one pound per ton of precious cargo, the other down to 10 shilling. The 1863 Teaping was a 985 GRT composite clipper, and avid competitor of the tea races and in general this far east route until 1871, when the trade vanished. The Thermopylae and Cutty Sark were also other famous duellists, making the headlines. In 1866 the Taeping won by only 12 minutes over the Ariel, and only because the captain chose the more risky trip south. He took the risk, like many captains after him, to catch and hold as long as possible the dreaded Roaring Forties . This was the autobahn of the seas.

The Rainbow at sea

The fall of clippers (1870)

In the end, as the tea trade was no longer profitable, 1870s Clippers were used to carry passengers, migrants to the USA or between coasts and to Australia, notably for the wool trade. For long sea voyages, they were free of any space taken by coal of machines and thus carried more goods for the same size. A few routes were profitable, notably Boston to San Francisco, and to Australia, motivating Australia to built a few clipper in turn. The other traditional European shipbuilders also produced some fine clippers, notably in France and the Netherlands.

The Panic of 1857 started the downslide for Clippers. The disruption of the Secession war for international trade also, and gradual restrictions of trade in China, plus the rapidly moving nature of markets trades. In 1869, the opening of the Suez Canal made their fast trip round Africa useless and steamers, slower but more regular, were just better at making profit on the new route to the far east. A new breed appeared, the steam clippers , which fired their boilers and lowered their removable screw propeller each time the wind died. The weight and size of the steam engines and associated coal made these ships slightly bulkier and with less capacity, but this was compensated by their regularity on the long run. Some were also reconverted as had hoc frigates , like those of the American Civil War (mounting cannon, carronades, used for piracy, privateering, smuggling, or as blockade runners).

free trade clipper

Clippers were not completely extinct after 1870s though. Composite steam clippers, arguably much slower but carrying more due to their stronger ans larger hull, proved more profitable. Soon, the rule of windjammers, three four and even five barque and schooners replaced he wooden wonders of the 1860s. In 1914, the numbers of sailing ships was still very impressive. U-Boat warfare soon condemned the tall ships trade which emerged depleted from the war. The last of these great ships slowly vanished in the interwar, such as the Preussen. Perhaps the last war action by a clipper was from the memorable Seeadler (1888), which proved that old school sailing privateers could be just as effective. As of today only one great classic clipper of the golden age survived: The Cutty Sark . Unfortunately despite such a rich history, no American clipper has survived.

Composite construction of clippers

Other countries

Australian clippers.

Lightning 1854

The 1851 gold rush in Australia motivated the construction of clippers. They were built in the USA, notably at the Californian McKay yards and many others, paid and exploited by British and Australian companies. They used the western winds, from Europe to the east, via the cape of good hope, reached Australia and came back loaded with Asian goods through the pacific south and the same winds via the cape Horn to Europe. The first was the composite clipper Marco Polo (1853), of 1622 GRT made in Canada. The same year, the British yard Robert Scott & Co delivered in 1853 at Greenock the Lord of the Isles, entirely in iron. She made London-Shanghai in 98 days, showing it was possible for an iron clipper to do just as good as wooden ones. She won the tea race of 1856. With a 7/1 ratio she often rolled badly in heavy weather so much so sailors nicknamed her the diving bell.

The most famous Australian clipper of that era was the James Baines (1850). Californian-built made Liverpool-Melbourne on a regular basis and her first crossing in 63 days. The Baines was launched on 25 July 1853 from the East Boston shipyard of Donald McKay yard, for the Black Ball Line (James Baines & Co.) of Liverpool. She reached the record-breaking speed of 21 knots in 1856 and under Captain C. McConnell made Boston-Liverpool in 12 days, 6 hours.

But soon she was beaten back by the Lightning , made by the same yard for the same company. Carrying wool to UK, she made the trip in 63 days and less hours, the world record. Her sail area was greater, with a mainmast reaching 50 m above the deck, 29 m wide for her largest sail, and 49 m wide with the addition of studding sails. She also made a record 24 hours run at 18.2 knots on average, over 432 nautical miles topping at 21 knots in several occasions. On the Australian line, thanks to the roaring 40, Australian Clippers had no competitors, especially packet boats and heavier medium mixed clippers. They stat active in the 1880s even after the opening of the Suez canal, which only shortened their trip for 900 miles, whereas the 4600 miles between Europe and Australia used western winds to best effect. Australian clippers therefore were the last in use anywhere in world, up to the 1890s. Of course, composite or iron-built clippers became the norm.

French Clippers

Called “Havrais” (Form the Havre, main French sailing trade port), or “Cap-Hornier” (in reference to Cape Horn), the French Clipper era preceded the tall ship traders, generally built in iron and then steel up to 1914. France has one of the finest clippers that roamed the seas, although their story is seldom known in the Anglo-Saxon world, to the point the very term “French clipper” equates a big interrogation point. We will try there to correct that issue.

Development of French Clippers was slower and later, mostly due to the lack of prospect for such trades. Only by seizing the colonial Empire of Indochina in the 1880s the French could deploy their own long range trading networks, taking advantage of classic Clippers. But by that time they were already composites and many had steam engines. North African colonies on the other hand did not required anything else than steamers, from 1830.

1870-90s: The French iron tall ships era. France, then far behind its partners in terms merchant tonnage (9th rank), implemented a resolute policy for promoting sail, by offering bonuses to yards, as their total absence of coal consumption made them interesting for carrying particular goods. Companies (called in French “armements”) such as Bordes , in Nantes, which launched in 30 years some 230 iron tall ships, specialized in carrying coal and cereals from the United States and nitrates from Chile. Of course the war of 1914 would cripple this fleet. Such sailing vessels were easy pickings, easy to spot and slow enough to be catch by a submarine and destroyed by gunfire. Nowadays France has a single of these medium iron clipper preserved for us to see, the 1890s nitrate carrier called the Belem , a familiar sight in tall ships events around the globe.

1800s sailboat

Brazilian Clippers

(To Come…)

Dutch Clippers

An example: The Kosmopoliet I, launched on 29 November, 1854 by Cornelis Gips and Sons (Dordrecht) for Gebr. Blussé of Dordrecht. She has been inspired by a medium-clipper model of 1852 showcased at an exhibition in Amsterdam by the Dutch lieutenant-commander M.H. Jansen. She carried both cargo and passengers, fully rigged with royals and skysails on three masts. On the line Netherlands-Java she made the trip in 89 days and later in 76, 74 and 77 days, whereas the normal trip would be 100 days and more. (More to Come…)

Read More/Src // // // //

Videos Docs

American Clippers

Baltimore clippers (1812).

These fast coasters mainly built at Baltimore from the 1770s were designed for trade around the thirteen colonies and the Caribbean Islands. They played their part in the independence, scouting for the insurgents, and were very fast thanks to their “V”-shaped cross-section below the waterline, strongly raked stem and masts. They could have been originated not from the east coast but from the Bermuda sloop, made for open ocean. The fact they were very fast and made for speed whereas used for trade with the full knowledge that time was money made them the first clippers.

During the 1812 war, Baltimore clippers rose to fame. There was yet a very young USN (13 october 1775), and alongside the famous “super frigates” of the USS Constitution class , Baltimore and other ports could offer privateers using Clippers. They were given letters of marque but traded, used as blockade runners, and many were captured by the British.

In addition many new such vessels were developed specifically for war: They were larger and faster yet heavily armed. Such ships were the Chasseur, Prince de Neufchatel and General Armstrong. Like battlecruisers they were designed to catch up any ships or skirmish with larger ones. Prince duelled with the much larger HMS Endymion, while Chasseur captured more vessels than the entire USN. The Royal Navy appreciated these clippers and used them after the war to chase off slave ships.

Chasseur vs St lawrence

Rainbow (1845): The first “extreme clipper”

The Rainbow was in its time the fastest sailboat. It was built in New York on the plans of J.W. Griffith and officially held for a 750-ton barrel. She had most of the characteristics of clippers of his time, including concave or hollowed lines forward, a clear innovation at that time, now mainstream in ship construction.

The Rainbow with her magnificent and immense sailing area earned indeed the title of “first extreme clipper” awarded to the first real ship of this type, and the fastest, but it disappeared without a trace in 1848. The famous “America’s Cup” appeared just when this trade competition between England and the USA was at its highest. Both for long were the only cup participants, prolonging a long tradition.

Flying Cloud (1851): The fastest American clipper

flying cloud lines

One of the most famous clippers she was known first for her exceptional speed between New York and San Francisco, nailing one record at 89 days and 21 hours in 1851, and 1854 in 89 days 13 hours. The record stands until… 1989. She was Built at the McKay yard, East Boston, for Enoch Train (Train & Co) for $50,000, and repurchased, still on the slipway for $90,000 by Henry Walton Grinnell (Grinnell, Minturn & Co). One of the very first clippers designed by Donald McKay she was inspired by John Willis Griffiths designs and borrowed a lot from his previous Stage Hound , yet better streamlined overall.

Overall lenght: 235 US feet (71.6 m), 12.7 m (41.8 US feet) wide, 6.55 m (21.6 US feet) draft (2.5 m below beam). Displ. 1782 tons, 60 m (196 ft) mainmast tall over deck, figurehead showing a white and gold angel. Launched on April 15, 1851, she inspired a poem by Henry Longfellow.

Her first career (Capt. John Perkins Creesy and his wife, navigator Eleanor Creesy) was carrying candidates for the gold rush, on June 2, 1851 plus perishable foodstuffs, from New York to August 31, 1851 in San Francisco, in 89 days 21 hours despite storms and Cape Horn crossing, the doldrums, some damage along the way and an unruly crew. On July 31, she reached 18 knots and Eleanor Creesy calculated and average of 15 knots on 374 miles/24 hours. In 1853 she made another run in 105 days and later broke its own record on New York-San Francisco. From 1862, she sailed for James Baines & Co. with the Black Ball Line and by April 1871, resold to Harry Smith Edwards, South Shields. From Liverpool, she transported migrants to Australia. She was lost on June 19, 1874, loaded with cast iron, running aground, breaking in two off Saint-Jean (New Brunswick). Her cargo was sold and salvaged in 1874 but the wreck was burned.

Challenger (1851)

Clipper Challenge

The Challenge is without a doubt the most beautiful and the fastest, the biggest clipper ever built in the USA. It was built at G.H. Webb yards in New York City in an effort to dethrone the mythical Flying Cloud, which was no small feat. The latter was considered unbeatable, and his record was already five years when the Challenge went to sea.

His owner, N.L. and G. Griswold, had him baptized during the greatest launching ceremony ever seen in New York. Huge, moving 2006 empty barrels, 70 meters long, its very solid hull had iron struts and was 51 cm wide at the waterline, the challenge was also the first to have three decks.

The apple of his great mast was 70 meters high, and the shape of his hull was the thinnest ever seen. Its black hull was embellished with a fine golden band, and ended with an eagle with spread wings, also gilded. Its interior fittings were extremely refined for a merchant ship, a “freighter” with current standards, with two accommodations for officers, another large room and an antechamber, 6 luxurious cabins in rosewood, panelled with carvings oak raised fine gilding.

The Challenge was designed for trade between California and China. It could also carry wealthy passengers. There was great hope in him and for his first crossing, it was entrusted to a celebrity of the time, Captain Robert H. Waterman, known to be the fastest on this road.

Her first trip would take him from New York to San Francisco, through Cape Horn, and Waterman was promised a $ 10,000 bonus if she could complete the course in 90 days. She made it in 108. For if the ship was sublime, her crew, force-picked up in the port, consisted mainly of false sailors and unreliable rabble attracted mainly by California gold. Thus, off Rio there was a mutiny, and the second was killed.

Officers promptly re-established order by harsh discipline and the journey continued in a heavy atmosphere. At Cape Horn, three sailors fell from the mizzen yard and died, and later, dysentery carried off 4 others. But on her first trip to China, Captain Land replaced Waterman, considered too tough, together with a better crew.

Challenge broke the record for a return trip in 34 days, but captain Land died on board. Pitts replaced him and made further trips. Rallying with Great Britain’s Wamphoa Tea, he set a new record in 105 days. The British admired the ship so much during her stay in UK her hull lines were carefully drawn for the admiralty.

In 1861 the proud ship was worn out. She was sold in Bombay as Golden City, and travelled between India and Hong Kong, then she sailed in 1866 for Wilson and Co. of Britain between Bombay and Java. At the Cape of Good Hope, a rogue wave swept over the back and carried off all her officers. She often ended her travels with part of her rig absent, as well as her crew.

The beautiful clipper was perhaps too finely made, fragile with a high rigging making her unstable and thus dangerous. She ended her career by hitting the reefs of Ouessant, Britanny, and sank despite the help of a French gunboat in 1876.

Chariot of Fame (1853)

chariot of fame

British Clippers

Thermopylae (1850).

The Thermopylae is certainly less known than the Cutty Sark , but she was nevertheless one of the key legends of the Clippers’ time; It’s actually her who holds the record for the fastest tea clipper in the world , winning the Golden Rooster, breaking all established records, and motivating the owner of the rival company arming the Cutty Sark to build another clipper. These two ships made headlines because their ferocious regattas were popular.

Cutty Sark (1850)

(To come…)

Ariel (1865)

Ariel was one of the first British composite clippers to be the only A-Clipper. She was built to serve the London-Foochow route to China at a time when the tea trade gave rise to ferocious regattas. She was commissioned by Shaw, Lowther, Maxton & Co from London to Robert Steele & Greenock’s yards. Her hull was composite, with steel framing and a teak deck. Her sails was innovative with the addition of an extra square stages, up to five levels.

She measured 197.4 feet between perpendiculars (hull only), and approximately 60.16 meters long overall by 10.33 meters wide for 853 net tons in the register, carrying more than 1060 gross. 100 tons of steel ballast were added to the hull, to perfect her stability and to compensate for her higher mast height (meaning taking more wind).

In October 1865, she was launched for her first major crossing to China (Gravesend-Hong Kong) and returned, under the command of Captain Keay, in 79 days and 21 hours pilot to pilot, or 83 anchorage, which was already a nice feat. and the following year, in 1866, he participated in the great tea race with other famous shearers, Tapping, Fiery Cross and Taitsing. She was famous for his very short loss to Taeping, who arrived 20 minutes before her on London’s waterfront.

…To be continued

1800s sailboat

Author: naval encyclopedia

15 thoughts on “ the great clippers (1820-1870) ”.

Looking for information on clipper ship PIDGEON. Supposedly an anchor from this ship was recovered from San Francisco Bay off Yerba Buena Island in November 1964 by the Freighter Robin Kirk. It is believed to have been lost by the PIDGEON. Cannot find anything on either ship on Internet, but someone else researching said that the PIDGEON was never in that location. Appreciate any information.

Hello Joyce, if you count on Google for that, good luck. What you need is a dictionary of clippers, if ever this book exists. I have some books about XIXth ships, but they are not listing all clippers, far from it, only shining examples. The lists of Lloyd Registers would certainly help too: . If you find infos about this ship, could you publish some info here please ? Thanks !

Here is a 1852 newspaper article of the Pidgeon Clipper.

Thanks for the reference !

Greetings from NewZealand A very interesting site indeed. I have spent some time transcribing the diaries of my great grandfather who was the Steward on Eagle Wing under Captain Linnell He wrote not lines but pages of commentary every day at sea. Gripping reading indeed. Extraordinary social commentary as well as of course the daily sailing events. Most interesting are his recordings of ships they sighted at sea, date times and bearings. I suspect some were last sightings. Are there other Eagle Wing researchers out there?

Thank You Helen for your appreciation ! I hope indeed this page will draw more researchers. I will update and expand it in 2021, no doubt, and add as many reference i can, pdf and sites on the topic. Fair winds and following seas !

Do you plan to share your transcriptions? The Wenonah Historical Society has a model of the Eagle Wing made around 1872 or so and it would be so great to have some insight about life on board this wonderful extreme clipper. We have learned about Captain Linnell recently but not much else.

You can see the model at this link.

Sure ! However i can’t access your page, my ip is banned apparently.

Hi! I am a Descendant of Captain Ebenezer Linnell, Commander of the Extreme Clipper Ship, The Eagle Wing. I am trying to paint The Eagle Wing and am struggling with accuracy while avoiding plagiarism of the two paintings I’ve seen. Have you run across any details of the ship that sets it apart from others? Does it most closely resemble the Taeping? I am very interested in the diary of your forefather. How lucky you are to have this! Will you be publishing? Any interesting info on Captain Linnell? Was he liked? Thank you so much for your time. JoAnn Adams @artbyjoannadams

Philip Gunther New zealand I RECENTLY PURCHASED A Photo framed ,of a three masted ship under full sail ,main sails stacked four high It is hard to make out the name ,but it looks like Teabel Any help please ,thanks

Hello Philip, must be “Taeping” It was indeed quite a famous Clipper, of 1863 built by Robert Steele & Company of Greenock and owned by Captain Alexander Rodger of Cellardyke, Fife. Taeping participated in The Great Tea Race of 1866 and narrowly defeated the Ariel. Best, David

I am writing a book on a woman who sailed with her officer husband & children to New Zealand on the Chariot of Fame. I am trying to find a description of the ship’s figurehead but can’t find one in any of the key clipper ships texts though they do mention the ship. Where else could I look?

Hello Cathy, indeed no close photo of the ship, the closest i found for the figurehead (if this is the same) is this I just added the photo on this article BTW. Good luck for your research !

Sugar, cocoa and coffee is what the French clipper named BELEM transported, not nitrate. Just a small correction if you don’t mind. Great website , thanks for sharing!!! The BELEM will carry the Olympic flame from Athens to Marseille for this year’s Olympics. Come and admire the ship in its full gloryl

For those interested in clipper ships, I started a facebook group for them: “The Clipper Ship Era”.

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AAW// warfare
AASAmphibious Assault Ship
AEWAirbone early warning
AGAir Group
AFVArmored Fighting Vehicle
AMGBarmoured motor gunboat
APArmor Piercing
APCArmored Personal Carrier
ASMAir-to-surface Missile
ASMDAnti Ship Missile Defence
ASWAnti Submarine Warfare
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ATWahead thrown weapon
avgasAviation Gasoline
awAbove Waterline
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bhpbrake horsepower
BLBreach-loader (gun)
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BUBroken Up
CAArmoured/Heavy cruiser
CalCaliber or ".php"
CGMissile Cruiser
CICCombat Information Center
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CIWSClose-in weapon system
CECompound Expansion (engine)
ChChantiers ("Yard", FR)
CLCruiser, Light
CMBCoastal Motor Boat
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CODAGCombined Diesel & Gas
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COGAGCombined Gas and Gas
COGOGCombined Gas/Gas
COSAGCombined Steam & Gas
CRCompound Reciprocating
CRCRSame, connecting rod
CruDivCruiser Division
CPControlled Pitch
CTConning Tower
CTLconstructive total loss
CTOLConv. Take off & landing
CTpCompound Trunk
CVAircraft Carrier
CVA// Attack
CVE// Escort
CVL// Light
CVS// ASW support
DADirect Action
DASHDrone ASW Helicopter
DCDepht Charge
DCT// Track
DCR// Rack
DCT// Thrower
DEDouble Expansion
DEDestroyer Escort
DDE// Converted
DesRonDestroyer Squadron
DFDouble Flux
DPDual Purpose
DUKWAmphibious truck
EOCElswick Ordnance Co.
ECMElectronic Warfare
ESMElectronic support measure
FCSFire Control System
fpsFeet Per Second
FYFiscal Year
GMMetacentric Height
GPMGGeneral Purpose Machine-gun
GRTGross Tonnage
GUPPYGreater Underwater Prop.Pow.
HAHigh Angle
HCHorizontal Compound
HCR// Reciprocating
HCDA// Direct Acting
HCDCR// connecting rod
HDA// direct acting
HDAC// acting compound
HDAG// acting geared
HDAR// acting reciprocating
HDMLHarbor def. Motor Launch
H/FHigh Frequency
HF/DF// Directional Finding
HMSHer Majesty Ship
HNHarvey Nickel
HNCHorizontal non-condensing hp
HPHigh Pressure
HRHorizontal reciprocating
HRCR// connecting rod
HSHarbor Service
HS(E)Horizontal single (expansion)
HSET// trunk
HTHorizontal trunk
HTE// expansion
ICInverted Compound
IDAInverted direct acting
IFFIdentification Friend or Foe
ihpindicated horsepower
IMFInshore Minesweeper
KCKrupp, cemented
KNC// non cemented
LALow Angle
LCLanding Craft
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LCAC// Air Cushion
LFC// Flak (AA)
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LCG(M)/// Medium
LCG(S)/// Small
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LCS// Support
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locolocomotive (boiler)
LSCLanding ship, support
LSD// Dock
LSF// Fighter (direction)
LSM// Medium
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LST// Tank
LSV// Vehicle
LPlow pressure
lwllenght waterline
MA/SBmotor AS boat
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MGBMotor Gunboat
MLMotor Launch
MMSMotor Minesweper
MTMilitary Transport
MTBMotor Torpedo Boat
HMGHeavy Machine Gun
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MLMuzzle loading
MLR// rifled
MSOOcean Minesweeper
NCnon condensing
nhpnominal horsepower
nmNautical miles
NBC/ABCNuc. Bact. Nuclear
NSNickel steel
NTDSNav.Tactical Def.System
NyDNaval Yard
OPVOffshore Patrol Vessel
PCPatrol Craft
PDMSPoint Defence Missile System
psipounds per square inch
PVDSPropelled variable-depth sonar
QFQuick Fire
QFC// converted
RAdmRear Admiral
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RFRapid Fire
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rpgRound per gun
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SBShip Builder
SCSub-chaser (hunter)
SSBNBallistic Missile sub.Nuclear
SESimple Expansion
SET// trunk
shpShaft horsepower
SHsimple horizontal
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SPRsimple pressure horiz.
SSSubmarine (Conv.)
SSMSurface-surface Missile
sfsteam frigate
SLBMSub.Launched Ballistic Missile
spfsteam paddle frigate
STOVLShort Take off/landing
SUBROCSub.Fired ASW Rocket
tton, long (short in bracket)
TACANTactical Air Nav.
TBTorpedo Boat
TBD// destroyer
TCTorpedo carriage
TETriple expansion
TER// reciprocating
TFTask Force
TGBTorpedo gunboat
TGTask Group
TLTorpedo launcher
TLC// carriage
TSTraining Ship
TTTorpedo Tube
UDTUnderwater Demolition Team
UHFUltra High Frequency
VadmVice Admiral
VCVertical compound
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VDE/ double expansion
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VIC/ inverted compound
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VQL/ quadruple expansion
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VTE/ triple expansion
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VSE/ Simple Expansion
WTWireless Telegraphy
xnumber of
BuShipsBureau of Ships
DBMGerman Navy League
GBGreat Britain
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EEZExclusive Economic Zone
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FNFLFree French Navy
MDAPMutual Def.Assistance Prog.
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RANRoyal Australian Navy
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R&DResearch & Development
RNRoyal Navy
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ussrUnion of Socialist Republics
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UNUnited Nations Org.
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⛶ Pre-Industrial Eras

⚔ naval battles.

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⚔ Crimean War

1800s sailboat

  • Radetzky class
  • Erzherzog Friedrich class
  • Novara class

1800s sailboat

  • Navarin class (1854)
  • Duquesne class (1853)
  • Fleurus class (1853)
  • Montebello (1852)
  • Austerlitz (1852)
  • Jean Bart (1852)
  • Charlemagne (1851)
  • Napoleon (1850)
  • Valmy (1847)
  • Ocean class (1805)
  • Hercules class (1836)
  • Iéna class (1814)
  • Jupiter (1831)
  • Duperré (1840)
  • Pomone (1845)
  • Isly (1849)
  • Bellone (1853)
  • D’Assas class (1854)
  • Primauguet class (1852)
  • Roland (1850)

1800s sailboat

  • Duke of Wellington
  • Conqueror (1855)
  • Marlborough (1855)
  • Royal Albert (1854)
  • St Jean D’Acre (1853)
  • Waterloo (1833
  • Sailing ships of the Line
  • Sailing Frigates
  • Sailing Corvettes
  • Screw two deckers
  • Screw frigates
  • Screw Corvettes
  • Screw guard ships
  • Paddle frigates
  • Paddle corvettes
  • Screw sloops
  • Paddle sloops
  • Screw gunboats

⚑ 1870 Fleets

Spanish Navy 1870

  • Numancia (1863)
  • Tetuan (1863)
  • Vitoria (1865)
  • Arapiles (1864)
  • Zaragosa (1867)
  • Sagunto (1869)
  • Mendez Nunez (1869)
  • Spanish wooden s. frigates (1861-65)
  • Frigate Tornado (1865)
  • Frigate Maria de Molina (1868)
  • Spanish sail gunboats (1861-65)
  • Ironclad Kaiser (1850-70)
  • Drache class BD. Ironclads (1861)
  • Kaiser Max class BD. Ironclads (1862)
  • Erzherzog F. Max class BD. Ironclads (1865)
  • SMS Lissa Ct. Bat. Ships (1869)
  • SMS Novara Frigate (1850)
  • SMS Schwarzenberg Frigate (1853)
  • Radetzky class frigates (1854)
  • Erzherzog Friedrich class corvettes (1853)
  • SMS Helgoland Sloop (1867)

Danish Navy 1870

  • Søværnet 1860-1880
  • Dannebrog (1863)
  • Peder Skram (1864)
  • Danmark (1864)
  • Rolf Krake (1864)
  • Lindormen (1868)
  • Jylland CR (1860)
  • Tordenskjold CR (1862)
  • Dagmar SP (1861)
  • Absalon class GB (1862)
  • Fylla class GB (1863)

Hellenic Navy 1870

  • Basileos Giorgios (1867)
  • Basilisa Olga (1869)
  • Sloop Hellas (1861)
  • Dutch Screw Frigates & corvettes
  • De Ruyter Bd Ironclad (1863)
  • Prins H. der Neth. Turret ship (1866)
  • Buffel class turret rams (1868)
  • Skorpioen class turret rams (1868)
  • Heiligerlee class Monitors (1868)
  • Bloedhond class Monitors (1869)
  • Adder class Monitors (1870)
  • A.H.Van Nassau Frigate (1861)
  • A.Paulowna Frigate (1867)
  • Djambi class corvettes (1860)
  • Amstel class Gunboats (1860)

Marine Française 1870

  • Screw 3-deckers (1850-58)
  • Screw 2-deckers (1852-59)
  • Screw Frigates (1849-59)
  • Conv. sailing frigates
  • Screw Corvettes (1846-59)
  • Screw Fl. Batteries (1855)
  • Paddle Frigates
  • Paddle Corvettes
  • screw sloops
  • screw gunboats
  • Sailing ships of the line
  • Sailing frigates
  • Sailing corvettes
  • Sailing bricks
  • Gloire class Bd. Ironclads (1859)
  • Couronne Bd. Ironclad (1861)
  • Magenta class Bd. Ironclads (1861)
  • Palestro class Flt. Batteries (1862)
  • Arrogante class Flt. Batteries (1864)
  • Embuscade class Flt. Batteries (1865)
  • Taureau arm. ram (1865)
  • Belliqueuse Bd. Ironclad (1865)
  • Alma Cent. Bat. Ironclads (1867)
  • Ocean class CT Battery ship (1868)
  • Cosmao class cruisers (1861)
  • Talisman cruisers (1862)
  • Resolue cruisers (1863)
  • Venus class cruisers (1864)
  • Decres cruiser (1866)
  • Desaix cruiser (1866)
  • Limier class cruisers (1867)
  • Linois cruiser (1867)
  • Chateaurenault cruiser (1868)
  • Infernet class Cruisers (1869)
  • Bourayne class Cruisers (1869)
  • Cruiser Hirondelle (1869)
  • Curieux class sloops (1860)
  • Adonis class sloops (1863)
  • Guichen class sloops (1865)
  • Sloop Renard (1866)
  • Bruix class sloops (1867)
  • Pique class gunboats (1862)
  • Hache class gunboats (1862)
  • Arbalete class gunboats (1866)
  • Etendard class gunboats (1868)
  • Revolver class gunboats (1869)

Marinha do Brasil 1870

  • Barrozo class (1864)
  • Brasil (1864)
  • Tamandare (1865)
  • Lima Barros (1865)
  • Rio de Janeiro (1865)
  • Silvado (1866)
  • Mariz E Barros class (1866)
  • Carbal class (1866)
  • Osmanieh class Bd.Ironclads (1864)
  • Assari Tewfik (1868)
  • Assari Shevket class Ct. Ironclads (1868)
  • Lufti Djelil class CDS (1868)
  • Avni Illah class cas.ironclads (1869)
  • Fethi Bulend class cas.ironclads (1870)
  • Barbette ironclad Idjalleh (1870)
  • Messudieh class Ct.Bat.ships (1874)
  • Hamidieh Ct.Bat.Ironclads (1885)
  • Abdul Kadir Battleships (project)
  • Frigate Ertrogul (1863)
  • Selimieh (1865)
  • Rehberi Tewkik (1875)
  • Mehmet Selim (1876)
  • Sloops & despatch vessels
  • Monitor Atahualpa (1865)
  • CT. Bat Independencia (1865)
  • Turret ship Huascar (1865)
  • Frigate Apurimac (1855)
  • Corvette America (1865)
  • Corvette Union (1865)

Portuguese Navy 1870

  • Bartolomeu Dias class (28-guns) steam frigates
  • Sagris (14 guns) steam corvette
  • Vasco Da Gama (74 guns) Ship of the Line
  • Dom Fernando I e Gloria (50) Sailing Frigate
  • Dom Joao I class (14 guns) Sailing corvettes
  • Portuguese Side-wheel steamers

Regia Marina 1870

  • Formidabile class (1861)
  • Pr. de Carignano class (1863)
  • Re d'Italia class (1864)
  • Regina maria Pia class (1863)
  • Roma class (1865)
  • Affondatore (1865)
  • Palestro class (ordered 1865)
  • Guerriera class (1866)
  • Cappelini class (1868)
  • Sesia DV (1862)
  • Esploratore class DV (1863)
  • Vedetta DV (1866)

Imperial Japanese navy 1870

  • Ironclad Ruyjo (1868)
  • Ironclad Kotetsu (1868)
  • Frigate Fujiyama (1864)
  • Frigate Kasuga (1863)
  • Corvette Asama (1869)
  • Gunboat Raiden (1856)
  • Gunboat Chiyodogata (1863)
  • Teibo class GB (1866)
  • Gunboat Mushun (1865)
  • Gunboat Hosho (1868)

Prussian Navy 1870

  • Prinz Adalbert (1864)
  • Arminius (1864)
  • Friedrich Carl (1867)
  • Kronprinz (1867)
  • K.Whilhelm (1868)
  • Arcona class Frigates (1858)
  • Nymphe class Frigates (1863)
  • Augusta class Frigates (1864)
  • Jäger class gunboats (1860)
  • Chamaleon class gunboats (1860)

Russian mperial Navy 1870

  • Ironclad Sevastopol (1864)
  • Ironclad Petropavlovsk (1864)
  • Ironclad Smerch (1864)
  • Pervenetz class (1863)
  • Charodeika class (1867)
  • Admiral Lazarev class (1867)
  • Ironclad Kniaz Pojarski (1867)
  • Bronenosetz class monitors (1867)
  • Admiral Chichagov class (1868)
  • S3D Imperator Nicolai I (1860)
  • S3D Sinop (1860)
  • S3D Tsessarevich (1860)
  • Russian screw two-deckers (1856-59)
  • Russian screw frigates (1854-61)
  • Russian screw corvettes (1856-60)
  • Russian screw sloops (1856-60)
  • Varyag class Corvettes (1862)
  • Almaz class Sloops (1861)
  • Opyt TGBT (1861)
  • Sobol class TGBT (1863)
  • Pishtchal class TGBT (1866)

Swedish Navy 1870

  • Ericsson class monitors (1865)
  • Frigate Karl XIV (1854)
  • Frigate Stockholm (1856)
  • Corvette Gefle (1848)
  • Corvette Orädd (1853)

Norwegian Navy 1870

  • Skorpionen class (1866)
  • Frigate Stolaf (1856)
  • Frigate Kong Sverre (1860)
  • Frigate Nordstjerna (1862)
  • Frigate Vanadis (1862)
  • Glommen class gunboats (1863)


  • Union Sailing ships
  • USS New Ironsides (1862)
  • USS monitor (1862)
  • USS Galena (1862)
  • Passaic class
  • USS Roanoke
  • USS Onondaga
  • Miantonomoh class
  • USS Dictator
  • USS Puritan
  • Canonicus class
  • Kalamazoo class
  • Milwaukee class
  • Casco class
  • USS Keokuk (1862)
  • Wampanoag class (1864)
  • USS Chattanooga (1864)
  • USS Idaho (1864)
  • Ossipee class (1862)
  • USS Sacramento (1862)
  • Ticonderoga class (1862)
  • Unadilla class gunboats (1861)
  • Kansas class (1862)
  • Octorara class (1862)
  • Sassacus class (1862)
  • Mohongo class (1863)
  • USS Spuyten Duyvil (1864)
  • USS Alligator (1862)


  • CSS Frederickburg (1862)
  • CSS Savannah (1863)
  • CSS Stonewall (1864)
  • CSS Virginia II
  • CSS Tennessee
  • CSS Nashville
  • Commerce Raiders
  • Ajax class Iron Gunboats
  • CSS David (1862)
  • CSS HL Hunley (1863)
  • Dunderberg Bd Ironclad (1865)
  • Wampanoag class frigates (1864)
  • Frigate Chattanooga & Idaho (1864)
  • Frigate Idaho (1864)
  • Java class frigates (1865)
  • Contookook class frigates (1865)
  • Frigate Trenton (1876)
  • Swatara class sloops (1865)
  • Alaska class sloops (1868)
  • Galena class sloops (1873)
  • Enterprise class sloops (1874)
  • Alert class sloops (1873)
  • Alarm torpedo ram (1873)
  • Intrepid torpedo ram (1874)

⚑ 1890 Fleets

Argentinian Navy 1898

  • Parana class (1873)
  • La Plata class (1875)
  • Pilcomayo class (1875)
  • Ferre class (1880)
  • Custoza (1872)
  • Erzherzog Albrecht (1872)
  • Kaiser (1871)
  • Kaiser Max class (1875)
  • Tegetthoff (1878)
  • Radetzky(ii) class (1872)
  • SMS Donau(ii) (1874)
  • SMS Donau(iii) (1893)
  • Erzherzog Friedrich class (1878)
  • Saida (1878)
  • Fasana (1870)
  • Aurora class (1873)
  • Hai An class frigates (1872)

Danish Navy 1898

  • Tordenskjold (1880)
  • Iver Hvitfeldt (1886)
  • Skjold (1896)
  • Cruiser Fyen (1882)
  • Cruiser Valkyrien (1888)

Hellenic Navy 1898

  • Spetsai class (1889)
  • Nauarchos Miaoulis (1889)
  • Greek Torpedo Boats (1881-85)
  • Greek Gunboats (1861-84)
  • Gunboat St Michael (1970)
  • Gunboat "1804" (1875)
  • Gunboat Dessalines (1883)
  • Gunboat Toussaint Louverture (1886)
  • Konigin der Netherland (1874)
  • Draak, monitor (1877)
  • Matador, monitor (1878)
  • R. Claeszen, monitor (1891)
  • Evertsen class CDS (1894)
  • Atjeh class cruisers (1876)
  • Cruiser Sumatra (1890)
  • Cruiser K.W. Der. Neth (1892)
  • Banda class Gunboats (1872)
  • Pontania class Gunboats (1873)
  • Gunboat Aruba (1873)
  • Hydra Gunboat class (1873)
  • Batavia class Gunboats (1877)
  • Wodan Gunboat class (1877)
  • Ceram class Gunboats (1887)
  • Combok class Gunboats (1891)
  • Borneo Gunboat (1892)
  • Nias class Gunboats (1895)
  • Koetei class Gunboats (1898)
  • Dutch sloops (1864-85)

Marine Française 1898

  • Friedland CT Battery ship (1873)
  • Richelieu CT Battery ship (1873)
  • Colbert class CT Battery ships (1875)
  • Redoutable CT Battery ship (1876)
  • Courbet class CT Battery ships (1879)
  • Amiral Duperre barbette ship (1879)
  • Terrible class barbette ships (1883)
  • Amiral Baudin class barbette ships (1883)
  • Barbette ship Hoche (1886)
  • Marceau class barbette ships (1888)
  • Cerbere class Arm.Ram (1870)
  • Tonnerre class Br.Monitors (1875)
  • Tempete class Br.Monitors (1876)
  • Tonnant ironclad (1880)
  • Furieux ironclad (1883)
  • Fusee class Arm.Gunboats (1885)
  • Acheron class Arm.Gunboats (1885)
  • Jemmapes class (1892)
  • Bouvines class (1892)
  • La Galissonière Cent. Bat. Ironclads (1872)
  • Bayard class barbette ships (1879)
  • Vauban class barbette ships (1882)
  • Prot. Cruiser Sfax (1884)
  • Prot. Cruiser Tage (1886)
  • Prot. Cruiser Amiral Cécille (1888)
  • Prot. Cruiser Davout (1889)
  • Forbin class Cruisers (1888)
  • Troude class Cruisers (1888)
  • Alger class Cruisers (1891)
  • Friant class Cruisers (1893)
  • Prot. Cruiser Suchet (1893)
  • Descartes class Cruisers (1893)
  • Linois class Cruisers (1896)
  • D'Assas class Cruisers (1896)
  • Catinat class Cruisers (1896)
  • R. de Genouilly class Cruisers (1876)
  • Cruiser Duquesne (1876)
  • Cruiser Tourville (1876)
  • Cruiser Duguay-Trouin (1877)
  • Laperouse class Cruisers (1877)
  • Villars class Cruisers (1879)
  • Cruiser Iphigenie (1881)
  • Cruiser Naiade (1881)
  • Cruiser Arethuse (1882)
  • Cruiser Dubourdieu (1884)
  • Cruiser Milan (1884)
  • Parseval class sloops (1876)
  • Bisson class sloops (1874)
  • Epee class gunboats (1873)
  • Crocodile class gunboats (1874)
  • Tromblon class gunboats (1875)
  • Condor class Torpedo Cruisers (1885)
  • G. Charmes class gunboats (1886)
  • Inconstant class sloops (1887)
  • Bombe class Torpedo Cruisers (1887)
  • Wattignies class Torpedo Cruisers (1891)
  • Levrier class Torpedo Cruisers (1891)

Marinha do Brasil 1898

  • Siete de Setembro class (1874)
  • Riachuleo class (1883)

Marinha do Portugal 1898

  • ☍ See the Page
  • Coastal Battleship Vasco da Gama (1875)
  • Portuguese Torpedo Boats
  • Portuguese Gunboats

Marina de Mexico 1898

  • GB Indipendencia (1874)
  • GB Democrata (1875)
  • Cruiser Heibtnuma (1890)
  • Cruiser Lufti Humayun (1892)
  • Cruiser Hadevendighar (1892)
  • Shadieh class cruisers (1893)
  • Turkish TBs (1885-94)

Regia Marina 1898

  • Pr. Amadeo class (1874)
  • Caio Duilio class (1879)
  • Italia class (1885)
  • Ruggero di Lauria class (1884)
  • Carracciolo (1869)
  • Vettor Pisani (1869)
  • Cristoforo Colombo (1875)
  • Flavio Goia (1881)
  • Amerigo Vespucci (1882)
  • C. Colombo (ii) (1892)
  • Pietro Micca (1876)
  • Tripoli (1886)
  • Goito class (1887)
  • Folgore class (1887)
  • Partenope class (1889)
  • Giovanni Bausan (1883)
  • Etna class (1885)
  • Dogali (1885)
  • Piemonte (1888)
  • Staffeta (1876)
  • Rapido (1876)
  • Barbarigo class (1879)
  • Messagero (1885)
  • Archimede class (1887)
  • Guardiano class GB (1874)
  • Scilla class GB (1874)
  • Provana class GB (1884)
  • Curtatone class GB (1887)
  • Castore class GB (1888)

Imperial Japanese navy 1898

  • Ironclad Fuso (1877)
  • Kongo class Ironclads (1877)
  • Cruiser Tsukushi (1880)
  • Cruiser Takao (1888)
  • Cruiser Yaeyama (1889)
  • Cruiser Chishima (1890)
  • Cruiser Tatsuta (1894)
  • Cruiser Miyako (1898)
  • Frigate Nisshin (1869)
  • Frigate Tsukuba (acq.1870)
  • Kaimon class CVT (1882)
  • Katsuragi class SCVT (1885)
  • Sloop Seiki (1875)
  • Sloop Amagi (1877)
  • Corvette Jingei (1876)
  • Gunboat Banjo (1878)
  • Maya class GB (1886)
  • Gunboat Oshima (1891)

German Navy 1898

  • Main article
  • Ironclad Hansa (1872)
  • G.Kurfürst class (1873)
  • Kaiser class (1874)
  • Sachsen class (1877)
  • Ironclad Oldenburg (1884)
  • Ariadne class CVT (1871)
  • Leipzig class CVT (1875)
  • Bismarck class CVT (1877)
  • Carola class CVT (1880)
  • Corvette Nixe (1885)
  • Corvette Charlotte (1885)
  • Schwalbe class Cruisers (1887)
  • Bussard class (1890)
  • Aviso Zieten (1876)
  • Blitz class Avisos (1882)
  • Aviso Greif (1886)
  • Wacht class Avisos (1887)
  • Meteor class Avisos (1890)
  • Albatross class GBT (1871)
  • Cyclop GBT (1874)
  • Otter GBT (1877)
  • Wolf class GBT (1878)
  • Habitch class GBT (1879)
  • Hay GBT (1881)
  • Eber GBT (1881)
  • Rhein class Monitors (1872)
  • Wespe class Monitors (1876)
  • Brummer class Arm.Steamers (1884)

Russian Imperial Navy 1898

  • Petr Velikiy (1872)
  • Ekaterina class ICL (1886)
  • Imperator Alexander class ICL (1887)
  • Ironclad Gangut (1890)
  • Admiral Ushakov class (1893)
  • Navarin (1893)
  • Petropavlovsk class (1894)
  • Sissoi Veliky (1896)
  • Minin (1866)
  • G.Admiral class (1875)
  • Pamiat Merkuria (1879)
  • V.Monomakh (1882)
  • D.Donskoi (1883)
  • Adm.Nakhimov (1883)
  • Vitiaz class (1884)
  • Pamiat Azova (1886)
  • Adm.Kornilov (1887)
  • Rurik (1895)
  • Svetlana (1896)
  • Gunboat Ersh (1874)
  • Kreiser class sloops (1875)
  • Gunboat Nerpa (1877)
  • Burun class Gunboats (1879)
  • Sivuch class Gunboats (1884)
  • Korietz class Gunboats (1886)
  • Kubanetz class Gunboats (1887)
  • TGBT Lt.Ilin (1886)
  • TGBT Kp.Saken (1889)
  • Kazarski class TGBT (1889)
  • Grozyaschi class AGBT (1890)
  • Gunboat Khrabri (1895)
  • T.Gunboat Abrek (1896)
  • Amur class minelayers (1898)
  • Lima class Cruisers (1880)
  • Chilean TBs (1879)

Swedish Navy 1898

  • Monitor Loke (1871)
  • Svea class Coast Defence Ships (1886)
  • Berserk class (1873)
  • Sloop Balder (1870)
  • Blenda class GB (1874)
  • Urd class GB (1877)
  • Gunboat Edda (1885)

Norwegian Navy 1898

  • Gorm (1870)
  • Odin (1872)
  • Helgoland (1878)

Royal Navy 1898

  • Hotspur (1870)
  • Glatton (1871)
  • Devastation class (1871)
  • Cyclops class (1871)
  • Rupert (1874)
  • Neptune class (1874)
  • Dreadnought (1875)
  • Inflexible (1876)
  • Agamemnon class (1879)
  • Conqueror class (1881)
  • Colossus class (1882)
  • Admiral class (1882)
  • Trafalgar class (1887)
  • Victoria class (1890)
  • Royal Sovereign class (1891)
  • Centurion class (1892)
  • Renown (1895)
  • HMS Shannon (1875)
  • Nelson class (1876)
  • Iris class (1877)
  • Leander class (1882)
  • Imperieuse class (1883)
  • Mersey class (1885)
  • Surprise class (1885)
  • Scout class (1885)
  • Archer class (1885)
  • Orlando class (1886)
  • Medea class (1888)
  • Barracouta class (1889)
  • Barham class (1889)
  • Pearl class (1889)
  • 1870-90 Torpedo Boats

Spanish Navy 1898

  • Ironclad Pelayo (1887)
  • Aragon class (1879)
  • Velasco class (1881)
  • Isla de Luzon (1886)
  • Alfonso XII class (1887)
  • Reina Regentes class (1887)
  • Infanta Maria Teresa class (1890)
  • Emperador Carlos V (1895)
  • Cristobal Colon (1896)
  • Princesa de Asturias class (1896)
  • Destructor class (1886)
  • Temerario class (1891)
  • TGunboat Filipinas (1892)
  • De Molina class (1896)
  • Furor class (1896)
  • Audaz class (1897)
  • Spanish TBs (1878-87)
  • Fernando class gunboats (1875)
  • Concha class gunboats (1883)

US Navy 1898

  • USS Maine (1889)
  • USS Texas (1892)
  • Indiana class (1893)
  • USS Iowa (1896)
  • Amphitrite class (1876)
  • USS Puritan (1882)
  • USS Monterey (1891)
  • Atlanta class (1884)
  • USS Chicago (1885)
  • USS Charleston (1888)
  • USS Baltimore (1888)
  • USS Philadelphia (1889)
  • USS San Francisco (1889)
  • USS Newark (1890)
  • USS New York (1891)
  • USS Olympia (1892)
  • Cincinatti class (1892)
  • Montgomery class (1893)
  • Columbia class (1893)
  • USS Brooklyn (1895)
  • USS Vesuvius (1888)
  • USS Katahdin (1893)
  • USN Torpedo Boats (1886-1901)
  • GB USS Dolphin (1884)
  • Yorktown class GB (1888)
  • GB USS Petrel (1888)
  • GB USS Bancroft (1892)
  • Machias class GB (1891)
  • GB USS Nashville (1895)
  • Wilmington class GB (1895)
  • Annapolis class GB (1896)
  • Wheeling class GB (1897)
  • Small gunboats (1886-95)
  • St Louis class AMC (1894)
  • Harvard class AMC (1888)
  • USN Armoured Merchant Cruisers
  • USN Armed Yachts

☉ Entente Fleets

US ww1

  • WW1 American Battleships
  • USS Texas (1891)
  • Indiana class battleships (1898)
  • Kearsage class battleships (1898)
  • Illinois class (1898)
  • Maine class (1901)
  • Virginia class (1904)
  • Connecticut class (1905)
  • Mississippi class (1906)
  • South Carolina class battleships (1908)
  • Delaware class battleships (1909)
  • Florida class battleships (1910)
  • Arkansas class battleships (1911)
  • New York class Battleships (1912)
  • Nevada class Battleships (1914)
  • Pennsylvania class (1915)
  • New Mexico class battleships (1917)
  • Tennessee class battleships (1919)
  • Colorado class battleships (1920)
  • South Dakota class battleships (1920)
  • WW1 US Cruisers
  • Atlanta class (1885)
  • USS Charleston (1887)
  • Baltimore class (1888)
  • Montgomery class (1891)
  • New Orleans class (1896)
  • USS Maine (1896)
  • Denver class (1902)
  • Pittsburg (Pennslvania) class (1903)
  • St Louis class (1904)
  • Memphis (Tennessee) class (1904)
  • Chester class (1907)
  • Omaha class (1920)
  • WW1 USN Destroyers
  • Bainbridge Class
  • Truxtun Class
  • Smith Class
  • Paulding Class
  • Cassin Class
  • O'brien Class
  • Tucker Class
  • Sampson Class
  • Caldwell Class
  • Wickes Class
  • Clemson Class
  • WW1 American Submarines
  • USS Holland 1897
  • A class subs 1901
  • B class subs 1906
  • C class subs 1907
  • D class subs 1909
  • E class subs 1911
  • F class subs 1911
  • G class subs 1911
  • H class subs 1913
  • K class subs 1914
  • L class subs 1915
  • M class subs 1915
  • N class subs 1916
  • O class subs 1917
  • R class subs 1917
  • S class subs 1918
  • T(AA) class subs 1918
  • American Torpedo Boats (1885-1901)
  • WW1 USN Gunboats
  • WW1 USN Monitors
  • WW1 USN Armed Merchant cruisers
  • WW1 USN armed Yachts
  • Eagle Boats (1918)
  • SC 110 ft (1917)
  • Shawmut class minelayers (1907)
  • Bird class minesweepers (1917)

British ww1

  • WW1 British Battleships
  • Majestic class (1894)
  • Canopus class (1897)
  • Formidable class (1898)
  • London class (1899)
  • Duncan class (1901)
  • King Edward VII class (1903)
  • Swiftsure class (1903)
  • Lord Nelson class (1906)
  • HMS Dreadnought (1906)
  • Bellorophon class (1907)
  • St Vincent class (1908)
  • HMS Neptune (1909)
  • Colossus class (1910)
  • Orion class (1911)
  • King George V class (1911)
  • Iron Duke class (1912)
  • Queen Elizabeth class (1913)
  • HMS Canada (1913)
  • HMS Agincourt (1913)
  • HMS Erin (1915)
  • Revenge class (1915)
  • N3 class (1920)
  • WW1 British Battlecruisers
  • Invincible class (1907)
  • Indefatigable class (1909)
  • Lion class (1910)
  • HMS Tiger (1913)
  • Renown class (1916)
  • Courageous class (1916)
  • G3 class (1918)
  • ww1 British cruisers
  • Blake class (1889)
  • Edgar class (1890)
  • Powerful class (1895)
  • Diadem class (1896)
  • Cressy class (1900)
  • Drake class (1901)
  • Monmouth class (1901)
  • Devonshire class (1903)
  • Duke of Edinburgh class (1904)
  • Warrior class (1905)
  • Minotaur class (1906)
  • Hawkins class (1917)
  • Apollo class (1890)
  • Astraea class (1893)
  • Eclipse class (1894)
  • Arrogant class (1896)
  • Pelorus class (1896)
  • Highflyer class (1898)
  • Gem class (1903)
  • Adventure class (1904)
  • Forward class (1904)
  • Pathfinder class (1904)
  • Sentinel class (1904)
  • Boadicea class (1908)
  • Blonde class (1910)
  • Active class (1911)
  • 'Town' class (1909-1913)
  • Arethusa class (1913)
  • 'C' class series (1914-1922)
  • 'D' class (1918)
  • 'E' class (1918)
  • WW1 British Seaplane Carriers
  • HMS Ark Royal (1914)
  • HMS Campania (1893)
  • HMS Argus (1917)
  • HMS Furious (1917)
  • HMS Vindictive (1918)
  • HMS Hermes (1919)
  • WW1 British Destroyers
  • 26-knotters (1893)
  • 27-knotters (1894)
  • 30-knotters (1895-99)
  • 33-knotters (1896-1901)
  • HM Turbinia (1897)
  • HMS Viper (1897)
  • HMS Cobra (1899)
  • HMS Velox (1899)
  • River class (1903)
  • Tribal class (1907)
  • Cricket class (1906)
  • HMS Swift (1907)
  • Albacore class (1906)
  • Beagle class (1909)
  • Acorn class (1910)
  • Acheron class (1911)
  • Acasta class (1912)
  • Laforey class (1913)
  • M/repeat M class (1914)
  • Faulknor class FL (1914)
  • Lightfoote class FL (1914)
  • Medea class (1914)
  • Talisman class (1915)
  • Parker claqs FL (1916)
  • R/Mod R class (1916)
  • V class FL (1917)
  • Skakespeare class FL (1917)
  • Scott class FL (1917)
  • V class (1917)
  • W/Mod W class (1917)
  • S class (1918)
  • WW1 British Torpedo Boats
  • 125ft series (1885)
  • 140ft series (1892)
  • 160ft series (1901)
  • WW1 British Submarines
  • Nordenfelt Submarines (1885)
  • Holland Type (1901)
  • A-Class Type (1902)
  • B-Class Type (1904)
  • C-Class Type (1906)
  • D-Class Type (1908)
  • E-Class Type (1912)
  • S-Class Type (1914)
  • V-Class Type (1914)
  • W-Class Type (1914)
  • F-Class Type (1915)
  • H-class Type (1914)
  • HMS Nautilus (1914)
  • HMS Swordfish (1916)
  • G-Class Type (1915)
  • J-Class Type (1915)
  • K-Class Type (1916)
  • L-Class Type (1917)
  • M-Class Type (1917)
  • R-Class Type (1918)
  • WW1 British Monitors
  • Flower class sloops
  • British Gunboats of WWI
  • British P-Boats (1915)
  • Kil class (1917)
  • British ww1 Minesweepers
  • Z-Whaler class patrol crafts
  • British ww1 CMB
  • British ww1 Auxiliaries

French ww1

  • WW1 French Battlecruisers (Projects)
  • WW1 French Battleships
  • Charles Martel class (1891)
  • Charlemagne class (1899)
  • Henri IV (1899)
  • Iéna (1898)
  • Suffren (1899)
  • République class (1902)
  • Liberté class (1904)
  • Danton class Battleships (1909)
  • Courbet class (1911)
  • Bretagne class (1914)
  • Normandie class battleships (1914)
  • Lyon class battleships (planned)
  • WW1 French Cruisers
  • Dupuy de Lôme (1890)
  • Admiral Charner class (1892)
  • Pothuau (1895)
  • Dunois class (1897)
  • Jeanne d'Arc arm. cruiser (1899)
  • Gueydon class arm. cruisers (1901)
  • Dupleix class arm. cruisers (1901)
  • Gloire class arm. cruisers (1902)
  • Gambetta class arm. cruisers (1901)
  • Jules Michelet arm. cruiser (1905)
  • Ernest Renan arm. cruiser (1905)
  • Lamotte Picquet class cruisers (planned)
  • Cruiser D'Entrecasteaux (1897)
  • D’Iberville class (1893)
  • Jurien de la Gravière (1899)
  • Seaplane Carrier La Foudre (1895)
  • Kersaint class sloops (1897)
  • WW1 French Destroyers
  • WW1 French ASW Escorts
  • WW1 French Submarines
  • Plongeur (1863)
  • Gymnôte (1888)
  • Gustave Zédé (1893)
  • Morse (1899)
  • Narval (1899)
  • Sirène class (1901)
  • Farfadet class (1901)
  • Morse class (1901)
  • Naiade class (1904)
  • Aigrette class (1904)
  • Omega (1905)
  • Emeraude class (1906)
  • Circe class (1907)
  • Pluviose class (1909)
  • Brumaire class (1910)
  • Archimede (1909)
  • Mariotte (1911)
  • Amiral Bourgeois (1912)
  • Charles Brun (1910)
  • Clorinde class (1913)
  • Zédé class (1913)
  • Amphitrite class (1914)
  • Bellone class (1914)
  • Dupuy de Lome class (1915)
  • Diane class (1915)
  • Joessel class (1917)
  • Lagrange class (1917)
  • Armide class (1915)
  • O'Byrne class (1919)
  • Maurice Callot (1921)
  • Pierre Chailley (1921)
  • WW1 French Torpedo Boats
  • WW1 French river gunboats
  • WW1 French Motor Boats
  • WW1 French Auxiliary Warships

Japan ww1

  • WW1 Japanese Battleships
  • Ironclad Chin Yen (1882)
  • Fuji class (1896)
  • Shikishima class (1898)
  • IJN Mikasa (1900)
  • Katori class (1905)
  • Satsuma class (1906)
  • Kawachi class (1910)
  • Fusō class (1915)
  • Ise class (1917)
  • Nagato class (1919)
  • Kaga class (1921)
  • Kii class (planned)
  • Tsukuba class BCs (1905)
  • Ibuki class (1907)
  • Kongō class (1912)
  • Akagi class (planned)
  • N°13 class (planned)
  • WW1 Japanese Cruisers
  • Naniwa class (1885)
  • IJN Unebi (1886)
  • Matsushima class (1889)
  • IJN Akitsushima (1892)
  • Suma class (1895)
  • Chitose class (1898)
  • Asama class (1898)
  • IJN Yakumo (1899)
  • IJN Adzuma (1899)
  • Tsushima class (1902)
  • IJN Otowa (1903)
  • Kasuga class (1904)
  • IJN Tone (1907)
  • Yodo class (1907)
  • Chikuma class (1911)
  • Tenryu class (1918)
  • WW1 Japanese Destroyers
  • WW1 Japanese Submersibles
  • WW1 Japanese Torpedo Boats
  • WW1 Japanese gunboats
  • IJN Wakamiya seaplane carrier (1905)
  • Natsushima class minelayers (1911)
  • IJN Katsuriki minelayer (1916)
  • Japanese WW1 auxiliaries

Russia ww1

  • WW1 Russian Battleships
  • Tri Sviatitelia (1894)
  • Poltava (1894)
  • Rostislav (1896)
  • Peresviet class (1899)
  • Pantelimon (1900)
  • Retvizan (1900)
  • Tsesarevich (1901)
  • Borodino class (1901)
  • Pervoswanny class (1908)
  • Evstafi class (1910)
  • Gangut class (1911)
  • Imperatritsa Mariya class (1913)
  • Borodino class battlecruisers (1915)
  • WW1 Russian Cruisers
  • Rossia class (1896)
  • Pallada class (1899)
  • Varyag (1900)
  • Askold (1900)
  • Novik (1900)
  • Bogatyr class (1901)
  • Boyarin (1901)
  • Izmurud (1903)
  • Bayan class (1905)
  • Rurik (1906)
  • Svetlana class (1915)
  • Adm. Nakhimov class (1915)
  • WW1 Russian Destroyers
  • Pruitki class (1895)
  • Bditelni(i) class (1899)
  • Grozni class (1904)
  • Ukraina class (1904)
  • Bukharski class (1905)
  • Gaidamak class (1905)
  • Lovki class (1905)
  • Bditelni class (1905)
  • Tverdi class (1906)
  • Storozhevoi class (1906)
  • Kondratenko class (1906)
  • Shestakov class (1907)
  • Novik (1911)
  • Bespokoiny(Derzki) class (1911)
  • Orfey class (1911)
  • Izyaslav class (1911)
  • Fidonisy(Kerch) class (1911)
  • WW1 Russian Submarines
  • WW1 Russian TBs (1877-1918)
  • WW1 Russian Minelayers
  • WW1 Russian Minesweepers
  • Amur class Minelayers (1906)

Italy ww1

  • WW1 Italian Battleships
  • Re Umberto class (1883)
  • Amiraglio Di St Bon class (1897)
  • Regina Margherita class (1900)
  • Regina Elena class (1904)
  • Dante Alighieri (1909)
  • Cavour class (1915)
  • Doria class (1916)
  • Caracciolo class battleships (1917)
  • WW1 Italian Cruisers
  • Umbria class (1891)
  • Calabria (1894)
  • Vettor Pisani class (1895)
  • Agordat class (1899)
  • Garibaldi class (1901)
  • Marco Polo (1892)
  • Nino Bixio class ()
  • Pisa class (1907)
  • San Giorgio class (1907)
  • Quarto (1911)
  • Libia (1912)
  • Campania class (1914)
  • WW1 Italian Gunboats
  • Governolo GB (1897)
  • Brondolo class (1909)
  • Sebastiano Caboto (1912)
  • Ape class (1918)
  • Erlanno Caboto (1918)
  • Bafile class (1921)
  • Esploratori (scouts)
  • Poerio class scouts
  • Mirabello class scouts
  • Aquila class scouts
  • Leone class scouts
  • WW1 Italian Destroyers
  • Soldati class
  • Indomito class
  • Audace class
  • Sirtori class
  • La Masa class
  • Palestro class
  • "Generali" class
  • Curtatone class
  • WW1 Italian Torpedo Boats
  • WW1 Italian Submarines
  • WW1 Italian Monitors
  • WW1 Italian Minesweepers
  • WW1 Italian MAS
  • Grillo class tracked torpedo launches

✠ Central Empires

German Navy 1914

  • WW1 German Battleships
  • Siegfried class (1889)
  • Brandenburg class (1892)
  • Wittelsbach class (1900)
  • Braunschweig class (1902)
  • Kaiser Friedrich III class (1904)
  • Deutschland class (1905)
  • Nassau class (1906)
  • Helgoland class (1909)
  • Kaiser class (1911)
  • König class (1913)
  • Bayern class battleships (1916)
  • Sachsen class (launched)
  • L20 Alpha (project)
  • WW1 German Battlecruisers
  • SMS Blücher (1908)
  • Von der Tann (1909)
  • Moltke class (1910)
  • Seydlitz (1912)
  • Derrflinger class (1913)
  • Hindenburg (1915)
  • Mackensen class (1917)
  • Ersatz Yorck class (started)
  • WW1 German Cruisers
  • Irene class (1887)
  • SMS Kaiserin Augusta (1892)
  • SMS Gefion (1893)
  • SMS Hela (1895)
  • Victoria Louise class (1896)
  • Fürst Bismarck (1897)
  • Gazelle class (1898)
  • Prinz Adalbert class (1901)
  • Prinz heinrich (1900)
  • Bremen class (1902)
  • Könisgberg class (1905)
  • Roon class (1905)
  • Scharnhorst class (1906)
  • Dresden class (1907)
  • Nautilus class (1906)
  • Kolberg class (1908)
  • Magdeburg class (1911)
  • Karlsruhe class (1912)
  • Graudenz class (1914)
  • Pillau class (1914)
  • Brummer class (1915)
  • Wiesbaden class (1915)
  • Königsberg(ii) class (1915)
  • Cöln class (1916)
  • WW1 German Commerce Raiders
  • SMS Seeadler (1888)
  • WW1 German Destroyers
  • WW1 German Submarines
  • Brandtaucher
  • U-139 class
  • U-142 class
  • UB-II class
  • UB-III class
  • UC-II class
  • Deutschland
  • UE-II class
  • WW1 German Torpedo Boats
  • ww1 German gunboats
  • ww1 German minesweepers
  • ww1 German MTBs
  • Monarch class coastal BS (1895)
  • Habsburg class
  • Herzherzog Karl class
  • Radetzky class (1908)
  • SMS Kaiser Karl IV (1898)
  • SMS Sankt Georg (1903)
  • Tegetthoff class (1911)
  • Kaiser Franz Joseph I class (1889)
  • Kaiserin und Königin Maria Theresia
  • Admiral Spaun/Novara
  • Panther class (1885)
  • Zara class (1880)
  • Austro-Hungarian Destroyers
  • Tatra class Destroyers
  • Austro-Hungarian Submarines
  • Austro-Hungarian Torpedo Boats
  • Versuchsgleitboot
  • Barbarossa class battleships (1892)
  • Yavuz (1914)
  • Cruiser Mecidieh (1903)
  • Cruiser Hamidieh (1903)
  • Cruiser Midilli (1914)
  • Namet Torpedo cruisers (1890)
  • Sahahani Deria Torpedo cruisers (1892)
  • Destroyers class Berk-Efshan (1894)
  • Destroyers class Yarishar (1907)
  • Destroyers class Muavenet (1909)
  • Berk i Savket class Torpedo gunboats (1906)
  • Marmaris gunboat (1903)
  • Sedd ul Bahr class gunboats (1907)
  • Isa Reis class gunboats (1911)
  • Preveze class gunboats (1912)
  • Turkish WW1 Torpedo Boats
  • Turkish Armed Yachts (1861-1903)
  • Turkish WW1 Minelayers

⚑ Neutral Countries

  • Alm. Brown Corvette (1880)
  • Cruiser Patagonia (1885)
  • Libertad class CBC (1890)
  • Cruiser 25 de Mayo (1890)
  • Cruiser Nueve de Julio (1892)
  • Cruiser Buenos Aires (1895)
  • Garibaldi class cruisers (1895)
  • Espora class TGB (1890)
  • Patria class TGB (1893)
  • Argentinian TBs (1880-98)
  • Marsh. Deodoro class (1898)
  • Riachuelo (1883)
  • Minas Geraes class (1908)
  • Cruiser Alm. Tamandaré (1890)
  • Cruiser Republica (1892)
  • Cruiser Alm. Barrozo (1892)
  • TT Gunboat Talayo (1892)
  • Brazilian TBs (1879-1893)
  • BS Alm. Latorre (1913)
  • BS Capitan Prat (1890)
  • Pdt. Errazuriz class (1890)
  • Blanco Encalada (1893)
  • Esmeralda (1894)
  • Ministro Zenteno (1896)
  • O'Higgins (1897)
  • Chacabuco (1898)
  • TGB Almirante Lynch (1890)
  • TGB Alm. Sampson (1896)
  • Chilean TBs (1880-1902)
  • Gunboat Baire (1906)
  • Gunboat Patria (1911)
  • Diez de octubre class GB (1911)
  • Sloop Cuba (1911)
  • GB Toussaint Louverture (1886)
  • GB Capois la Mort (1893)
  • GB Crete a Pierot (1895)

Mexican Navy

  • Cruiser Zatagosa (1891)
  • GB Plan de Guadalupe (1892)
  • Tampico class GB (1902)
  • N. Bravo class GB (1903)

Peruvian Navy 1914

  • Almirante Grau class (1906)
  • Ferre class subs. (1912)
  • Cruiser Nadezhda (1898)
  • Drski class TBs (1906)
  • Skjold class (1896)
  • Herluf Trolle class (1899)
  • Herluf Trolle (1908)
  • Niels Iuel (1918)
  • Hekla class cruisers (1890)
  • Valkyrien class cruisers (1888)
  • Fyen class crusiers (1882)
  • Danish TBs (1879-1918)
  • Danish Submarines (1909-1920)
  • Danish Minelayer/sweepers
  • Kilkis class
  • Giorgios Averof class
  • Eversten class (1894)
  • Konigin Regentes class (1900)
  • De Zeven Provincien (1909)
  • Dutch dreadnought (project)
  • Holland class cruisers (1896)
  • Fret class destroyers
  • Dutch Torpedo boats
  • Dutch gunboats
  • Dutch submarines
  • Dutch minelayers
  • Haarfarge class (1897)
  • Norge class (1900)
  • Norwegian Monitors
  • Cr. Frithjof (1895)
  • Cr. Viking (1891)
  • DD Draug (1908)
  • Norwegian ww1 TBs
  • Norwegian ww1 Gunboats
  • Sub. Kobben (1909)
  • Ml. Fröya (1916)
  • Ml. Glommen (1917)

Portuguese navy 1914

  • Cruiser Adamastor (1896)
  • Sao Gabriel class (1898)
  • Cruiser Dom Carlos I (1898)
  • Cruiser Rainha Dona Amelia (1899)
  • Portuguese ww1 Destroyers
  • Portuguese ww1 Submersibles
  • Portuguese ww1 Gunboats
  • Elisabeta (1885)

Spanish Armada

  • España class Battleships (1912)
  • Velasco class (1885)
  • Cataluna class (1896)
  • Plata class (1898)
  • Estramadura class (1900)
  • Reina Regentes class (1906)
  • Spanish Destroyers
  • Spanish Torpedo Boats
  • Spanish Sloops/Gunboats
  • Spanish Submarines
  • Spanish Armada 1898
  • Svea class (1886)
  • Oden class (1896)
  • Dristigheten (1900)
  • Äran class (1901)
  • Oscar II (1905)
  • Sverige class (1915)
  • J. Ericsson class (1865)
  • Gerda class (1871)
  • Berserk (1873)
  • HMS Fylgia (1905)
  • Clas Fleming class (1912)
  • Swedish Torpedo cruisers
  • Swedish destroyers
  • Swedish Torpedo Boats
  • Swedish gunboats
  • Swedish submarines
  • Dingyuan class Ironclads (1881)
  • Hai Ching class (1874)
  • Wei Yuan class (1878)
  • Chao Yung class (1880)
  • Nan T'an class (1883)
  • Pao Min (1885)
  • King Ching class (1885)
  • Tung Chi class (1895)
  • Hai Yung class (1897)
  • Hai Tien class (1898)
  • Chao Ho class (1911)
  • Gunboats (1867-1918)
  • Fu Po class Gunboats (1870)
  • Torpedo gunboats (1891-1900)
  • Destroyers (1906-1912)
  • Torpedo boats (1883-1902)
  • Maha Chakri (1892)
  • Thoon Kramon (1866)
  • Makrut Rajakumarn (1883)

⚏ WW1 3rd/4th rank navies

✪ allied ww2 fleets.

US ww2

  • WW2 US Battleships
  • Wyoming class (1911)
  • New York class (1912)
  • Nevada class (1914)
  • New Mexico class (1917)
  • Tennessee Class (1919)
  • Colorado class (1921)
  • North Carolina class (1940)
  • South Dakota class (1941)
  • Iowa class (1942)
  • Montana class (cancelled)
  • WW2 American Cruisers
  • Omaha class cruisers (1920)
  • Pensacola class heavy Cruisers (1928)
  • Northampton class heavy cruisers (1929)
  • Portland class heavy cruisers (1931)
  • New Orleans class cruisers (1933)
  • Brooklyn class cruisers (1936)
  • USS Wichita (1937)
  • Atlanta class light cruisers (1941)
  • Cleveland class light Cruisers (1942)
  • Baltimore class heavy cruisers (1942)
  • Alaska class heavy cruisers (1944)
  • WW2 USN Aircraft Carriers
  • USS Langley (1920)
  • Lexington class CVs (1927)
  • USS Ranger (CV-4)
  • USS Wasp (CV-7)
  • Yorktown class aircraft carriers (1936)
  • Long Island class (1940)
  • Independence class CVs (1942)
  • Essex class CVs (1942)
  • Bogue class CVEs (1942)
  • Sangamon class CVEs (1942)
  • Casablanca class CVEs (1942)
  • Commencement Bay class CVEs (1944)
  • Midway class CVs (1945)
  • Saipan class CVs (1945)
  • WW2 USN destroyers
  • Farragut class (1934)
  • Porter class (1935)
  • Mahan class (1935)
  • Gridley class (1936)
  • Bagley class (1936)
  • Somers class (1937)
  • Benham class (1938)
  • Sims class (1939)
  • Benson class (1939)
  • Gleaves class (1940)
  • Fletcher class (1942)
  • Sumner class (1943)
  • Gearing class (1944)
  • GMT Evarts class (1942)
  • TE Buckley class (1943)
  • TEV/WGT Rudderow class (1943)
  • DET/FMR Cannon class
  • Asheville/Tacoma class
  • WW2 US Submarines
  • Barracuda class
  • USS Argonaut
  • Narwhal class
  • USS Dolphin
  • Cachalot class
  • Porpoise class
  • Shark class
  • Perch class
  • Salmon class
  • Sargo class
  • Tambor class
  • Mackerel class
  • USS Terror (1941)
  • Raven class Mnsp (1940)
  • Admirable class Mnsp (1942)
  • Eagle class sub chasers (1918)
  • PC class sub chasers
  • SC class sub chasers
  • PCS class sub chasers
  • YMS class Mot. Mnsp
  • ww2 US gunboats
  • ww2 US seaplane tenders
  • USS Curtiss ST (1940)
  • Currituck class ST
  • Tangier class ST
  • Barnegat class ST
  • US Coast Guard
  • Northland class
  • Treasury class
  • Owasco class
  • Algonquin class
  • Thetis class
  • Active class
  • US Amphibious ships & crafts
  • US Amphibious Operations
  • Doyen class AT
  • Harris class AT
  • Dickman class AT
  • Bayfield class AT
  • Windsor class AT
  • Ormsby class AT
  • Funston class AT
  • Sumter class AT
  • Haskell class AT
  • Andromeda class AT
  • Gilliam class AT
  • APD-1 class LT
  • APD-37 class LT
  • LSV class LS
  • LSD class LS
  • Landing Ship Tank
  • LSM class LS
  • LSM(R) class SS
  • LCV class LC
  • LCVP class LC
  • LCM(3) class LC
  • LCP(L) class LC
  • LCP(R) class SC
  • LCL(L)(3) class FSC
  • LCS(S) class FSC

British ww2

  • WW2 British Battleships
  • Queen Elisabeth class (1913)
  • Nelson class (1925)
  • King George V class (1939)
  • Lion class (Started)
  • HMS Vanguard (1944)
  • HMS Hood (1920)
  • WW2 British Cruisers
  • British C class cruisers (1914-1922)
  • Hawkins class cruisers (1917)
  • British D class cruisers (1918)
  • Enterprise class cruisers (1919)
  • HMS Adventure (1924)
  • County class cruisers (1926)
  • York class cruisers (1929)
  • Surrey class cruisers (project)
  • Leander class cruisers (1931)
  • Arethusa class cruisers (1934)
  • Perth class cruisers (1934)
  • Town class cruisers (1936)
  • Dido class cruisers (1939)
  • Abdiel class cruisers (1939)
  • Fiji class cruisers (1941)
  • Bellona class cruisers (1942)
  • Swiftsure class cruisers (1943)
  • Tiger class cruisers (1944)
  • WW2 British Aircraft Carriers
  • HMS Eagle (1918)
  • Courageous class aircraft carriers (1928)
  • HMS Ark Royal (1937)
  • Illustrious class (1939)
  • HMS Indomitable (1940)
  • Implacable class (1942)
  • Malta class (project)
  • HMS Unicorn (1941)
  • Colossus class (1943)
  • Majestic class (1944)
  • Centaur class (started 1945)
  • HMS Archer (1939)
  • HMS Audacity (1941)
  • HMS Archer (1941)
  • HMS Activity (1941)
  • HMS Pretoria Castle (1941)
  • Avenger class (1941)
  • Attacker class (1941)
  • Ameer class (1942)
  • Merchant Aircraft Carriers (1942)
  • Nairana class (1943)
  • WW2 British Destroyers
  • Shakespeare class (1917)
  • Scott class (1818)
  • W class (1918)
  • A/B class (1926)
  • C/D class (1931)
  • G/H/I class (1935)
  • Tribal class (1937)
  • J/K/N class (1938)
  • Hunt class DE (1939)
  • L/M class (1940)
  • O/P class (1942)
  • Q/R class (1942)
  • S/T/U//V/W class (1942)
  • Z/ca class (1943)
  • Ch/Co/Cr class (1944)
  • Battle class (1945)
  • Weapon class (1945)
  • WW2 British submarines
  • L9 class (1918)
  • HMS X1 (1923)
  • Odin (O) class (1926)
  • Parthian (P) class (1929)
  • Rainbow (R) class (1930)
  • River (Thames) class (1932)
  • Swordfish (S) class (1932)
  • Grampus class (1935)
  • Shark class (1934)
  • Triton class (1937)
  • Undine class (1937)
  • U class (1940)
  • S class (1941)
  • T class (1941)
  • X-Craft midget (1942)
  • A class (1944)
  • WW2 British Amphibious Ships and Landing Crafts
  • LSI(L) class
  • LSI(M/S) class
  • LSI(H) class
  • Boxer class LST
  • LST(2) class
  • LST(3) class
  • LSH(L) class
  • LSF classes (all)
  • LCI(S) class
  • LCI(L) class
  • LCS(L2) class
  • LCG(M)(1) class
  • WW2 British MTB/gunboats
  • WW2 British MTBs
  • MTB-1 class (1936)
  • MTB-24 class (1939)
  • MTB-41 class (1940)
  • MTB-424 class (1944)
  • MTB-601 class (1942)
  • MA/SB class (1938)
  • MTB-412 class (1942)
  • MGB 6 class (1939)
  • MGB-47 class (1940)
  • MGB 321 (1941)
  • MGB 501 class (1942)
  • MGB 511 class (1944)
  • MGB 601 class (1942)
  • MGB 2001 class (1943)
  • WW2 British Gunboats
  • Denny class (1941)
  • Fairmile A (1940)
  • Fairmile B (1940)
  • HDML class (1940)
  • WW2 British Sloops
  • Bridgewater class (2090)
  • Hastings class (1930)
  • Shoreham class (1930)
  • Grimsby class (1934)
  • Bittern class (1937)
  • Egret class (1938)
  • Black Swan class (1939)
  • River class (1942)
  • Loch class (1944)
  • Bay class (1944)
  • Kingfisher class (1935)
  • Shearwater class (1939)
  • Flower class (1940)
  • Castle class (1943)
  • WW2 British Misc.
  • Roberts class monitors (1941)
  • Halcyon class minesweepers (1933)
  • Bangor class minesweepers (1940)
  • Bathurst class minesweepers (1940)
  • Algerine class minesweepers (1941)
  • Motor Minesweepers (1937)
  • ww2 British ASW trawlers
  • Basset class trawlers (1935)
  • Tree class trawlers (1939)
  • HMS Albatross seaplane carrier
  • WW2 British river gunboats
  • HMS Guardian netlayer
  • HMS Protector netlayer
  • HMS Plover coastal mines.
  • Medway class sub depot ships
  • HMS Resource fleet repair
  • HMS Woolwhich DD depot ship
  • HMS Tyne DD depot ship
  • Maidstone class sub depot ships
  • HmS Adamant sub depot ship
  • Athene class aircraft transport
  • British ww2 AMCs
  • British ww2 OBVs
  • British ww2 ABVs
  • British ww2 Convoy Escorts
  • British ww2 APVs
  • British ww2 SSVs
  • British ww2 SGAVs
  • British ww2 Auxiliary Mines.
  • British ww2 CAAAVs
  • British ww2 Paddle Mines.
  • British ww2 MDVs
  • British ww2 Auxiliary Minelayers
  • British ww2 armed yachts

French ww2

  • WW2 French Battleships
  • Dunkerque class (1935)
  • Richelieu class (1940)
  • Gascoigne class (Project)
  • WW2 French cruisers
  • Duguay Trouin class (1923)
  • Duquesne class (1925)
  • Suffren class (1927)
  • Pluton (1929)
  • Jeanne d’Arc (1930)
  • Algérie (1930)
  • Emile Bertin (1933)
  • La Galissonnière class (1934)
  • De Grasse class (started)
  • St Louis class (started)
  • WW2 French Destroyers
  • Chacal class
  • Guepard class
  • Aigle class
  • Vauquelin class
  • Le Fantasque class
  • Mogador class
  • Bourrasque class
  • L'Adroit class
  • Le Hardi class
  • La Melpomene class TBs
  • Le fier class TBs
  • WW2 French Submarines
  • Requin class
  • 600/630 Tonnes class
  • Redoutable class
  • Saphir class (1928)
  • Surcouf (1929)
  • Aurore class (1939)
  • Morillot class (1940)
  • Emeraude class (project)
  • Phenix class (project)
  • Aircraft Carrier Béarn (1923)
  • Ct Teste seaplane carrier (1929)
  • Joffre class CVs (started)
  • French ASW sloops
  • Bougainville class Avisos
  • Elan class Minesweepers
  • Chamois class Minesweepers
  • French ww2 sub-chasers
  • Sans souci class seaplane tenders
  • ww2 French river gunboats
  • ww2 French AMCs

Soviet ww2

  • Sovetsky Soyuz class (started)
  • Kronstadt class battlecruisers
  • Krasny Kavkaz (1916)
  • Svetlana class cruisers (1920)
  • Kirov class cruisers (1934)
  • Chapayev class cruisers (1940)
  • WW2 Soviet Destroyers
  • Sverdlov (Novik 1911)
  • Leningrad class (1933)
  • Tashkent (1937)
  • Kiev class (1940)
  • Gnevnyi class (1936)
  • Storozhevoi class (1936)
  • Opytinyi (1935)
  • Ognevoi class (1940)
  • WW2 Soviet submarines
  • AG class (1920)
  • Series I (1928)
  • Series II (1931)
  • Series III (1930)
  • Series IV (1934)
  • Series V/V bis (1933)
  • Series VI/VI bis (1933)
  • Series IX/IX bis (1935)
  • Series X/X bis (1936)
  • Series XI (1935)
  • Series XIII/XIII bis (1937)
  • Series XV (1940)
  • Series XIV (1938)
  • Series XVI (1947)
  • Soviet ww2 Gunboats and Monitors
  • Soviet ww2 guardships
  • Soviet ww2 Minesweepers
  • Soviet ww2 Minelayers
  • Soviet ww2 MTBs
  • Soviet ww2 sub-chasers
  • Yosif Stalin class icebreakers

Royal Canadian Navy

  • Royal Canadian Navy
  • IROQUOIS class destroyers
  • Canadian RIVER class
  • Canadian LOCH class
  • Canadian FLOWER class
  • Improved Flower class
  • Canadian armed trawlers
  • Canadian MACS

Royal Australian Navy

  • Arunta class destroyers (1940)
  • HMAS Albatros (1928)
  • Barcoo class frigates (1943)
  • Yarra class sloops (1935)

Royal NZ Navy

  • HNLMS De Ruyter (1935)
  • Java class cruisers (1921)
  • Tromp Class Cruisers (1937)
  • Holland class battecruisers (project)
  • Eendracht class cruisers (project)
  • Dutch Submarines
  • Admiralen class destroyers
  • Tjerk Hiddes class destroyers
  • Dutch minelayers/minesweepers
  • Ning Hai class (1931)
  • WW2 Chinese Gunboats

✙ Axis ww2 Fleets

Japan ww2

  • WW2 Japanese Battleships
  • Kongō class Fast Battleships (1912)
  • Fuso class battleships (1915)
  • Ise class battleships (1917)
  • Nagato class Battleships (1919)
  • Yamato class Battleships (1941)
  • B41 class Battleships (project)
  • B64/65 Battlecruiser (1939-41)
  • WW2 Japanese cruisers
  • Tenryū class cruisers (1918)
  • Kuma class cruisers (1919)
  • Nagara class (1921)
  • Sendai class Cruisers (1923)
  • IJN Yūbari (1923)
  • Furutaka class Cruisers (1925)
  • Aoba class heavy cruisers (1926)
  • Nachi class Cruisers (1927)
  • Takao class cruisers (1930)
  • Mogami class cruisers (1934)
  • Tone class cruisers (1937)
  • Katori class cruisers (1939)
  • Agano class cruisers (1941)
  • Oyodo (1943)
  • Seaplane & Aircraft Carriers
  • IJN Hōshō (1921)
  • IJN Akagi (1925)
  • IJN Kaga (1927)
  • IJN Ryujo (1931)
  • IJN Soryu (1935)
  • IJN Hiryu (1937)
  • Shokaku class (1940)
  • Zuiho class (1937)
  • Ruyho (1933)
  • Hiyo class (1941)
  • Chitose class (1943)
  • IJN Taiho (1944)
  • IJN Shinano (1944)
  • Unryu class (1944)
  • IJN Ibuki (1942)
  • Taiyo class (1940)
  • IJN Kaiyo (1938)
  • IJN Shinyo (1934)
  • Notoro (1920)
  • Kamoi (1922)
  • Chitose class (1936)
  • Mizuho (1938)
  • Nisshin (1939)
  • IJN Aux. Seaplane tenders
  • Akistushima (1941)
  • Shimane Maru class (1944)
  • Yamashiro Maru class (1944)
  • Imperial Japanese Navy Aviation
  • WW2 Japanese Destroyers
  • Mutsuki class (1925)
  • Fubuki class (1927)
  • Akatsuki class (1932)
  • Hatsuharu class (1932)
  • Shiratsuyu class (1935)
  • Asashio class (1936)
  • Kagero class (1938)
  • Yugumo class (1941)
  • Akitsuki class (1941)
  • IJN Shimakaze (1942)
  • WW2 Japanese Submarines
  • KD1 class (1921)
  • Koryu class
  • Kaiten class
  • Kairyu class
  • IJN Midget subs
  • WW2 Japanese Amphibious ships/Crafts
  • Shinshu Maru class (1935)
  • Akistu Maru class (1941)
  • Kumano Maru class (1944)
  • SS class LS (1942)
  • T1 class LS (1944)
  • T101 class LS (1944)
  • T103 class LS (1944)
  • Shohatsu class LC (1941)
  • Chuhatsu class LC (1942)
  • Moku Daihatsu class (1942)
  • Toku Daihatsu class (1944)
  • WW2 Japanese minelayers
  • IJN Armed Merchant Cruisers
  • WW2 Japanese Escorts
  • Tomozuru class (1933)
  • Otori class (1935)
  • Matsu class (1944)
  • Tachibana class (1944)
  • WW2 IJN Gunboats
  • WW2 Japanese Sub-chasers
  • WW2 Japanese MLs
  • Shinyo class SB

italy ww2

  • WW2 Italian battleships
  • Littorio class battleships
  • Cavour class battleships
  • Doria class battleships (1916)
  • WW2 Italian Cruisers
  • Alberto di Giussano class
  • Trento class (1927)
  • Cadorna class (1931)
  • Zara class Cruisers (1931)
  • R. Montecuccoli class (1934)
  • Duca d'Aosta class (1935)
  • Duca degli Abruzzi class (1937)
  • Costanzo Ciano class (1939)
  • Capitani Romani class (1941)
  • Giuseppe Miraglia
  • Aircraft carrier Aquila
  • WW2 Italian Destroyers
  • Leone class destroyers
  • Sella class
  • Sauro class
  • Turbine class
  • Navigatori class
  • Freccia class
  • Folgore class
  • Maestrale class
  • Oriani class
  • Cdt Medaglie d'Oro class
  • WW2 Italian TBs
  • Spica class
  • Pegaso class
  • Ciclone class
  • Ariete class
  • WW2 Italian Submarines
  • Mameli class
  • Balilla class
  • Archimede class
  • Glauco class
  • Marcello class
  • Liuzzi class
  • Marconi class
  • Cagni class
  • Romolo class
  • Pisani class
  • Bandiera class
  • Squalo class
  • Bragadin class
  • Settembrini class
  • Argonauta class
  • Sirena class
  • Perla class
  • Acciaio class
  • Flutto class
  • ww2 Italian light MBs
  • MS class boats
  • VAS class ASW boats
  • MTS class (1940)
  • SLC/SSB class
  • Eritrea sloop (1936)
  • Diana sloop (1942)
  • Gabbaiano class Corvettes (1942)
  • Italian minelayers
  • Italian gunboats

German ww2

  • ww2 german battleships
  • Bismarck class Battleships (1940)
  • Scharnhorst class battleships (1936)
  • Deutschland class Cruisers (1931)
  • K class Battleships
  • ww2 german cruisers
  • KMS Emden (1925)
  • Königsberg class cruisers (1927)
  • Leipzig class cruisers (1929)
  • Hipper class cruisers (1937)
  • KMS Graf Zeppelin (1939)
  • WW2 German submarines: U-Boats
  • Seeteufel (1944)
  • Type Ia U-Boats (1936)
  • Type II U-Boats (1935)
  • Type IX U-Boats (1936)
  • Type VII U-Boats (1933)
  • Type XB U-Boats (1941)
  • Type XIV U-Boats (1941)
  • Type XVII U-Boats (1945)
  • Type XXI U-Boats (1944)
  • Type XXIII U-Boats (1944)
  • Prototype U-Boats (1942-45)
  • German mini-subs and human torpedoes
  • WW2 German Destroyers
  • 1934/34A Type
  • Beute Zerstörer
  • Spähkreuzer (1940)
  • WW2 German Torpedo Boats
  • F class escorts
  • ww2 German minesweepers
  • S-Bootes (E-Boats)
  • Other Light Boats
  • Manta (paper project, 1944)
  • WW2 German Amphibious Ships
  • German Commerce Raiders
  • Bremse minelayer
  • Brummer minelayer
  • Brummer(II) minelayer
  • Saar U-tender
  • Bauer class U-tenders
  • Nordsee S-tender
  • Tsingtau S-tender
  • Tanga S-tender
  • Lüderitz class S-tenders
  • Nachtigal class tenders
  • Grille staadtjacht/minelayer
  • Hela tender
  • Castor minelayer
  • Togo AA Cd ship

⚑ Neutral Navies

Armada de Argentina

  • Rivadavia class Battleships
  • Cruiser La Argentina
  • Veinticinco de Mayo class cruisers
  • Argentinian Destroyers
  • Santa Fe class sub.
  • Bouchard class minesweepers
  • King class patrol vessels

Marinha do Brasil

  • Minas Gerais class Battleships (1912)
  • Bahia class cruisers
  • Brazilian Destroyers
  • Humaita class sub.
  • Tupi class sub.
  • Almirante Latorre class battleships
  • Cruiser Esmeralda (1896)
  • Cruiser Chacabuco (1911)
  • Chilean DDs
  • Fresia class subs
  • Capitan O’Brien class subs
  • Danish ww2 Torpedo-Boats
  • Danish ww2 submarines
  • Danish ww2 minelayer/sweepers


  • Coastal BB Vainamoinen
  • Finnish ww2 submarines
  • Finnish ww2 minelayers
  • Greek ww2 Destroyers
  • Greek ww2 submarines
  • Greek ww2 minelayers

Marynarka Vojenna

  • Cruiser ORP Dragon
  • Cruiser ORP Conrad
  • Brislawicka class Destroyers
  • Witcher ww2 Destroyers
  • Minelayer Gryf
  • Wilk class sub.
  • Orzel class sub.
  • Jakolska class minesweepers
  • Polish Monitors

Portuguese navy ww2

  • Douro class DDs
  • Delfim class sub
  • Velho class gb
  • Albuquerque class gb
  • Nunes class sloops
  • Romanian ww2 Destroyers
  • Romanian ww2 Submarines

Royal Norwegian Navy

  • Norwegian ww2 Torpedo-Boats

Spanish Armada

  • España class Battleships
  • Blas de Lezo class cruisers
  • Canarias class cruisers
  • Cervera class cruisers
  • Cruiser Navarra
  • Dédalo Seaplane Carrier
  • Spanish Gunboats
  • Spanish Minelayers

Türk Donanmasi

  • Kocatepe class Destroyers
  • Tinaztepe class Destroyers
  • İnönü class submarines
  • Submarine Dumplumpynar
  • Submarine Sakarya
  • Submarine Gur
  • Submarine Batiray
  • Atilay class submarines

Royal Yugoslav Navy

  • Cruiser Dalmacija
  • Dubrovnik class DDs
  • Beograd class DDs
  • Osvetnik class subs
  • Hrabi class subs
  • Gunboat Beli Orao
  • Taksin class
  • Ratanakosindra class
  • Sri Ayuthia class
  • Puket class
  • Tachin class
  • Sinsamudar class sub

1800s sailboat

☢ The Cold War

☭ warsaw pact.

Sovietskaya Flota

  • Chapayev class (1945)
  • Kynda class (1961)
  • Kresta I class (1964)
  • Kresta II class (1968)
  • Kara class (1969)
  • Kirov class (1977)
  • Slava class (1979)
  • Moksva class (1965)
  • Kiev class (1975)
  • Kusnetsov class aircraft carriers (1988)
  • Skoryi class destroyers (1948)
  • Neustrashimyy (1951)
  • Kotlin class (1953)
  • Kildin class (1959)
  • Krupny class (1959)
  • Kashin class (1963)
  • Kanin class (1967)
  • Sovremenny class (1978)
  • Udaloy class (1980)
  • Project Anchar DDN (1988)
  • Kola class (1951)
  • Riga class (1954)
  • Petya class (1960)
  • Mirka class (1964)
  • Grisha class (1968)
  • Krivak class (1970)
  • Koni class (1976)
  • Neustrashimyy class (1988)
  • Poti class (1962)
  • Nanuchka class (1968)
  • Pauk class (1978)
  • Tarantul class (1981)
  • Dergach class (1987)
  • Svetlyak class (1989)
  • Whiskey SSK (1948)
  • Zulu SSK (1952)
  • Quebec SSK (1950)
  • Romeo SSK (1957)
  • November SSN (1957)
  • Golf SSB (1957)
  • Hotel SSBN (1959)
  • Echo I SSGN (1959)
  • Echo II SSGN (1961)
  • Juliett SSG (1962)
  • Foxtrot SSK (1963)
  • Victor SSN I (1965)
  • Yankee SSBN (1966)
  • Alfa SSN (1967)
  • Charlie SSGN (1968)
  • Papa SSGN (1968)
  • Victor II SSN (1971)
  • Tango SSK (1972)
  • Delta I SSBN (1972)
  • Delta II SSBN (1975)
  • Victor III SSN (1977)
  • Delta III SSBN (1976)
  • Delta IV SSBN (1980)
  • Typhoon SSBN (1980)
  • Oscar SSGN (1980)
  • Sierra SSN (1982)
  • Mike SSN (1983)
  • Akula SSN (1984)
  • Kilo SSK (1986)
  • P2 class FACs
  • P4 class FACs
  • P6 class FACs
  • P8 class FACs
  • P10 class FACs
  • Komar class FACs (1960)
  • Project 184 FACs
  • OSA class FACs
  • Shershen class FACs
  • Mol class FACs
  • Turya class HFL
  • Matka class HFL
  • Pchela class FACs
  • Sarancha class HFL
  • Babochka class HFL
  • Mukha class HFL
  • Muravey class HFL
  • MO-V sub-chasers
  • MO-VI sub-chasers
  • Stenka class sub-chasers
  • kronstadt class PBs
  • SO-I class PBs
  • Poluchat class PBs
  • Zhuk clas PBs
  • MO-105 sub-chasers
  • Project 191 River Gunboats
  • Shmel class river GB
  • Yaz class river GB
  • Piyavka class river GB
  • Vosh class river GB
  • Saygak class river GB
  • Yurka class
  • Gorya class
  • Project 255 class
  • Sasha class
  • Vanya class
  • Zhenya class
  • Almaz class
  • Sonya class
  • Yevgenya class
  • Andryusha class
  • Ilyusha class
  • Alesha class
  • Rybak class
  • Baltika class
  • SChS-150 class
  • Project 696 class
  • MP 10 class
  • Polocny class
  • Ropucha class
  • Alligator class
  • Ivan Rogov class
  • Aist class HVC
  • Pomornik class HVC
  • Gus class HVC
  • T-4 class LC
  • Ondatra class LC
  • Lebed class HVC
  • Tsaplya class HVC
  • Utenov class

Warsaw Pact cold war navy

  • Parchim class corvettes (1985)
  • Hai class sub-chasers (1958)
  • Volksmarine's minesweepers
  • Volksmarine's FAC
  • Volksmarine's Landing ships

1800s sailboat

  • ORP Warzsawa (1970)
  • ORP Kaszub (1986)
  • Polish Landing ships
  • Polish FACs
  • Polish Patrol ships
  • Polish Minesweepers

1800s sailboat

  • Missile Destroyer Muntenia (1982)
  • Tetal class Frigates (1981)
  • Romanian river patrol crafts



  • Zerstorer class DDs (1958)
  • Hamburg class DDs (1960)
  • Lütjens class missile DDs (1965)
  • Gneisenau class FFs (1958)
  • Scharnhorst class FFs (1959)
  • Köln class FFs (1958)
  • Deutschland FFG (1960)
  • Bremen class FFs (1979)
  • Brandenbug class FFs (1992)
  • Hai class SSK (1957)
  • Type 201 class SSK (1961)
  • Type 202 class SSK (1965)
  • Type 205 class SSK (1962)
  • Type 206 class SSK (1971)
  • Type 209 class SSK (1972)
  • Bundesmarine amphibious ships
  • Thetis class corvettes
  • Corvette Hans Burkner
  • Rhein class suppert ships
  • Mosel class support ships
  • Lahn class support ships
  • Silbermöwe class FACs
  • Jaguar class FACs
  • Hugin/Pfeil FACs
  • Zobel class FACs
  • S41 class FACs
  • S61 class FACs
  • S71 class FACs
  • KW class PBs
  • Kw 15 class PBs
  • Neustadt class PBs
  • Bamberg class minelayers
  • Sachsenwald class mine transports
  • Type 319 minesweepers
  • Lindau class minesweepers
  • Vegesack class minesweepers
  • Schutze class minesweepers
  • Bundesmarine R Boote
  • Hansa inshore Ms.
  • Ariadne class inshore Ms.
  • Frauenlob class inshore Ms.
  • Holnis class indhore Ms.
  • Hameln class indhore Ms.
  • Frankentahl class indhore Ms.
  • Hvidbjornen class Frigates (1962)
  • Frigate Beskytteren (1976)
  • Peder Skram class Frigates (1965)
  • Thetis class frigates (1989)
  • Bellona class corvettes (1955)
  • Niels Juel class corvettes (1979)
  • Delfinen class submarines (1958)
  • Narhvalen class submarines (1970)
  • Bille class Torpedo Boats (1946)
  • Flyvefisken class Torpedo Boats (1954)
  • Falken class Torpedo Boats (1960)
  • Soloven class Torpedo Boats (1962)
  • Willemoes class FAC (1976)
  • Flyvefisken class FAC (1989)
  • Daphne class Patrol Boats (1960)
  • Danish Minelayers
  • Danish Minesweepers
  • CV Karel Doorman (1948)
  • De Zeven Provinciën class cruisers (1945)
  • Holland class DDs (1953)
  • Friesland class DDs (1953)
  • Roodfier class Frigates (1953)
  • Frigate Lynx (1954)
  • Van Speijk class Frigates (1965)
  • Tromp class Frigates (1973)
  • Kortenaer class frigates (1976)
  • Van H. class Frigates (1983)
  • K. Doorman class Frigates (1988)
  • Dolfijn clas sub. (1959)
  • Zwaardvis class subs. (1970)
  • Walrus class subs. (1985)
  • ATD Rotterdam (1990s)
  • Dokkum class minesweepers (1954)
  • Alkmaar class minesweepers (1982)
  • Hydra class FFs (1990)
  • Greek cold war Subs
  • Greek Amphibious ships
  • Greek MTBs/FACs
  • Greek Patrol Vessels

Marina Militare

  • Giuseppe Garibaldi (1983)
  • Conte di Cavour (2004)*
  • Trieste (2022)*
  • Missile cruiser Garibaldi (1960)
  • Doria class H. cruisers (1962)
  • Vittorio Veneto (1969)
  • Impetuoso class (1956)
  • Impavido class (1957)
  • Audace class (1971)
  • De La Penne class (1989)
  • Orizzonte class (2007)*
  • Grecale class (1949)
  • Canopo class (1955)
  • Bergamini class (1960)
  • Alpino class (1967)
  • Lupo class (1976)
  • Maestrale class (1981)
  • Bergamini class (2013)*
  • Thaon di Revel class (2020)*
  • Albatros class (1954)
  • De Cristofaro class (1965)
  • Minerva class (1987)
  • Cassiopeia class (1989)
  • Esploratore class (1997)*
  • Sirio class (2003)*
  • Commandanti class (2004)*
  • Toti class (1967)
  • Sauro class (1976)
  • Pelosi class (1986)
  • Sauro class (1992)*
  • Todaro class (2006)*
  • San Giorgio LSD (1987)
  • Gorgona class CTS (1987)
  • Italian Landing Crafts (1947-2020)
  • Folgore PB (1952)
  • Lampo class PBs (1960)
  • Freccia class PBs (1965)
  • Sparviero class GMHF (1973)
  • Stromboli class AOR (1975)
  • Anteo SRS (1980)
  • Etna class LSS (1988)
  • Vulcano AOR (1998)*
  • Elettra EWSS (2003)*
  • Etna AOR (2021)*
  • Lerici class (1982)
  • Gaeta class (1992)*

Marine Française

  • Jean Bart (1949)
  • Dixmude (1946)
  • Arromanches (1946)
  • Lafayette class light carriers (1954)
  • PA 28 class project (1947)
  • Clemenceau class (1957)
  • Jeanne d'Arc (1961)
  • PA 58 (1958)
  • PH 75/79 (1975)
  • Charles de Gaulle (1994)
  • De Grasse (1946)
  • Chateaurenault class (1950)
  • Colbert (1956)
  • Surcouf class (1953)
  • Duperre class (1956)
  • La Galissonniere class (1960)
  • Suffren class (1965)
  • Aconit (1970)
  • Tourville class (1972)
  • G. Leygues class (1976)
  • Cassard class (1985)
  • Le Corse class (1952)
  • Le Normand class (1954)
  • Cdt Riviere class (1958)
  • Estiennes D'Orves class (1973)
  • Lafayette class (1990)
  • Floreal class (1990)
  • La Creole class (1940)
  • Narval class (1954)
  • Arethuse class (1957)
  • Daphne class (1959)
  • Gymnote test SSBN (1964)
  • Le Redoutable SSBN (1967)
  • Agosta SSN (1974)
  • Rubis SSN (1979)
  • Amethyste SSN (1988)
  • Le Triomphant SSBN (started 1989)
  • Issole (1958)
  • EDIC class (1958)
  • Trieux class (1958)
  • Ouragan lass (1963)
  • Champlain lass (1973)
  • Bougainville (1986)
  • Foudre class (1988)
  • CDIC lass (1989)
  • Le Fougueux class (1958)
  • La Combattante class (1964)
  • Trident class (1976)
  • L'Audacieuse class (1984)
  • Grebe class (1989)
  • Sirius class (1952)
  • Circe class (1972)
  • Eridan class (1979)
  • Vulcain class (1986)

Portuguese navy ww2

  • Alm. P. da Silva-class (1963)
  • Joao Belo class (1966)
  • Coutinho class (1969)
  • B. de Andrada class (1972)
  • V. De Gama class (1989)


  • HCMS Bonaventure (1957)
  • St Laurent class DDE (1951)
  • Algonquin class DDE (1952)
  • Restigouche class DDs (1954)
  • Mackenzie class DDs (1961)
  • Annapolis class DDH (1963)
  • Iroquois class DDH (1970)
  • River (mod) 1955
  • Tribal class FFs (Pjct)
  • City class DDH (1988)
  • Ojibwa class sub. (1964)
  • Kingston class MCFV (1995)

Royal Navy

  • Cold War Aircraft Carriers
  • Centaur class (1947)
  • HMS Victorious (1957)
  • HMS Eagle (1946)
  • HMS Ark Royal (1950)
  • HMS Hermes (1953)
  • CVA-01 class (1966 project)
  • Invincible class (1977)
  • Tiger class (1945)
  • Daring class (1949)
  • 1953 design (project)
  • Cavendish class (1944)
  • FADEP program (1946)
  • County class GMD (1959)
  • Bristol class GMD (1969)
  • Sheffield class GMD (1971)
  • Manchester class GMD (1980)
  • Type 43 GMD (1974)
  • Rapid class (1942)
  • Tenacious class (1941)
  • Whitby class (1954)
  • Blackwood class (1953)
  • Leopard class (1954)
  • Salisbury class (1953)
  • Tribal class (1959)
  • Rothesay class (1957)
  • Leander class (1961)
  • BB Leander class (1967)
  • HMS Mermaid (1966)
  • Amazon class (1971)
  • Broadsword class (1976)
  • Boxer class (1981)
  • Cornwall class (1985)
  • Duke class (1987)
  • T class (1944)
  • Amphion class (1944)
  • Explorer class (1954)
  • Stickleback class (1954)
  • Porpoise class (1956)
  • Oberon class (1959)
  • HMS Dreanought SSN (1960)
  • Valiant class SSN (1963)
  • Resolution class SSBN (1966)
  • Swiftsure class SSN (1971)
  • Trafalgar class SSN (1981)
  • Upholder class (1986)
  • Vanguard class SSBN (started)
  • Fearless class (1963)
  • HMS Ocean (started)
  • Sir Lancelot LLS (1963)
  • Sir Galahad (1986)
  • Ardennes/Avon class (1976)
  • Brit. LCVPs (1963)
  • Brit. LCM(9) (1980)
  • Ton class (1952)
  • Ham class (1947)
  • Ley class (1952)
  • HMS Abdiel (1967)
  • HMS Wilton (1972)
  • Hunt class (1978)
  • Venturer class (1979)
  • River class (1983)
  • Sandown class (1988)
  • HMS Argus ATS (1988)
  • Ford class SDF (1951)
  • Cormorant class (1985)
  • Kingfisger class (1974)
  • HMS Jura OPV (1975)
  • Island class OPVs (1976)
  • HMS Speedy PHDF (1979)
  • Castle class OPVs (1980)
  • Peacock class OPVs (1982)
  • MBT 538 class (1948)
  • Gay class FACs (1952)
  • Dark class FACs (1954)
  • Bold class FACs (1955)
  • Brave class FACs (1957)
  • Tenacity class PCs (1967)
  • Brave class FPCs (1969)

Armada de espanola - Spanish cold war navy

  • Dédalo aircraft carrier (1967)
  • Principe de Asturias (1982)
  • Liniers class DDs (1946)
  • Oquendo class DDs (1956)
  • Audaz class FFs (1955)
  • Baleares class FFs (1971)
  • Descubierta class FFs (1978)
  • Numancia class FFs (1987)
  • Pizarro class gunboats (1944)
  • Artevida class Cvs (1952)
  • Serviola class Cvs (1990)
  • Spanish cold-war submarines
  • Spanish FACs
  • Spanish Minesweepers

Turkish Navy

  • Berk class FFs (1971)
  • Atilay class sub. (1974)
  • Cakabey class LST
  • Osman Gazi class LST
  • Turkish Fast Attack Crafts
  • Turkish Patrol Boats

US Navy

  • Aircraft carriers
  • United States class (1950)
  • Essex cold war
  • Midway class (mod)
  • Forrestal class (1954)
  • Kitty Hawk class (1960)
  • USS Enterprise (1960)
  • Nimitz Class (1972)
  • Iowa Class (cold war)
  • Des Moines Class (1947)
  • Worcester Class (1948)
  • Boston Class (1955)
  • Galveston Class (1958)
  • Providence Class (1958)
  • Albany Class (1962)
  • USS Long Beach (1960)
  • Leahy Class (1961)
  • USS Bainbridge (1961)
  • Belknap Class (1963)
  • USS Truxtun (1964)
  • California Class (1971)
  • Virginia Class (1974)
  • CSGN Class (1976)
  • Ticonderoga Class (1981)
  • Mitscher class (1952)
  • Fletcher DDE (1950s)
  • USS Norfolk (1953)
  • F. Sherman class (1956)
  • Farragut class (1958)
  • Charles F. Adams class (1958)
  • Gearing FRAM I class (1960s)
  • Sumner FRAM II class (1970s)
  • Spruance class (1975)
  • Dealey class (1953)
  • Claud Jones class (1958)
  • Bronstein class (1962)
  • Garcia class (1963)
  • Brooke class (1963)
  • Knox class (1966)
  • OH Perry class (1976)
  • Guppy class Submarines (1946-59)
  • Barracuda class SSK (1951)
  • Tang class SSK (1951)
  • USS Darter SSK (1956)
  • Mackerel (T1) class SSK (1953)
  • USS Albacore SSK (1953)
  • USS X1 Midget subs (1955)
  • Barbel class SSK (1958)
  • USS Nautilus SSN (1954)
  • USS Seawolf SSN (1955)
  • Skate class SSN (1957)
  • Skipjack class SSN (1958)
  • USS Tullibee SSN (1960)
  • Tresher/Permit class SSN (1960)
  • Sturgeon class SSN (1963)
  • Los Angeles class SSN (1974)
  • Seawolf class SSN (1989)
  • Grayback class SSBN (1957)
  • USS Halibut SSBN (1959)
  • Gato SSG (1960s)
  • G. Washington class SSBN (1959)
  • E. Allen class SSBN (1960)
  • Lafayette class SSBN (1962)
  • Ohio class SSBN (1979)
  • Migraine class RP (1950s)
  • Sailfish class RP (1955)
  • USS Triton class RP (1958)
  • Iwo Jima class HC (1960)
  • Tarawa class LHD (1973)
  • Wasp class LHD (1987)
  • Thomaston class LSD (1954)
  • Raleigh class LSD (1962)
  • Austin class LSD (1964)
  • Anchorage class LSD (1968)
  • Whibdey Island class LSD (1983)
  • Parish class LST (1952)
  • County class LST (1957)
  • Newport class LST (1968)
  • Tulare class APA (1953)
  • Charleston class APA (1967)
  • USS Carronade support ship (1953)
  • Agile class (1952)
  • Ability (1956)
  • Avenger (1987)
  • USS Cardinal (1983)
  • Adjutant class (1953)
  • USS Cove (1958)
  • USS Bittern (1957)
  • Minesweeping boats/launches
  • USS Northampton CS (1951)
  • Blue Ridge class CS (1969)
  • Wright class CS (1969)
  • PT812 class (1950)
  • Nasty class FAC (1962)
  • Osprey class FAC (1967)
  • Asheville class FACs (1966)
  • USN Hydrofoils (1962-81)
  • Vietnam Patrol Boats (1965-73)
  • Hamilton class (1965)
  • Reliance class (1963)
  • Bear class (1979)
  • cold war CG PBs



  • Eithne class PBs (1983)
  • Cliona class PBs
  • Deidre/Emer class PBs
  • Orla class fast PBs

Svenska Marinen

  • Tre Kronor class (1946)
  • Öland class DDs (1945)
  • Halland class DDs (1952) (1945)
  • Ostergotland class DDs (1956)
  • Spica III class Corvettes (1984)
  • Goteborg class Corvettes (1989)
  • U1 class subs (mod.1963)
  • Hajen class subs (1954)
  • Sjoormen class subs (1967)
  • Nacken class subs (1978)
  • Vastergotland class subs (1986)
  • Gotland class subs (1995)
  • T32 class MTBs (1951)
  • T42 class MTBs (1955)
  • Plejad class FACs (1951)
  • Spica I class FACs (1966)
  • Spica II class FACs (1972)
  • Hugin class FACs (1973)
  • Swedish Patrol Boats
  • Swedish minesweepers
  • Swedish Icebreakers

Yugoslav Navy

  • Destroyer Split (1950)
  • Kotor class Frigates (1984)
  • SUTJESKA class submarines (1958)
  • Heroj class submarines (1967)
  • SAVA class submarines (1977)
  • UNA class midget submarines (1985)
  • Mala class swimmer delivery vehicles
  • DTM 221 class landing craft
  • Type 21/22 class landing craft
  • Silba class landing ships
  • Minelayer Galeb (1950)
  • TYPE 201 fast attack craft
  • TYPE 240 fast attack craft
  • TYPE 400 Cobra FAC
  • MORNAR class OPV
  • TYPE 132 CPC
  • Mirna class CPC


1800s sailboat

  • Type 7 Anshan class (1955)
  • Type 051 Luda class (1972)
  • Type 052 Luhu Class (1991)
  • Type 065 Chengdu class (1956)
  • Type 065 Jiangnan class (1967)
  • Type 053K Jiangdong class (1973)
  • Type 053H Jianghu class (1977)
  • Type 053H2G Jiangwei I class (1990)
  • Type 03 class (1956)
  • Type 033 class (1963)
  • Ming class (1973)
  • Han class SSN (1970)
  • Xia class SSBN (1981)
  • Wuhan class SSBN (1987)
  • Huchuan class THF (1966)
  • Hoku class FAC (1965)
  • Huangfeng class FAC (1966)
  • Hola class FAC (1966)
  • Houxin/Houjian class FAC (1990s)
  • Yu Ling class LST (1971)
  • Yukan class LST (1978)
  • Yudao class LST (1980)
  • Yunnan class LC (1968)
  • Huangpu class RPC (1950)
  • Shantou class CPC (1956)
  • Shanghai class LPC (1959)
  • Hainan class LPC (1964)
  • Yulin class RPC (1964)
  • Haikou class LPC (1968)
  • Haijui class LPfC (1987)
  • Chinese Minesweepers

Indian Navy

  • Vikrant class CVs (1961)
  • Viraat class CVs (1986)
  • Cruiser Delhi (1948)
  • Cruiser Mysore (1957)
  • Raja class DDs (1949)
  • Rajput class DDs (1980)
  • Delhi class DDs (1990)
  • Khukri class FFs (1956)
  • Talwar class FFs (1958)
  • Brahmaputra class FFs (1957)
  • Nilgiri class FFs (1968)
  • Godavari class FFs (1980)
  • Kusura class subs (1970)
  • Shishumar class subs (1984)
  • Sindhugosh class subs (1986)
  • Indian Amphibious ships
  • Indian corvettes (1969-90)
  • Khukri class corvettes (1989)
  • SDB Mk.2 class PBs (1977)
  • Vikram class OPVs (1979)
  • Sukanya class OPVs (1989)


  • Fatahilla class Frigates (1977)
  • Pattimura class corvettes (1956)
  • Indonesian Marines
  • Indonesian Mine Vessels
  • Indonesian FAC/OPVs


  • Harukaze class DD (1955)
  • Ayanami class DD (1957)
  • Murasame class DD (1958)
  • Akizuki class DD (1959)
  • Amatukaze missile DD (1963)
  • Yamagumo class DDE (1965)
  • Takatsuki class DD (1966)
  • Minegumo class DDE (1967)
  • Haruna class DDH (1971)
  • Tachikaze class DD (1974)
  • Shirane class DDH (1978)
  • Hatsuyuki class DDs (1980)
  • Hatakaze class DDs (1984)
  • Asigiri class DDs (1986)
  • Kongo class DDs (started 1990)
  • Akebono class FFs (1955)
  • Isuzu class FFs (1961)
  • Chikugo class FFs (1970)
  • Ishikari class FFs (1980)
  • Yubari class FFs (1982)
  • Abukuma class FFs (1988)
  • Oyashio class Sub. (1959)
  • Hayashio class Sub. (1961)
  • Natsushio class Sub. (1963)
  • Oshio class Sub. (1964)
  • Uzushio class Sub. (1970)
  • Yushio class Sub. (1979)
  • Harushio class Sub. (1989)
  • Japanese Landing Ships
  • Japanese Large Patrol Ships
  • Japanese Patrol Crafts
  • Japanese Minesweepers
  • Japanese Sub-chasers

North Korean Navy

  • Najin class Frigates
  • Experimental Frigate Soho
  • Sariwan class Corvettes
  • Sinpo class subs.
  • Sang-O class subs.
  • Yono class subs.
  • Yugo class subs.
  • Hungnam class LCM
  • Hante class LST
  • Songjong class HVC
  • Sin Hung/Ku Song FACs
  • Anju class FACs
  • Iwon class FACs
  • Chaho class FACs
  • Hong Jin class FAC-G
  • Sohung class MTBs
  • Sinpo class MTBs
  • Nampo class FALC

Philippines Navy

  • Datu Kalantian class Frigates (1976)
  • Bacolod City class LS(L)
  • Philippino Patrol Crafts

Rep. of Korea Navy

  • Ulsan class frigates (1980)
  • Pohang class corvettes (1984)
  • Dong Hae class corvettes (1982)
  • Han Kang class patrol corvettes (1985)
  • Chamsuri (PKM 268) PBs (1978)
  • ROKS coast guard vessels
  • Paek Ku class FAC (1975)
  • Kang Keong class minehunters (1986)

Taiwanese Navy

  • Kwang Hua class FFs (1991)
  • Kwang Hua II class FFs (1993)
  • Hai Lung class sub. (1986)
  • LCU 1466 class LCU (1955)
  • Fuh Chow class FAC
  • Lung Chiang class FAC
  • Hai Ou class FAC(M)
  • MWW 50 class minehunters


Israeli Navy

  • Eilat class Corvettes (1993)
  • SAAR 5 Project
  • SAAR 4.5 FAC
  • Dvora class FAC
  • Shimrit class MHFs
  • IDF FACs/PBs
  • Etzion Geber LST
  • Ash class LCT

Iranian Navy

  • Destroyer Artemiz (1965)
  • Bayandor class FFs (1963)
  • Alvand class FFs (1969)
  • Khalije Fars class DDs (2016)*


Australian Navy

  • HMAS Sydney (1948*)
  • HMAS Melbourne (1955*)
  • Tobruk class DDs (1947)
  • Voyager class DDs (1952)
  • Perth class MDD (1963)
  • Quadrant class FFs (1953)
  • Yarra class FFs (1958)
  • Swan class FFs (1967)
  • Adelaide class MFFs (1978)
  • Anzac class MFFs (1990s)
  • Oxley class subs (1965)
  • Collins class subs (1990s)
  • Australian Amphibious ships
  • Fremantle class PBs


  • HMNZS Royalist (1956)
  • Pukaki class patrol Crafts (1974)
  • Moa class patrol crafts (1983)
  • HMNZS Aotearoa (2019)*

☩ South America

Armada de argentina

  • ARA Independencia (1958)
  • ARA Veinticinco de Mayo (1968)
  • Belgrano class cruisers (1951)
  • Almirante Brown class Frigates (1981)
  • Mantilla class corvettes (1981)
  • Espora class corvettes (1982)
  • Salta class submarines (1972)
  • Santa Cruz class submarines (1982)

Brazilian Navy

  • Minas Gerais aircraft carrier (1956)
  • Cruiser Barroso (1951)
  • Cruiser Tamandare (1951)
  • Acre class destroyers (1945)
  • Niteroi class Frigates (1974)
  • Ihnauma class Frigate (1986)
  • Tupi class submarines (1987)
  • Brazilian patrol ships
  • O'Higgins class cruisers
  • Lattore Cruiser (1971)
  • Almirante class destroyers (1960)
  • Prat class M. Destroyers (1982)
  • Almirante Lynch class Frigates (1972)
  • Thomson class subs (1982)
  • Small surface combatants

Chilean Navy

  • 7 de Agosto class destroyers (1956)
  • Padilla class Frigates (1982)
  • Intrepido class midget submarines (1972)

Peruvian Navy

  • Almirante Grau(ii) class
  • Almirante Grau(iii) class
  • Abtao class sub.
  • PR-72P class corvettes
  • Velarde class OPVs


Egyptian Navy

  • October class FAC/M (1975)
  • Ramadan class FAC/M (1979)


  • Wager class destroyers (1950)
  • President class Frigates (1960)
  • Maria Van Riebeeck class subs (1969)
  • Astrant class subs (1977)
  • Minister class FAC(M) (1977)
  • SANDF Minesweepers

Algerian Navy


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1800s sailboat

Life at sea in the age of sail

What did it mean to be 'tarred and feathered'?

Life at sea during the age of sail was filled with hardship. Sailors had to accept cramped conditions, disease, poor food and pay, and bad weather.

Over a period of hundreds of years, seafarers from the age of the early explorers to the time of the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805, shared many common experiences. Men working at sea had much to endure; cut off from normal life on shore for months, even years, they had to accept cramped conditions, disease, poor food and pay. Above all, they faced the daily dangers of sea and weather.

What was scurvy?

Why were punishments so harsh at sea.

A seaman's life was hard, and he had to be tough to survive, so ship's officers kept strict discipline on board. In this way they hoped to keep morale high and prevent mutiny.

Seamen could be ‘tarred and feathered’, tied to a rope, swung overboard and ducked or ‘keel-hauled’, dragged round the underneath of the ship. Flogging was the most common, with the whole crew often made to watch. A rope's end was used, or the infamous ‘cat o’ nine tails’. A seaman found guilty of mutiny or murder would be hanged from the yard arm.

What food was there on board a ship?

The main rations were salt beef or pork, cheese, fish, ale and some form of ship's biscuit. The quality of food deteriorated because of storage problems, lack of ventilation, and poor drainage. It was also affected by the presence of rats and other vermin on board.

What jobs were there on board?

Typical jobs on board included cook, parson, surgeon, master gunner, boatswain (in charge of the sails), carpenter and quartermaster. Other members of the crew would, of course, carry out all the duties, including keeping watch, handling sails, and cleaning decks.

It is interesting to note that the names for jobs of men responsible for working a ship (boatswain, coxswain, seamen) are of Anglo-Saxon origin, while those of officers (Captain, Lieutenant, Admiral) are of Norman-French origin. This is an indication of a class distinction between roles on board.

What were press gangs?

It was not always possible to fill ships’ crews with volunteers, especially in wartime, so the law allowed gangs to seize men and force them to join a ship. Pressing peaked in the 18th century but it was still going on as late as 1850.

What happened to sick seamen?

There was a great deal of sickness at sea. Seamen were often cold and wet, rats carried disease, and a poor diet not only caused malnutrition, but specific illnesses such as scurvy – caused by a lack of vitamin C in the diet.

As well as injury from shipboard accidents, there was risk of death or maiming in times of battle. Ships' surgeons worked in cramped and filthy conditions with no anaesthetic, so infection and gangrene was commonplace.

What sort of pay did seamen get?

By the end of the 1700s, pay on a naval ship was less than that on a merchant ship. However, as well as basic wages, sailors would expect to have a share of prize money or booty from captured enemy vessels.

What did seamen do off duty?

Traditionally hard-drinking and tough, seamen made the best of their cramped living quarters, enjoying games of dice and cards, telling tales, playing musical instruments, carving, drawing, practising knots or model making. They also sang ‘sea shanties’ – rhythmic work songs to help repetitive tasks such as hauling on ropes. 

1800s sailboat

Gifts inspired by life on board ship

1800s sailboat

A photo of a ship wheel on a black background

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Ship types of the 18th and 19th centuries

1800s sailboat

Source: Stephen B. Luce. Text-book of Seamanship: The Equipping and Handling of Vessels Under Sail or Steam; for the Use of the United States Naval Academy. New York: Van Nostrand Co., 1891. Plate 4.

This image shows types of sailing ships commonly used for deep-sea navigation in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. There were further types (galleasses, xebecs, luggers...) and various hybrid- and sub-types (gaff-rigged schooners, snows, galiots...), which are not depicted here. Note that "sloop" has a different meaning in naval contexts.

1. (Full-rigged) Ship: at least three masts, fully square-rigged

2. Barque: three to five masts with a fore-and-aft rigged mizzen mast

3. Barkentine: three masts, only the foremast is square-rigged

4. Three-mast schooner: three masts, fully fore-and-aft rigged

5. Brig: two masts, fully square-rigged

6. Hermaphrodite brig, schooner brig: two masts, with a square-rigged foremast and a fore-and-aft rigged main mast

7. Topsail schooner: at least two masts, at least one of them with a square-rigged masthead

8. Two-mast schooner: two masts, fully fore-and-aft rigged

9. Sloop: one mast with a main and a head sail

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1800s sailboat

Photo Credit: The grace of a frigate is captured in Nicholas Pocock’s painting of the Triton. Such ships were the eyes and messengers of the fleet.

The Frigate Sailing Ship: Pride of The British Royal Navy

The swift and sure steeds of the British Royal Navy's fighting sail fleet were its dashing and highly armed frigates.

This article appears in: February 2002

By John D. Gresham

Looking back on the age of fighting sail, a common image is that of battles between huge ships of the line, led by such famous admirals as Nelson and Collingwood. But such massive confrontations were rare, and much of Napoleonic era seapower actually was dull and mundane patrolling, cruising, and blockade duty off of enemy ports. I say “much,” because if there was an exception to the usual boredom of naval life, it was to be found aboard the greyhounds of sail-based naval presence, frigates. If ever there were glamorous ships in the dangerous world of wooden warships, they were the frigate sailing ships of the world’s navies.

Frigates were the ships to be on, if adventure, action, and a sense of glory were your idea of navy life in the age of sail. But not all frigates in the world’s navies were so pleasant to serve aboard. Clearly that honor went to those of the Royal Navy, which reached the zenith of its power during the Napoleonic Wars, from 1793 to 1815. Frigates were the true measure of British seapower, holding the line in peace and leading the fleet in war. Aboard the frigates of the Royal Navy were found the finest officers in the service and men who frequently sought duty aboard, not the “press” (forced recruiting) gangs of the era. Frigate captains were the equivalent of modern-day rock stars to the public, respected for their daring and achievements, sought out for their acquired prize wealth and influence. These were the greatest sailors of their time, wielding the most flexible weapons system of the age.

From Fighting Galleons to Frigate Sailing Ships

The sailing vessels that came to be called frigates had their origins in the fighting galleons of the 16th century. By the middle of the 17th century, they had begun to mature, developing the long, narrow lines that would be their trademark. Originally, these were the largest ships (called 4th Rate) not considered fit to stand in a line of battle, but still carrying at least 38 large-bore weapons on their gun decks. While they lacked the firepower, crew, or structure to slug it out in battle with the 1st (90 guns or more with three decks), 2nd (80 to 89 guns with three decks), or 3rd Rates (54 to 79 guns with two decks), they had the rigging (three masts) and speed (over 12 knots in a good wind) to run from such vessels.

On the other hand, 4th Rates could easily maneuver with and outgun the smaller 5th (with 18 to 37 guns, and often oars) and 6th (6 to 17 guns used for courier duty) Rate warships, along with the merchant vessels that were the reason for having a navy in the first place. These early frigates wound up being used for a variety of important tasks, ranging from scouting and reconnaissance ahead of the battle fleet to protecting convoys and commerce raiding on the high seas. Very quickly, navies everywhere began to see the value of frigates, both for their relatively low cost and ease of manning compared with ships of the line. Basically, frigates were fighting ships that could outrun anything that could hurt them and outgun anything that could catch them.

Over the next century, various countries evolved their own interpretations on the basic form of the frigate, each adding their own unique design ideas and touches. Some of these included the British trend of adding more sails and guns, the Dutch habit of making their vessels light with a shallow draft, and the garish French tradition of festooning their ships with ornate Baroque decorations, along with bow and stern guns. Along the way, the ratings of warships evolved as well, resulting in the classifications by the British Admiralty shown in the chart below.

In a classic duel between frigates, the British Shannon unleashes a broadside on the American Chesa- peake in 1813. Chesapeake’s captain James Lawrence said, “Don’t give up the ship!”

As can be seen from the chart, frigates sat solidly in the middle of the warship spectrum, continuing their tradition of being able to outrun more heavily armed vessels and defeat ships of similar speed and maneuverability. They also had another advantage, one rarely mentioned in the swashbuckling stories of the time: Frigates were often kept in service in both peace and war, while the majority of larger ships were normally “laid up” as a reserve fleet, activated only at the outbreak of hostilities. While this was done as a cost-saving measure, it had very important and positive effects on the fighting qualities of the frigates.

Because frigates were normally kept in commission even during peacetime, their captains and crews tended to be among the best a particular navy could offer. These captains were usually the most aggressive in the service, chosen for their ability to think and act in both war and peace.

The Finest Navy in the World (Because it Had to Be)

Although many nations had frigate sailing ships in their fleets, those of the Royal Navy set the standard for excellence during the Napoleonic Wars. In fact, the previous century had seen England become a worldwide superpower, a status enabled by the British fleet. What set its vessels apart was as much necessitated by geographic reality as the quality of their construction and crews. Then as now, Britain was an island nation, dependent upon freedom of the sea lanes to maintain the most basic of sustenance for its people. This fact had come into being during the time of Queen Elizabeth I and Sir Francis Drake, and has been the cornerstone of British military strategy for over 500 years. In short, the Royal Navy was the finest navy in the world because it had to be. Continental powers of the Napoleonic era like France and Spain might desire maritime trade, but for Britain it was literally the breath of life.

For the Royal Navy, deploying the finest sailing frigates of the era began with a solid design, one that was easy to build and economical with regard to critical strategic materials like hardwood and metals. This was essential, because almost everything that went into English warships except the crews and guns had to be imported over the very sea lanes they would eventually protect. All the same, these frigates had to be capable of slugging it out with enemy ships of similar size and firepower and sustaining voyages lasting months without repair or resupply. This meant balancing displacement, armament, crew size, and dozens of other factors into a specification that could be translated into the wooden walls of a warship. The Admiralty Board of the Royal Navy, headed by the First Sea Lord, accomplished that job.

In the 1790s, the job went to Lord Spencer, who with input from deployed commanders and his fellow board members, laid down the basic parameters for the various rated ships that would be constructed in the coming years. By falling back on conservative, proven designs, this meant that Royal Navy frigates (5th Rates) would be based upon the 1780-vintage Perseverance class, designed by Sir Edward Hunt. Displacing approximately 870 to 900 tons and rated as “36s” (the number of guns nominally carried), these were by all accounts fine sailing ships, with all the qualities desired by the Admiralty for frigate operations. Starting in 1801, several repeat batches (a total of 15 ships) based upon the Perseverance , known as the Tribune class, were constructed. They were followed by even larger batches of improved frigates, driven by the ever-increasing demands of the threat from the Continental alliance under Napoleon. These were gradually to grow in size, eventually displacing over 1,000 tons and carrying up to 38 guns. Eventually, there were even classes of so-called “super” frigates, rated as 44s, as a direct response to the six powerful “big” frigates built by the United States of America.

“If I Were to Die This Moment, Want of Frigates Would be Found Engraved on my Heart”

Sir Edward Pellew was one of the most colorful frigate captains during the age of the fighting sail.

The British also made extensive use of frigate sailing ships captured from enemy navies, the French units being especially popular for their fine inshore handling qualities. Nevertheless, frigates never made up more than a quarter of the 412-ship Royal Navy strength (in 1793, over 700 in 1815), causing the incomparable Lord Nelson to write, “If I were to die this moment, want of frigates would be found engraved on my heart.” There never were enough of these priceless ships to go around, something that made more than one deployed squadron commander nervous and apprehensive. Given the need to escort convoys, conduct raids along enemy coastlines, attack hostile shipping, or scout for the battle fleet, frigates were always in short supply.

One of the oddities about British frigates of this era is that while they were superb engines of war when manned and afloat, the quality of their construction was uneven. Although an excellent elm keel and oak ribs were part of every wooden Royal Navy warship, the materials and workmanship on the rest of the ship’s structure could be very marginal. Shortages of hardwood and other materials meant that lighter materials like pine were sometimes substituted. Several of the Tribune -class vessels built in Bombay were actually constructed of teakwood, though uneven quality and excessive weight offset the excellent durability of that material. As now, private contractors skimped on workmanship and materials, while Admiralty yards struggled to get the necessary output from civil service workers. Nevertheless, the frigates got built and headed for the fitting-out docks to receive their armament, supplies, and crews before sailing. It was during this “working-up” period that British frigate sailing ships began to develop the fighting qualities that made them so feared by opponents.

Although the workmanship of the construction yards might be questionable at times, the same could not be said of what the Admiralty did to make these ships ready for battle. Generally, the procurement officers of the Royal Navy did a good job of buying the tools and fuel of war, including the miles of rope (called “cordage”), acres of sail, shot, powder, guns, or the tons of hardtack bread (known derisively as “biscuits” by the crews) and salted pork and beef that made life possible afloat. While life onboard was always hard and dangerous, the British stood alone in making sure that certain minimum standards of sustenance and livability were the rights of every “Jack Tar.” Not that these were exactly up to luxury standards. Every crewman was assigned 18 inches of width to sleep in his hammock while off watch, and given a “tot” of grog (a 50/50 mix of rum and water) every day, entitlement from a grateful king and country. Water and food were strictly rationed at sea, because it might be months between visits to port for resupply. Royal Navy captains were held strictly accountable for the health and welfare of crewmen, and the memories of several particularly bad mutinies in the 1700s helped to enforce the policy.

The role of any warship is to put its weapons onto an enemy, and the sailing frigates of the Royal Navy had an impressive array for their displacement. For example, the ubiquitous Euryalus -class 36s (around 950 tons displacement) actually carried a nominal total of 42 weapons into battle. These included 26 18-pounder guns on the upper deck, 12 32-pounder carronades on the quarterdeck, and two 9-pounder cannon and a pair of 32-pounder carronades on the forecastle. Along with this main battery, every frigate had a detachment of Royal Marines, making the ship capable of conducting a variety of missions ashore. The crew could also be armed with a variety of hand weapons (pistols, cutlasses, muskets, etc.) for boarding and other off-ship operations.

A Good Commander Could Make a War Ship Legendary

If there was a real strength to the Royal Navy in general and the frigates in particular, it was the quality of their captains. Although a bad commander could make a warship almost ineffective with cruelty and excessive punishment, a good one could make the same ship legendary. Unlike most navies, Britain built its officer corps from the bottom, starting most as teenaged midshipmen apprenticed to a particular ship’s captain. From the start the midshipmen would undergo a rigorous series of lessons and examinations, leading them up through qualification to the lieutenant rank. Eventually, these officers would be considered for command of a minor 6th Rate vessel such as a sloop or armed merchantman. Only after a decade or more of honorable and effective service would an officer even be considered for frigate or higher command.

There was a strict system of seniority within the Royal Navy, which had a huge influence on promotions and appointments. Nevertheless, this seniority system was offset by the ability of senior admirals and overseas squadron commanders to make appointments for command through patronage or influence. This combination of policies had the positive effect of offsetting each other and helping create the finest pool of commanding officers (known as “Post Captains”) of the period. It was the best and brightest of these that the Royal Navy gave duty as frigate captains.

Most of the British frigate captains were young, often in their late 20s and early 30s, fully a decade younger than their contemporaries on ships of the line. There were good reasons for this beyond the simple energy and stamina of youth. Frigate captains spent most of their time away from the battle fleet or home bases, ranging across the globe to serve the interests and objectives of the Royal Navy. This independence of command was something such officers needed to embrace and celebrate if they were to meet the expectations of their king and nation. They also required aggressiveness and intelligence, with an eye for seeing opportunity and taking calculated risks.

Despite this, there was also a need for British frigate commanders to avoid recklessness and indelicacy. One day might see an English frigate captain conducting himself at a diplomatic reception with some small and obscure monarch, and the next raiding the harbors of a neighboring state. Clearly this meant that such officers required a strong sense of situational awareness and judgment in matters ranging from politics and protocol to tactics and martitime law. It was, to say the least, a unique balance of personality traits that made for a successful frigate captain. Add to this the need for leadership and management skills to man and operate his ship, along with the seamanship to sail and fight the vessel, and you get some idea of the qualities of such men.

A recruiting handbill of the day, entreating sailors to join a frigate crew.

Pellew Made a Habit of Daring Rescues

As might be imagined, British frigate skippers were towering figures who rose to the top of the naval service in peace and war. Two of the best-known captains of this era were Admirals Sir Edward Pellew and Sir George Cockburn. Born in 1757 and joining the Royal Navy in 1770, Pellew is best known in America for his depiction in the famous Horatio Hornblower novels of C.S. Forester. In real life, he was even more charismatic and colorful than in fictional accounts of his deeds. Made commander for a successful attack on a French frigate after the death of his captain, Pellew made Post Captain after doing battle with three enemy privateers in 1782. He saw action in both the American Revolutionary War and the Napoleonic Wars, where he eventually succeeded Nelson, Collingwood, and Cotton as Commander-in-Chief of the Mediterranean Fleet from 1811 to 1814. Along the way, he commanded the Nymph (with which he captured the French 40 La Cleopatre in 1793) and Indefatigable from which he headed the inshore frigate squadron off Brest from 1794 to 1797. Along the way he developed a habit of daring rescues, including the entire complement of the wrecked East Indian freighter Dutton . Pellew eventually rose to sit on the Admiralty Board at the end of his career, a wealthy man from his many prizes, victories, awards, and patronage.

Slightly more infamous to Americans was George Cockburn, who led the British squadron that attacked the mid-Atlantic region in 1814. Born in 1772, he joined the Royal Navy and caught the eye of Horatio Nelson, who rewarded him with early promotion and command of the captured French frigate La Minerve . Backed by an able young lieutenant named George Hardy (who would later command the flagship Victory at Trafalgar in 1805), he became Nelson’s most trusted frigate commander. Famous for his scouting missions, some of which he did from inside enemy fleet formations, he carried Nelson and his sightings to Admiral Jervis in time to precipitate the Battle of Cape St. Vincent in 1797. Made an admiral, he eventually became somewhat notorious for commanding the squadron that raided the Chesapeake Bay in 1814, personally led the Royal Marines that burned the White House, and commanded the bombardment of Fort McHenry in Baltimore Harbor. A year later, he was trusted with the delicate task of delivering Napoleon Bonaparte into exile on St. Helena. For his dedicated service, Cockburn was made Admiral of the Fleet and retired in 1846 after serving as First Naval Lord.

With men like this to recruit, train, and lead British frigate crews, it is easy to see how they acquired such a “bogeyman” reputation among their opponents. This elite status, even among their ship of the line peers, gave Royal Navy frigate captains the confidence and esprit to attempt all variety of missions. Almost anything, from amphibious landings and “cutting out” expeditions (capturing enemy vessels in sheltered anchorages), to swashbuckling ship- to-ship actions against superior odds became not only possible, but also expected, by the Admiralty and England.

“Super” Frigates

Impressive as the record of the Royal Navy’s frigates had been, though, the end of the Napoleonic Wars and the coming of the War of 1812 sounded the end of their dominance. The loss of a number of British 36s to American “big” frigate sailing ships like the USS Constitution caused a near panic with the British press and public, causing the Admiralty to authorize the conversion of three old 3rd Rate 74s into cut-down, two-decked, 58-gun 4th Rates called Rasées . These were followed by a handful of so-called “super” frigates with 40 (the Modified Endymion class) and 50 (the Leander and Newcastle classes) guns, respectively. However, the end of hostilities with France and America saw the end of large-scale sailing warship design and construction, along with the Age of Fighting Sail. Postwar economies after a generation of worldwide war and an odd little steam-powered vessel designed by American inventor Robert Fulton ensured that battles like Trafalgar would never occur again. Steam power, iron structures, and explosive shells would become the technologies that would drive warship design for the remainder of the 19th century and into the modern era.

Ironically, a century later, another warship pioneered by Robert Fulton, the submarine, would recapture the spirit and daring of the Royal Navy’s sailing frigates. Over two world wars and the 50-year Cold War, submarines became the most independent of naval commands, home to young, aggressive, and daring officers and men from around the world who wanted to do more than just be part of a battle line. Today, nations like the United States and Great Britain are designing their post-Cold War nuclear submarines to be much like those Royal Navy frigates of the Napoleonic era. Able to strike at sea and ashore with guided missiles, and special operations forces, these will be the new frigates for the 21st century, keeping faith with the spirit of Pellew, Cockburn, and all their sailors of that bygone era.

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3 thoughts on “ the frigate sailing ship: pride of the british royal navy ”.

Military History Staff of researchers: I believe my 5xgreat grand father , Robert Bollard , was a captain of the King’s navy , and retired sometime before 1766 in Kent, England. Additionally I believed he captained a frigate , ” Brilliant” , and cleared his ship of stores on Dec 25th 1756. Can you direct me to any past issues of , ” Military History ” that may contain relevant information on my 5x great grandfather? Or perhaps you can direct me to a web page that may have relevant information .

Have you tried contacting the National Maritime Museum in London? They may be able to help you with your research.

Thanks for the suggestion. I’ll certainly give this serious investigation .

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19th Century American Merchant Marine Digital Library

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Given the merchant marine’s important role, it is not surprising that the majority of the Museum’s research requests relate to merchant vessels in some way, and involve the use of such specialized materials as ship registers, ships’ plans, and archival collections. Of these, the ship registers are the most heavily utilized by our staff and the public. Produced for shipping companies and insurance firms, merchant ship registers document vessels’ names, size, captains’ and owners’ names, home ports, type, date and place of construction, materials used in building, and other vital information needed in studying their history. In many cases, these registers represent the only record of a particular vessel’s existence. Of the literally tens of thousands of American vessels which once plied our waterways, only a tiny number have survived, most having been broken up or otherwise lost to history when they reached the end of their useful life. Their builders, many of them anonymous, have died or gone out of business, and their models and plans, if any existed, have disappeared as well.

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Aside from their usefulness in scholarly and artistic endeavors, ship registers are currently in great demand because of the growing interest that the general public is showing in the research of personal family history. Prior to the mid-twentieth century, the only way that emigrants from most countries could make their way to America was by ship. As people delve into their past, they not only want to know from where their ancestors came, but how they eventually reached their destination. Once a person determines the identity of the vessel that brought their ancestors to this country, we can tell him something about it. Published ship registers are always a critical piece in establishing the identity of the vessel being researched. Once this information is known, the researcher can begin exploring primary and secondary sources associated with the vessel in question. The information in the registers, in fact, helps to “link” a vessel to other primary sources such as marine insurance records, logbooks, and business papers. Knowing how to use the registers to get to the information contained in the manuscript collections is an essential part of maritime research.

Unfortunately, many of the registers are rare due to the original use for which they were created. They were not meant to be historical documents but, rather, annual records of the vessels that were in existence at that point in time. Once the registers were out of date, they were usually discarded. Luckily, some individuals retained copies year after year, but most did not. One of the great drawbacks in maritime research today is the fact that no institution holds a complete set of American ship registers for the nineteenth century. With the help of such institutions as The Mariners’ Museum, the Maine Maritime Museum, the Peabody Essex Museum, and the Library of Congress, we have gathered up volumes missing from our collection. Through digital technology and cooperation with our sister institutions, we hope to prevent the loss of vital information, and simultaneously create a complete “virtual” run of nineteenth-century ships registers, beginning with the initial published register in 1857 and continuing through 1900, and make the approximately 50,000 pages of registers available to all. The great advantage of creating the complete run of registers digitally and delivering them via the World Wide Web is that they will be simultaneously available to all of these institutions, as well as to the general public, something not possible in paper or microfilm formats.

Primary Sources

Researchers and scholars using these collections and registers do employ secondary sources to help put the material in the context of the time. However, the primary documents form the basis of new scholarship. Mystic Seaport’s collections relating to the nineteenth-century American merchant marine have tremendous significance and depth in terms of subject matter, document types, and stories. They span the maritime worlds of shipbuilding, China trade, slave trade, whaling, European trade, port embargoes, etc., and contain all types of shipping documents, legal documents, ships’ logbooks, letters to agents and captains, and personal papers of all sorts. These collections tell thousands of stories and provide abundant raw information for anyone willing to examine them and work with them. These materials have been thoroughly cataloged and in digital form could be put to use immediately. Many secondary sources that are required to fill out the necessary background might be found elsewhere in other libraries. The raw material-the primary documents, registers, and rare books from our collection-cannot be found elsewhere and will make up more than 50,000 pages of images in this digital library.

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The speed of Europe’s 18th-century sailing ships is revamping history’s view of the Industrial Revolution

The Yacht “America” Winning the International Race, by Fitz Henry Lane, 1851

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An Introduction to Ship Types During the Age of Sail

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There were many different types of ships during the Age of Sail, and all were defined based on their size, the number of masts they had, the shape of their hull and their rigging (the size and shape of sails arranged on however many masts). Not all types of rigging are mutually exclusive. For example, the descriptor “ fore-and-aft  rigged” is very general, denoting only that all the sails run parallel to the centerline of the vessel. It is possible for a ship to be “ fore-and-aft  rigged” with many different shapes of sails (triangular, trapezoid, etc.), which would further narrow down the type of ship.

The two most important words to help you understand the following definitions are  bow  and  stern . For the purposes of the geography of any ship, the bow is the front and the stern is the back. They are roughly equal to the terms  fore  and  aft , with  fore  meaning “towards the bow” and  aft  meaning “towards the stern”. (This is probably an oversimplification but it will get you through which is the important thing!)

|A|   |B|   |C|   |D|   |E|   |F|   |G|   |H|   |I|   |J|   |K|   |L|   |M|   |N|   |O|   |P|   |Q|   |R|   |S|   |T|   |U|   |V| |W|   |X|   |Y|   |Z| A

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A small single-masted sailing vessel, used in the 15th and 16th centuries.

baltimore clipper

A two-masted  fore-and-aft  schooner-like ship also carrying square sails on the  foremast  and often used in the role of a blockade-runner or privateer. The masts were set at extreme angles, as it was believed at the time to provide for better speed. Baltimore clippers were also used to transport prospectors and settlers from the East Coast to the West Coast during the California gold-rush.


A two- or three-masted Mediterranean vessel carrying  lugsails .

barque longue

A relatively small 17th century two-masted  square-rigged  sailing vessel best known for its use by early Fench explorers.

A 17th century long and narrow ship’s boat, rowed by 10 to 20 oars, often used to transport senior officers.

A vessel  square-rigged  on all but the aftermost mast, which is  fore-and-aft  rigged. Also spelled  Barque . Most were three-masted, some were four- or five-masted vessels. Before the mid 18th century the term  Barque  was also often used for any three-masted vessel not fitting any other accepted nomenclature or category.

A sailing ship with from three to five masts of which only the  foremast  is  square-rigged , the others all being  fore-and-aft  rigged. Also spelled  Barquentine .

A small two-masted merchant sailing ship, similar to a brigantine, used mainly on Dutch coastal routes and canals. Rarely larger than 100 tons  burthen . She carried a  fore-and-aft  lateen main-sail bent to a yard hanging at about 45 degrees to the mast

An ancient Greek or Roman war galley propelled by two tiers of oars on each side.

A small open vessel for travel on water by rowing or sailing.

In the age of sail, boats were essential equipment on any ship. Used as a , for shore landing parties, towing, warping, rescue missions, patrols, escape from mutiny, to mention only a few purposes. Boats came in a variety of shapes and sizes depending on time-period and function: barges, cutters, dinghies, gigs, launches, longboats, pinnaces, shallops, skiffs and yawls.

A small single-masted Dutch vessel with an extreme rounded stern and bow, normally carrying . It had a very shallow draft but a relatively tall mast, limiting its use to inland canals, rivers and lakes.

bomb vessel

Developed by the French to battle the Barbary corsairs, these vessels used high trajectory mortars instead of conventional guns. The hull was strengthened to take the weight of one or more mortars and the  foremast  was completely omitted. Late 18th century bomb vessels would have had a full three-masted rig, and were often used for polar expeditions since their hulls were so sturdily built and would hold up better in the ice.

A two-masted vessel,  square-rigged  on both masts. The rear mast carries a  fore-and-aft  boom-sail as well. In the 17th century the term Brig was also used as short for Brigantine, which then could be any variety of two-masted  square-rigged  vessels depending on nation and region.

A two-masted vessel with square sails on the  foremast  and  fore-and-aft  sails on the  mainmast . See also Hermaphrodite Brig. In the 17th century the term Brigantine was also used to describe any variety of small two-masted  square-rigged  vessels.

A relatively large two or sometimes three-masted European sailing vessel dating from the 15th through the 17th century, used mainly for the North-Sea herring fishery. Up to about 200 tons in size.

A long narrow rowboat, similar to a skiff, used in the Middle East and is also the name of a light sailing vessel used in the eastern Mediterranean

A small, light and swift sailboat with a single triangular sail and an outrigger, originating in the East Indies. Also called Proa.

A relatively small but highly manoeuvrable Portuguese vessel of the 15th and 16th centuries setting lateen sails on two or three masts and sometimes a square sail on the  foremast . Each mast increased in size from the one aft of it. When was classified as a ‘caravela latina’, when modified as a  square-rigged  vessel was classified as a ‘caravela redonda’.

A large sailing vessel developed from the earlier cog, in use from the 14th to the 17th century, usually with elevated structures known as castles at the

bow and stern.

A variety of  square-rigged  speed-built merchant ships built between 1790 and 1870. Often thought of as some of the most beautiful and elegant sailing vessels ever built. The three-masted Cutty Sark on display at Greenwich, England may well be the best known of the clippers.

Mediterranean equivalent for the Northern European cog. Introduced to the Mediterranean in the 14th century, a cocca was a one- or two-masted  square-rigged  and vessel. Also  Coca ,  Cocha or  Cocche .

A single-masted vessel used until the 15th century. The Cog originated in Northern Europe and spread throughout the Baltic and to the Mediterranean. The first mention of a cog is from 948 AD in Muiden near Amsterdam. Even though the usual clinker construction limited the ultimate size of a cog, the English chronicler Thomas Walsingham speaks of great cogs in 1331 with three decks and over 500 crew and soldiers. A cog is characterised by high sides, a relatively flat bottom, rounded  bilge  and a single square sail Also  Kog  (Dutch).

A broad beamed and shallow draught merchant sailing ship. They were designed to transport coal between ports. The HMS Bark Endeavour was a Whitby collier.

Smallest of all the three-masted  square-rigged  sailing warships. Used mainly for reconnaissance also called a ‘sloop-of-war’ and could be classified as a small frigate. Armed with 8-22 guns on only one deck.

A small single-masted and slow merchant vessel. Built solely for maximum hold capacity, not for it’s sailing qualities.

A small rounded boat made of hides stretched over a wicker frame; still used in some parts of Great Britain. Also called Coracle.

1. A fast-sailing single-masted vessel usually setting double and used for patrol and dispatch services. Cutters were the ships of choice for English smugglers during the 18th century. The largest were up to 150 tons burden and could carry up to 12 guns. 2. A clinker built ship’s boat used for travel between ship and shore.

A small rowing or sailing boat, often a to a larger vessel.

A sailing vessel that originated in the Middle East. Early dhows were of shell-first construction. Most dhows are known by names referring to their hull shape.

The  ghanjah  is a large vessel with a curved stem and a sloping, often ornately carved .

The  baghlah , was the traditional deep-sea dhow; it had a with five windows and a  poop  deck similar to European galleons.

Double-ended dhows, like the  boom , have both stem and stern posts.

The  battil , featured long stems topped by large, club-shaped stemheads and sternposts decorated with cowrie shells and leather.

The  badan  was a smaller and shallow draught vessel.

A two-masted Dutch fishing-vessel resembling a ketch.

A small, narrow, flat-bottomed and shallow draft boat of between 15 to 20 ft in length, usually with high sides and a sharp prow, propelled by oars. Also spelled  Dorey  (British).

east indiaman

A large and heavily armed European merchantman used for trade between Europe and the East-Indies.

A narrow, swift, sailing vessel used on the Nile and in the Mediterranean.

Sailing warship with 32-44 guns (1779).

A ship or boat that is deliberately set on fire and steered to collide with a larger enemy ship in order to set it on fire and destroy it. Fireships were often used in the 17th century to finish off disabled enemy vessels.

Sailing ‘ship of the line’ warship with 100 or more guns on three gun decks (1779).

The sailing warship carrying the admiral (or fleet commander) and his flag. Normally the most powerful ship in a squadron or fleet.

A classic three-masted,  square-rigged  merchant ship of the 17th century, invented by the Dutch to be economical in operation, carrying the largest cargo and smallest crew possible. It had a wide, balloon-like hull rounding at the stern and bow and a very narrow, high stern. Lightly armed, they were not well-suited for dealing with pirates, privateers or any other armed opposition.

fourth rate

Sailing ‘ship of the line’ warship with 50-60 guns on two gun decks (1779).

A three-masted sailing warship with two full decks, with only one  gun deck . A frigate was armed with between 30 to 44 guns located on the  gun deck  and possibly some on the and  forecastle , used in the 18th and 19th centuries, used for escort, reconnaissance and a myriad of other duties.

A small fast sailing 17th-century shallow-draught flat-bottom Dutch ship mostly used as a coastal merchant vessel. They were also used on occasion as bomb vessels because of their stability and durability.

A large, three-masted galley/galleon hybrid of the 16th and 17th centuries that used both sails and oars. They were powerful warships of the day, very successful at the Battle of Lepanto, 1571.

A  square-rigged , three-masted (or four-masted) sailing ship in use from the 16th to the 18th centuries, particularly by the Spanish and Portuguese but also by most other European nations.

An oared fighting ship used mainly in the Mediterranean from many centuries BC until well into the 18th century. They were also used in the Baltic and by other northern European nations, just not to the same extent and duration as in the Mediterranean.

A galley  a scaloccio  is rowed by groups of three, five or seven men on a bench pulling a single oar, and a galley  ala sensile  has a single rower per oar, possibly two or three men to a bench (a terzaruolo). The top speed of a galley under full-oar has been estimated to be 7 or 8 .

Also Galiot; A light, fast galley formerly used in the Mediterranean.

Either a ship that appears as a ghostly apparition such as the  Flying Dutchman , or a ship which is found floating at sea with no sign of the crew, such as the  Mary Celeste .

1.A two-masted coastal vessel carrying  lugsails . 2.A wide beamed 18th century ship’s boat, often reserved for use by a ship’s captain.

hermaphrodite brig

A two-masted vessel,  square-rigged  on the  foremast  and  fore-and-aft  rigged with a square  topsail  on the  mainmast .

1.Slang for an outdated, obsolete, unwieldy, or just ugly vessel. 2.A small fishing vessel using hooked (baited) lines. Also  Hoeker  (Dutch).

A single-, two- or even three-masted European coastal merchant and fishing vessel from the 17th and 18th century.

1.A medieval ship with the ends of the planks fitted parallel to the stern and sternposts. 2.A ship that has fallen into disuse or is used in a static role i.e. sheer hulk or prison hulk.

All purpose boat onboard a ship.

A Chinese sailing vessel with bamboo sail battens and a long overhanging counter; originally developed during the 5th century.

A two-masted sailing vessel with the stepped forward of the rudder head. They were usually  fore-and-aft  rigged but could have square sails. Sizewise, they were usually from 100 to 250 tons  burthen . Often used in the role as a bombard vessel.

A clinker built Viking merchant ship, exceptionally sturdy in rough seas. Broader in the and more draught than a longship. They were also more reliant on the use of sails for propulsion, rather than oars. Also  Knorr .

An anchored ship acting as a floating lighthouse where building a lighthouse was not possible or impractical. Lightships would display a light at the top of a mast and in case of fog would sound a fog signal.

Name for Russian river, lake and sea vessels until the 16th century and later.

Langskip. Generally thought of as the Viking war ship. It was a 45–75ft (14–23m) galley with up to 10 oars on each side, a square sail on a removable mast, and a 50–60-man capacity. Double-ended and built shell-first with overlapping planks (clinker built).

The largest boat carried aboard a larger sea going vessel. Propelled by sail or oars.

A small ship rigged with one or more  lugsails  on two or three masts, and usually one, two or three jibs were set on the . Luggers usually outperformed  square-rigged  vessels in coastal tideways but required a larger crew then a  square-rigged  vessel of similar size. Often used by smugglers and privateers around the English Channel in the 18th century.

A term applied to a ship specifically built for the purpose of war. Instances of the term ‘man-of-war’ to indicate a warship are found as early as 1484.


Any vessel used for trade. The combined term of ‘merchant’ and ‘man’ occurs as early as 1473.

A small 16th century coastal merchantman carrying a square sail on a single mast.

A classic medium-sized Spanish vessel of the age of exploration, having a fully developed three-masted rig and often a small  topsail  on the  mainmast .

1.Also called a roundship, a single-masted ship used in Europe during the middle-ages until the 14th century, for example as transportation for the crusades. Descendant of the Viking longship a Nef still had a side-rudder and was used in Northern regions a century or two longer with a sternpost-rudder. 2.A French word for ship. 3.Drinking vessel in the shape of a ship.

packet ship

The generic name given to a vessel that sailed in regular service between two ports.

A one to three-masted dhow-like vessel used off the west coast of India.

p enteconter

An ancient Greek galley with 50 oars, 25 each side set in a single bank.

Dutch term for a small open fishing vessel.

1.A variety of relatively small sailing vessels having generally two  fore-and-aft  rigged masts. 2.A 17th century ship’s boat, usually rowed with eight oars.

A sea-robber, or an armed ship that roams the seas without any legal commission, and seizes or plunders any vessel she meets indiscriminately, whether friend or foe. Some other names for a pirate were  buccaneer ,  freebooter  and  skimmer .

A three-masted Mediterranean vessel, usually  square-rigged  on the  mainmast , and on the  foremast  and . Some of them however carried square sails on all three masts. They carried one piece masts, neither  topmast  nor were present.

A variety of large Phoenician, Greek or Roman war galleys. In these large ‘Polyremes’, there were only two levels of oars, each being rowed by half the men indicated by the number. For instance, in an octoreme (8), there were 2 banks of oars, each rowed by 4 men, on each side of the ship. In a ‘decareme’ (10), each oar was manned by 5.

An ancient boat made from clay or similar material for use in inland waterways.

A person or private vessel intent on raiding enemy shipping in wartime for the purpose of making a profit from the sale of captured ships, including whatever cargo would be onboard. A privateer could be described as a commissioned pirate. Dangerous business all-around, often a privateer would mistake a ‘friendly’ ship for fair game with the consequence of rapidly being ‘promoted’ from privateer to pirate.

A small square ended rowboat.

A small two-masted vessel, common in Egypt around the 11th century, sailing down the Nile from Cairo and as far west as Tunisia and Sicily.

quarter boat

A boat hung from or located on a ship’s quarter.


A Mediterranean war galley having three banks of oars, the oars on the top two levels being pulled by two men each, the lower level oar being pulled by a single man. The quinquereme (5 rowers) was developed from the earlier trireme, rowed by three levels (or banks) of oars, each rowed by a single man. It was used by the Greeks of the Hellenistic period and later by the Carthaginians and Romans, from the 4th century BC to about the 1st century AD.

In 1653 the British Admiralty’s Fighting Instructions classified the size and capabilities (guns mounted) of a sailing warship into 6 distinct rates. A first rate being the largest and most capable, a sixth rate being the least. The number of guns carried by a ship of a certain rate changed from time to time. Only the first four rates were considered fit for duty as ‘ships of the line’, all though fifth and sixth rates did join the battle from time to time.

retour ship

Generic name for a collection of different but relatively heavily armed, and well-manned merchant ships of the Dutch East India Company (Verenigde Oostindische Compagnie, or VOC). They were specifically designed for the long roundtrip (retour) voyage from the Netherlands to the East Indies.

A medieval merchant sailing ship with a rounded stern and bow, as opposed to a sharp double-ended longship. A roundship often had a two-masted rig with a small foresail. Also called a nef.

A vessel rigged with  fore-and-aft  sails on two or more masts. A  topsail  schooner sets one or two square sails on the  foremast  as well. Many further sub-divisions can be made such as Tern Schooners, Scow Schooners, Coastal Schooners and Grand Banks Schooners such as the Bluenose.  Bald Headed Schooner  is a term for a Schooner having/setting no topsails at all.

A variety of flat-bottomed vessels used for carrying cargo, often having a sloping square bow and stern. Similar to a barge, simple hull construction and maximum cargo capacity.

s cow schooner

A flat-bottomed square-ended schooner-rigged vessel used mainly in the latter half of the 19th century on the Great Lakes and North-American coastal routes. Scow schooners often used centerboards or and the name scow refers to the shape of the hull. Scow schooners carried the bulk of cargo in North-America during the 19th century.

second rate

Sailing ‘ship of the line’ warship with 84-98 guns on three or two gun decks (1779).

1.A two-masted ship usually carrying  lugsails . 2.A 17th century ship’s boat, used as a . Shallops had no keel but used instead. A shallop could be propelled by oars or sails.

A cut-down, old ship fitted with a pair of sheers, used to hoist masts up to another ship that was being built or repaired.

In the 18-19th centuries a ship was defined as a first rank sailing vessel having a and three or more  square-rigged  masts (), each composed of a  lowermast , a  topmast , and often a .

Many earlier and other definitions of ship exist, just think of a single-masted Viking  ship  for example.

ship of the line

A sailing warship built to fight in the line of battle. The ‘line of battle’ meant that each ship would form in a line thus allowing each ship to fire full  broadside  salvos at the opponent. Ships of the line were usually all of fourth rate or above, most were third-rate ships of 74 guns.

Sailing warship with 20-30 guns (1779).

A small flat-bottomed ship’s boat, having a sharp pointed bow and a square stern. Could be propelled by oars or sail.

A single-masted  fore-and-aft  rigged vessel setting a and generally a single jib, or headsail (sometimes double – double-headsail sloop). Sloop and cutter are almost indistinguishable today, generally a sloop has her mast located more forward than a cutter.


A name given to the smallest three-masted sailing warships, having 8 to 22 cannon on only one deck. They were either fully rigged as ships (three-masted ship-sloop) or as snows. Also sometimes called ‘corvette’ (0riginally a French term) but brigs (two-masted brig-sloop) and cutters were also sometimes classified as sloops-of-war.

A small two-masted coastal fishing or merchant vessel,  fore-and-aft  rigged and very similar to a ketch.

A large two-masted sailing vessel, similar to a Brig.

“A Brig bends her boom-sail (or trysail) to the  mainmast , while a Snow bends it to a trysail mast ( a small third mast stepped immediately aft of the  mainmast ): in other respects these two vessels are alike.” (Young’s Nautical Dictionary 1846.)


Dutch term for a vessel with a distinctive flat stern, with  spiegel  meaning  mirror .

Small sail and/or oar powered transport vessel used from the dark ages to about the late 12th century. Early medieval equivalent of a landing craft, they had doors used as ramps for loading and unloading men and their horses. Possibly derived from earlier Roman horse transports.

A small and nimble single- or two-masted sailing vessel originating in the Middle East and the north coast of Africa. Like the xebec, it is often associated with the Barbary corsairs.

A vessel attending to another vessel, in particular one that ferries supplies and personnel between ship and shore.

Sailing ‘ship of the line’ warship with 64-80 guns on two gun decks (1779).

A Dutch flat-bottomed vessel with rounded ends and . Used to carry freight and also often used as a pleasure yacht.

An ancient Greek galley with 30 oars, 15 each side set in a single bank.

An ancient Phoenician, Greek or Roman war galley propelled by three tiers (banks) of oars on each side, each oar being pulled by a single man, used from the 7th to the 4th century BC. Upper level oarsmen were called  thranites , middle level  zygites  and lower level oarsmen were called  thalamites . The hull was shell-first, mortise-and-tenon construction, planked with fir, cedar or pine while the keel was made of oak.

turtle ship

A 16th-century Korean armoured warship called Geobukseon or Kobukson in Korean. It was fitted with an iron shell (top) and sharp spikes for protection and to prevent boarding. They were developed and built by Admiral YI, SOON SHIN in 1592 who led Korea to victory in the IM JIN WAR (Korea vs. Japan; 1592-1598). The hull was built from red pine and a turtle ship carried cannons with such names as Heaven and Earth or in Korean, Chon and Ji. Comparable to a European 12 and 7pdr cannon respectively.

west indiaman

A relatively heavily armed European merchantman used for trade between Europe, Africa and the Americas.

A sturdy purpose build vessel with a large hold. Intended for the catching of whales, many were used on polar expedition and/or by Navies around the world because of their sturdy nature.

A light and fast 17th century ship’s boat.

A relatively small three-masted vessel favored by the Barbary corsairs operating off the coast of North Africa. These ships had long narrow hulls, and were fitted with oars like their galley predecessors. The xebec was adopted by the French and Spanish navies and called a  chebec .

Any of a variety of small sailing vessels. Often a personal transportation watercraft or a personal pleasure boat; i.e. captain’s yacht, royal yacht.

1. A small two-masted sailing vessel with the stepped astern of the rudder post. Similar to a ketch, which has its stepped forward of the rudder head or post. 2. A ship’s boat similar to, but smaller than a pinnace, usually rowed by four to six oars.

A 16th century Spanish sailing vessel, smaller then a Galleon or Carrack. Zabra’s were used for dispatch, transport and other utilitarian duties.

Definitions courtesy of  Art of the Age of Sail . Introduction copyright The Dear Surprise.

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1800s sailboat

Vessels and Terminology

An introduction to the essential tools – the vessels – and terminology used aboard a whaling voyage.

A Brief Look at Shipboard Terms

A whaleship was a floating community with its own rules and language. Landlubbers (land dwellers or new seamen) may need a guide to shipboard lingo:

Abaft : To the rear of or in the direction of the stern (rear) of the ship.

Aft:  At, near, or toward the stern (rear) of a vessel; opposite of forward.

After House:  The name given to a square or rectangular cabin built on deck near the middle of a whaleship. It was used as a place to get out of the weather or as a privy.

Aloft:  Above the deck in the rigging.

Amidships:  In the middle of the ship.

Avast!:  Stop that!

Boom:  A sturdy pole, attached to the foot (bottom) of a fore-and-aft sail (see below), used for spreading and maneuvering the sail.

Bow:  (Pronounced as in “take a bow”) The front end of a boat or ship.

Braces:  Ropes to move the yards in a horizontal plane.

Crow’s Nest:  Originally a barrel lashed at the top-gallant mast (the highest section of the mainmast) where a man was stationed to look for whales or ice. Usually only employed in the Arctic and Antarctic fisheries.

Decks:  The “floors” of a ship.

Figurehead:  A carved decoration on the bow (front) of the ship.

Forward:  Opposite of aft; front section of vessel.  Fore:  Indicates part of the hull, rigging, or equipment located at, near, or toward the forward end of a ship.

Fore-and-aft-rigged:  A method of hanging sails on vertical masts at fore (forward) and aft (rear) so that they hang parallel with the keel of the ship (instead of hanging horizontally across the deck, as square-rigged sails do). Fore-and-aft-rigged ships were popular with owners because they required smaller crews than square-rigged ships.

Gam:  An exchange of visits at sea by the crews of two or more whaleships. The Gamming Chair at left was used to transport individuals from one ship to another.

photo of woman sitting in a gamming chair

Keel:  A long structural timber running along the outside of the bottom of a ship from front to back – “from stem (another nautical term for front) to stern” (back or rear).

Leeward:  Pronounced “loo’ ard.” The side away from the prevailing wind.

Mast:  An upright pole for supporting sails and ropes. A mast may be a single pole or number of poles in consecutive extension, one on top of the other. Each mast has a name determined by its height, such as “lowermast” or “topmast,” or its position, such as the “mainmast,” which was usually the second mast from the front of a three-masted ship.

Port:  The left side of a ship, as the steersman stands facing forward. In earlier times, called “larboard.”

Rig:  The distinctive arrangement of masts, rigging, and sails that indicates a type of vessel, such as a bark or schooner.

Spar:  A general term for a strong pole used in the rig of a ship. Depending on its position and use, a spar may be called a boom, gaff, mast, yard, etc.

Spyglass:  A small telescope often used by the captain on the bridge.

Square-rigged:  A ship on which some of the principal sails are square in shape and hang across the deck, rather than running with the keel (as in a fore-and-aft-rigged ship.)

Starboard:  The right side of a ship, as the steersman stands facing forward.

Stern:  The rear of a ship.

Tack:  To sail a zigzag course, as nearly as possible into the wind, to reach one’s destination. (A ship cannot sail directly into the wind.)

Tonnage:  The carrying capacity of a ship (not its weight).

Windward:  The side against which the wind is blowing.

Yards:  Horizontal poles which cross the mast and support the sails on a square-rigged vessel. The ends are known as “yardarms.”

Barks and Brigs, Ships and Schooners

Floating factory.

The Yankee whaler was a highly evolved vessel that incorporated a variety of technological details that served to distinguish it from any other type of craft.

It was designed to carry a large crew of men (up to 35 individuals) who would process and store materials obtained in the hunt over a period of years. Here it must be said that not all whalers were built for the purpose of whaling. Many were converted to whaling from their previous uses in the merchant service. All whalers, regardless of previous use had various details making them unique. The most conspicuous feature was the brick furnace called the try works located just behind the foremast. Whalers also had three to five whaleboats hanging from big wooden davits on both sides of the vessel; two upside-down spare boats sitting atop a wooden frame mounted on the deck, and a deep and capacious hold where the large casks of oil could be stored. At sea a whaler could be distinguished by its slow speed, possibly a plume of smoke rising from the try-works and the men stationed at the top of each mast looking out for whales. While cutting-in a whale the large and heavy industrial-grade blocks and the men standing on boards over the side of the vessels wielding long-handled spades and the large group of men in the bow of the vessel heaving at the windlass marked the ship as a whaler. Many whalers were painted with false gun ports for purposes of disguise and intimidation from a distance. This painting scheme could deter pirates on the high seas or hostile peoples encountered at the many remote landfalls commonly frequented by these vessels. The average square-rigged whaleship was about 100 feet long and 300 tons carrying capacity. (see illustration below, “Cutting in a Whale”)

Types of whaleship rigs

This type of vessel has three masts, each with topmast and topgallant mast and square-rigged on all three masts. Ships often carried four boats, sometimes five and had the largest number of crew. There were six men per boat plus the ship-keepers, men who stayed aboard the vessel when the boats were down after whales. Ship-keepers included the steward, cook, cooper, blacksmith or carpenter. There could be as many as 37 people on board a ship.

Very similar to a ship rig in that it was a sailing vessel with three masts, square-rigged on the fore and main masts and fore-and-aft rigged on the mizzenmast. This rig became very popular in the mid-19th century as it required fewer crew to handle the sails when the boats were down for whales, thus saving the owners money. See the Museum’s half-scale model of the Bark Lagoda .

The true brig is a two-masted vessel square-rigged on both fore and main masts. Brigs were most often employed in shorter voyages to the Atlantic Ocean and saw use throughout the 19th century.

The schooner was the smallest of the whalers, usually with two masts and four-and-aft rigged sails and carrying two or three whaleboats. Six months was the ordinary length of voyage and most schooners were employed in the Atlantic. Although the schooner was employed throughout the history of Yankee whaling it was especially favored in the later period (1890-1925), because it was economical to outfit.

1800s sailboat

The Whaleboat

Classic design.

Whaleboat builders refined the craft’s design, shaping it into a dependable means of getting close enough to a whale for the kill. A whaleship sailed with three to five whaleboats swinging from davits (cranes used on ships). Spares, usually two, were stowed on top of the after house at midship.

Each whaleboat was:

  • Light and strong
  • Approximately 30 feet long, six feet wide
  • Pointed at both ends
  • Sometimes painted in bright colors at bow (front) and stern (rear) for easy identification at a distance
  • Equipped with mast, sail, and rudder, as well as oars and paddles. The oars were unusually long, ranging from 16 to 22 feet long.

Sleek lines gave these boats beauty as well as speed and maneuverability. Their uncomplicated design made them easy to repair – important on long voyages, because whaleboats were often damaged during encounters with whales. Each whaleboat had a crew of six The  boatheader , usually the captain or one of the mates, stood on a narrow piece of wood across the stern (rear), handled the steering oar, and commanded the boat; The  harpooneer  or  boatsteerer  pulled the bow oar up front and four crewmen rowed with oars that were balanced in length so the boat could be rowed equally well by four or five men.

The right equipment was essential Each whaleboat carried:

  • Two wooden tubs, each with 150 fathoms (900 feet) of coiled hemp line. Care was taken to ensure that the rope would uncoil without kinks — to prevent injury or death for crewmen or loss of the whaleboat
  • Two harpoons, ready for use, and two or three spares
  • Two or three lances, or barbless blades, used to kill the whale
  • Hatchet and knives to cut the line in an emergency
  • Wooden keg for drinking water
  • A piggin – a small bucket for bailing water from the boat or for wetting the line attached to the harpoon in the whale, if it began to smoke when the line ran out rapidly as wounded prey tried to escape
  • A lantern-keg with flint, steel, box of tinder, lantern, candles, bread, tobacco, pipes
  • Waif – a long-poled flag used to locate a floating carcass from a distance and to identify it for other whaleships
  • A dragging float to make it harder for the whale to swim
  • Fluke spade to cut a hole in the whale’s tail and tow the carcass back to the ship
  • Miscellaneous equipment, including anchor, buoy, etc.

Funded, in part, by the Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism.


©2024 New Bedford Whaling Museum

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Who Invented the Sailboat & When?

Who Invented the Sailboat & When? | Life of Sailing

Last Updated by

Daniel Wade

August 30, 2022

‍ Sailboats are a common sight on the water today. But how old is the basic design, and where do sailboats originally come from?

Nobody knows who invented the sailboat or exactly when, but archaeologists believe the first sailing workboats originated some 6,000 years ago. The modern sailboat began taking shape in the late 1800s and reached peak development after World War Two.

In this article, we’ll go over the origins of the sailboat and how simple wind-powered rafts evolved into the advanced and graceful sailboats we know today. We’ll cover all the major milestones in sailboat development and the origins of popular rigs like the Bermuda rig.

We sourced the information used in this article from credible historians and public archives.

Table of contents

‍ Origin of Workboats

The sailboat is one of the oldest forms of boats in existence—but it wasn’t the first. Humans have probably been building boats and basic rafts for at least 6,000 years, using materials such as hollowed-out logs and bushels of buoyant reeds.

Reed boats date back to ancient Egypt, where people built basic reed canoes and more complex wooden boats. Early boats were pushed along rivers with a long pole or rowed with oars. But soon, people figured out that it was possible to harness the wind.

First Sailboats

Like many inventions, the sailboat probably originated in ancient Egypt. Around 4000 BC, Egyptians assembled a simple rigging system and suspended a piece of cloth in the air to pull basic log boats along rivers.

These vessels were long and narrow, and their simple rigging was difficult to control. However, the Egyptians had discovered that wind could do the work instead of oars.

By 3000 BC, the idea had spread extensively in the region, and sailboat design became more advanced. Most sailing still took place inland, and square sails became common throughout the ancient world.

Early Ocean-Going Sailboats

By 2000 BC, sailboats had grown in size and usefulness. Humans learned to maneuver reliably under wind power, and boat designs became more durable and efficient.

At this point, ocean trade networks were established all throughout the Mediterranean. Inland sailing was still quite common, and drawings from the era depict sailboats with both sails and oars for auxiliary propulsion.

The Romans were key in the development of sailing warships, which wielded archers and boarding parties armed with swords. Roman sailing vessels were also powered by sails and oars, though sailing was the primary method of propulsion when traveling long distances.

The Vikings were famous for developing hardy and seaworthy craft crewed by rowers and equipped with sails. The Vikings sailed extensively and settled many places with their vessels. After this point, sailboat development remained roughly the same until the 1400s.

Tall Ship Development

In the 1500s and 1600s, tall ships were well underway to becoming the dominant form of both merchant and sailing ships. The British, Spanish, and Chinese were notable early adopters of these types of ships, albeit with extensive variations.

These vessels would continue to increase in size, speed, and effectiveness as the decades progressed. Tall ships of the 17th and 18th centuries were the finest and most capable ever built, and several original examples remain seaworthy today.

Small Sailboat Development

Not much changed on small workboats until the 1600s. Most developments happened with larger ships, which had much greater economic and strategic value. However, during the 1600s or 1700s, the first Bermuda-rigged sailboats were developed.

The Bermuda rig, also known as the Marconi rig, would go on to be the most common rig type on all kinds of recreational sailboats. About a century later, the first yacht club was founded in Ireland—suggesting that recreational sailing first came into prominence around this time.

In the mid-1600s, recreational sailing of small boats became a popular activity for nobles in England. Documented evidence reveals that sailing up and down the Thames River was a popular pastime for royalty, and they developed some of the earliest known regattas.

19th and 20th Century Sailboat Design

The 19th and 20th centuries contributed the most to what we’d consider ‘modern’ sailboat design. During this era, world-famous marine architects and boatbuilders such as Nathanael Greene Herreshoff perfected small and medium-sized wooden sailboat designs.

By the 20th century, sailing workboats were not nearly as common as they were during the previous era. Instead, sailboats were used primarily for recreation and exploration. Some local fishing activity still took place, but sailing became more of a lifestyle than a necessity during this era.

The sailboat cabin was also popularized around this time, as the need for an open working space and cargo hold largely disappeared. Early sailboat cabins were sparse and rarely included standing headroom. Instead, simple folding canvas berths and a small wood or coal stove were the only amenities you could expect.

Modern Fiberglass Sailboat Era

The fiberglass boat era began after World War Two. Fiberglass, a material used extensively during the war, could easily replace planks or plywood in boatbuilding—and several companies such as Catalina sprung up during the 1950s and 1960s.

The decades between 1950 and 1990 were the height of fiberglass production boat building. Sailing became a popular pastime, and average Americans could eventually afford to purchase their own 25 to 35-foot sailboat. The vast majority of these sailboats featured extensive cabin amenities.

Most of these vessels were Bermuda (Marconi) sloops constructed with fiberglass and with varying levels of interior and exterior flash. Tens of thousands of boats were built by dozens of brands, and the majority of these vessels still remain on the water.

Most sailboats today were constructed during this era. Many famous designs from the fiberglass period are still produced—sometimes by the same company, sometimes by a new company or conglomerate. These vessels are fundamentally the same as sailboats from the early 20th century, but they require much less maintenance and tend to sail more comfortably.

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I've personally had thousands of questions about sailing and sailboats over the years. As I learn and experience sailing, and the community, I share the answers that work and make sense to me, here on Life of Sailing.

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19th Century

Sailing through History: Exploring the Legacy of 19th Century Schooners

Welcome to 19th Century , where we dive into the captivating tales and vibrant history of a bygone era. In this article, we set sail on the majestic 19th century schooner , exploring its intricate design, thrilling expeditions, and its prominent role in maritime trade. Join us as we uncover the allure of these magnificent vessels that shaped an era.

Table of Contents

The Rise and Legacy of 19th Century Schooners: Navigating the Seas of the Past

During the 19th century , schooners played a pivotal role in maritime transportation and trade. These sailing vessels with their distinctive two or more masts and fore-and-aft rigging proved to be highly efficient and versatile, making them a popular choice among sailors and merchants alike.

The rise of schooners in the 19th century can be attributed to several factors. Firstly, their design allowed for increased speed and maneuverability, enabling them to navigate even in shallow waters. This made them ideal for coastal trade and transportation of goods along rivers and estuaries.

Moreover, advancements in shipbuilding techniques and the availability of new materials such as iron and steel contributed to the boom of schooners. The construction of sturdier hulls and innovative rigging systems further enhanced their capabilities, allowing for greater cargo capacity and improved sailing performance.

The legacy of 19th-century schooners is still visible today. They played a significant role in the colonization and exploration of new territories, contributing to the expansion of global trade routes. Schooners were also involved in important historical events, such as the California Gold Rush and the Age of Sail.

Their impact extended beyond commerce and exploration. Schooners became a symbol of national pride for many countries, representing their maritime power and prowess. In some cases, they were even adapted for military purposes, serving as warships or privateers during times of conflict.

19th-century schooners were not only vessels of trade and transportation but also symbols of innovation and adventure. Their rise and legacy remain an integral part of our understanding of maritime history and the seafaring traditions of the past.

Inside Worlds BIGGEST WOODEN ´´OCEAN GOING´´ SAILING SHIP! The Götheborg of Sweden! Full Tour Vlog

“naema”; the classic schooner that will make you dream, what defines a boat as a schooner.

In the context of the 19th century, a schooner is defined by its unique rigging and sails configuration. A schooner is a type of sailing vessel that typically has two or more masts, with the foremast being shorter than the mainmast. The key characteristic of a schooner is its use of fore-and-aft sails on both masts, which means the sails are positioned parallel to the keel of the boat.

The use of fore-and-aft sails allows schooners to sail closer to the wind, making them very maneuverable and efficient in a variety of wind conditions. The specific arrangement of the sails can vary, but it often includes a mainsail on the mainmast and a foresail or jib on the foremast. Some schooners may have additional sails such as staysails or topsails.

During the 19th century, schooners were widely used for various purposes, including fishing, coastal trading, privateering, and even naval warfare. They were popular among sailors due to their versatility and ability to navigate shallow waters. The design of schooners allowed them to carry a significant amount of cargo while still maintaining decent speed and maneuverability.

In summary, during the 19th century, a schooner was characterized by its two or more masts, with the foremast being shorter, and its use of fore-and-aft sails on both masts. This sail configuration made schooners highly versatile and efficient sailing vessels.

What purposes were schooners typically employed for?

Schooners were commonly employed for a variety of purposes during the 19th century. They were versatile vessels that could be used for cargo transportation, fishing, trading, and even as private yachts. Their sleek design and multiple masts made them ideal for maneuvering in coastal areas and shallow waters. Schooners were especially popular in regions like New England and the Atlantic seaboard, where they played a crucial role in maritime trade and commerce. Additionally, due to their speed and agility, schooners were also utilized for smuggling activities during times of embargo or conflict. Overall, these vessels were highly valuable for their ability to navigate various waterways and undertake different tasks efficiently.

What was the size of a schooner’s crew?

In the 19th century, the size of a schooner’s crew varied depending on the specific vessel and its intended purpose. However, a typical schooner crew consisted of around ten to twenty men. The crew members included a captain, mate, sailors, cook, and sometimes additional hands for specific tasks like navigating or manning the sails. These schooner crews were responsible for various duties such as operating the vessel, maintaining and repairing equipment, managing cargo, and ensuring the safety of the ship and its passengers. It is important to note that this crew size estimation can vary based on factors such as the size of the schooner, its intended use (trade, fishing, etc.), and the specific time and location in the 19th century.

What distinguishes a boat from a schooner?

In the context of the 19th century, a boat and a schooner can be distinguished by their specific characteristics.

A boat is a general term used to describe any watercraft that is small enough to be carried aboard a ship. It is typically used for transportation, recreational purposes, or fishing. Boats come in various shapes and sizes, such as rowboats, sailboats, or steam-powered vessels. They are usually propelled by oars, sails, or engines.

On the other hand, a schooner is a specific type of sailing vessel that was popular during the 19th century. It has distinct features that set it apart from other boats. A schooner is characterized by having multiple masts, generally two or more, with the aft mast (the one located toward the rear of the ship) being taller than the others. This configuration allows schooners to carry a large amount of sails, making them efficient in different wind conditions.

Schooners were commonly used for both trade and military purposes during the 19th century. Their versatility and speed made them ideal for navigating various waterways, including coastal areas and open seas. They were often employed in the transportation of goods, such as lumber, coal, or spices, as well as in the naval forces for patrolling or engaging in combat.

While a boat is a broad term encompassing various types of watercraft, a schooner specifically refers to a sailing vessel with multiple masts, particularly popular in the 19th century for its efficiency and versatility.

Frequently Asked Questions

What were some common materials used in the construction of 19th-century schooners.

Wood was the most common material used in the construction of 19th-century schooners. Specifically, shipbuilders often used strong and durable hardwoods such as oak, teak, and mahogany for the keel, frame, and planking. These woods were chosen for their resistance to rot, their ability to withstand the forces of the sea, and their overall strength.

Copper was also widely used during this period, primarily for the sheathing of a ship’s hull. The copper plates were applied to the bottom of the hull to protect it from marine organisms that could damage the wood. Copper sheathing helped improve the vessel’s speed and maneuverability by reducing drag caused by algae and other growth.

Iron was employed for various components of 19th-century schooners, such as bolts, nails, and fittings. Iron fastenings were stronger and more durable than traditional wooden pegs, improving the structural integrity of the ship. However, the use of iron was still limited compared to later periods when steel became more prevalent.

It is worth noting that during the latter half of the 19th century, advancements in shipbuilding technology led to the introduction of steel as a material for constructing schooners. Steel offered greater strength and durability than wood or iron, leading to the eventual transition from wooden ship construction to steel ship construction.

How did advancements in shipbuilding technology affect the design and performance of 19th-century schooners?

Advancements in shipbuilding technology had a significant impact on the design and performance of 19th-century schooners. Shipbuilding techniques and materials improved during this period, leading to the construction of faster, more efficient, and more seaworthy vessels.

One important technological advancement was the shift from using wood as the primary material for ship construction to iron and eventually steel. Iron and steel hulls provided increased durability and strength, allowing schooners to withstand harsh weather conditions and navigate longer distances. This transition also led to the development of larger and more stable vessels, as iron and steel frames allowed for greater structural integrity and the ability to accommodate larger cargo loads.

Another advancement that influenced schooner design was the introduction of steam propulsion. While most schooners were initially sail-powered, the incorporation of steam engines allowed for greater control and reliability, especially in areas with unpredictable winds. These hybrid schooners, known as steam-schooners, combined the efficiency of steam power with the versatility of sails, resulting in enhanced maneuverability and decreased dependence on favorable wind conditions.

The advent of steam-powered machinery also revolutionized shipbuilding practices. Improved tools and manufacturing processes enabled more precise shaping and fitting of ship components, leading to more streamlined hull designs and reduced drag. This, in turn, enhanced the overall speed and performance of schooners.

Additionally, advancements in navigation and communication technologies, such as the invention of the telegraph and more accurate nautical charts, impacted schooner design and performance. Improved navigation instruments and better charting techniques allowed schooners to venture into previously uncharted waters with greater confidence and safety.

Advancements in shipbuilding technology during the 19th century greatly influenced the design and performance of schooners. The transition from wood to iron and steel, the incorporation of steam propulsion, and the development of more precise manufacturing processes all contributed to faster, more efficient, and more capable schooners. These advancements not only improved the maritime industry but also played a crucial role in facilitating global trade and exploration during the 19th century.

What role did schooners play in international trade during the 19th century?

Schooners played a significant role in international trade during the 19th century. These efficient and versatile sailing vessels were commonly used for transporting goods and commodities across the world’s oceans.

Due to their design, schooners were particularly well-suited for coastal and short-distance trading routes. They had a sleek hull, multiple masts, and a combination of square and fore-and-aft sails, which allowed for excellent maneuverability and efficiency in various wind conditions.

One of the main advantages of schooners was their ability to navigate shallow waters and enter smaller ports that larger ships couldn’t access. This made them ideal for transporting goods to coastal towns and cities that were not serviced by larger vessels.

In terms of cargo capacity, schooners could carry a substantial amount of goods, although they were not as large as other types of merchant ships. They were commonly used to transport goods such as timber, coal, salt, and various raw materials, as well as finished products like textiles and manufactured goods.

Additionally, schooners played a crucial role in the transportation of people and supplies to remote areas. They were often employed for exploratory and scientific expeditions, whaling voyages, and even as pirate vessels during the early part of the century.

Overall, schooners were an indispensable part of international trade during the 19th century. Their versatility, maneuverability, and capacity made them a popular choice for merchants and explorers alike, contributing significantly to the expansion of global commerce during this period.

The 19th century schooner played a pivotal role in shaping maritime history during this era. These iconic vessels were not only instrumental in trade and transportation, but they also symbolized the spirit of exploration and adventure that characterized the 19th century. With their sleek design and impressive maneuverability, schooners revolutionized the way goods were transported across the seas. Their impact on global commerce cannot be underestimated, as they opened up new trade routes and facilitated the exchange of goods between distant lands. Furthermore, the schooner’s role in scientific expeditions cannot be overlooked. These vessels were often used by explorers and scientists to conduct research and gather valuable information about uncharted territories. The advent of steam-powered ships eventually rendered the traditional schooner less popular, but its legacy lives on. Today, we admire these graceful vessels as reminders of a bygone era, when the power and beauty of sail ruled the seas.

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W estern A ustralian M useum › Maritime Archaeology Databases › Wrecks › Early Sailing Ships

In the last quarter of the 18th century, large European vessels were being classified into types based on their hull configuration, e.g. frigate, hagboat, pink, cat, flute, and bark. The VOC also used the terms retourschip (for large vessels like the Batavia) and jacht (for smaller ships like the Vergulde Draeck). Though there were differences, contemporary vessels like the EEIC ship Trial are expected to have been similar in appearance to their Dutch counterparts. By the end of the 18th century, vessels were also being classified according to their rig, rather than their hull form, and this method has continued to the present day. Some of the more common types (brig, barque, schooner) appear in this list and are presented here in silhouette form for ease of understanding. The largest sailing vessels on this coast were found with four masts, and early steamers also carried sails. An example is the two-masted schooner-rigged SS Georgette. In cases where a vessel had a long career, its rig could have been changed during its working life. Carlisle Castle for example was first a ship and then a barque and SS Omeo had its engine removed to become a four-masted sailing barque.

Silhouette of a ship

This generally refers to large sea-going vessels under sail or power. With sailing vessels it specifically refers to a vessel with three or more masts with square sails capable of being set on all masts. The early whalers are a good example of a ship.

Silhouette of a barque

A vessel of three or more masts, fore and aft rigged on the aftermost mast and square-rigged on all others. Sometimes spelled ‘bark’.

Silhouette of a brig

A two masted vessel, fully square rigged on both masts.

Silhouette of a cutter

A capacious one-masted vessel often with a pronounced bowsprit and capable of carrying a large amount of sail. Some also carried a square sail.

Silhouette of a retoutschip and jacht

Retourschip and Jacht

While both could have similar rigs, the Retourschip (e.g. Batavia, Zuytdorp and Zeewijk) were of the largest class of VOC vessels, while the Jacht (e.g Vergulde Draeck) was smaller and faster.

Silhouette of a schooer four masted

Schooner, Two, Three and Four masted

While two masted schooners on this coast were also found with topsails, Abemama had three masts and Alex T Brown had four. Both were fore and aft rigged throughout.

Silhouette of a schooner topsail

Schooner, Topsail

A vessel of two or more masts fore and aft rigged throughout, but with square sails on the fore top mast.

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  1. History of Sailing & Boat Types

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  8. Schooner

    Schooner. A schooner ( / ˈskuːnər / SKOO-nər) [1] is a type of sailing vessel defined by its rig: fore-and-aft rigged on all of two or more masts and, in the case of a two-masted schooner, the foremast generally being shorter than the mainmast. A common variant, the topsail schooner also has a square topsail on the foremast, to which may be ...

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  13. List of ship types

    Battleship. A large, heavily armored and heavily gunned powered warship. Bilander. A ship or brig with a lug-rigged mizzen sail. Bireme. An ancient vessel, propelled by two banks of oars. Birlinn. (Scots) Clinker-built vessel, single-masted with a square sail also capable of being rowed. Blockade runner.

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    A sailing ship with from three to five masts of which only the foremast is square-rigged, the others all being fore-and-aft rigged. Also spelled Barquentine. bilander. A small two-masted merchant sailing ship, similar to a brigantine, used mainly on Dutch coastal routes and canals. Rarely larger than 100 tons burthen.

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    In earlier times, called "larboard.". Rig: The distinctive arrangement of masts, rigging, and sails that indicates a type of vessel, such as a bark or schooner. Spar: A general term for a strong pole used in the rig of a ship. Depending on its position and use, a spar may be called a boom, gaff, mast, yard, etc.

  18. PDF Life on a Sailing Ship in the Early 1800's

    a small boat carrying the passengers to the ocean vessel." Callan, p. 223-224 "I meant to tell you about the first night on the vessel. When the time came to retire, I did not know just how to manage in the narrow berths. Of course there was a good deal of laughter among us, but I finally managed with patience and some pain. My

  19. Who Invented the Sailboat & When?

    The modern sailboat began taking shape in the late 1800s and reached peak development after World War Two. In this article, we'll go over the origins of the sailboat and how simple wind-powered rafts evolved into the advanced and graceful sailboats we know today. We'll cover all the major milestones in sailboat development and the origins ...

  20. Sailing ship

    A sailing ship is a sea-going vessel that uses sails mounted on masts to harness the power of wind and propel the vessel. There is a variety of sail plans that propel sailing ships, employing square-rigged or fore-and-aft sails. Some ships carry square sails on each mast—the brig and full-rigged ship, said to be "ship-rigged" when there are ...

  21. SAIL Through History

    The Rise and Legacy of 19th Century Schooners: Navigating the Seas of the Past. During the 19th century, schooners played a pivotal role in maritime transportation and trade. These sailing vessels with their distinctive two or more masts and fore-and-aft rigging proved to be highly efficient and versatile, making them a popular choice among sailors and merchants alike.

  22. Early Sailing Ships

    Early Sailing Ships. In the last quarter of the 18th century, large European vessels were being classified into types based on their hull configuration, e.g. frigate, hagboat, pink, cat, flute, and bark. The VOC also used the terms retourschip (for large vessels like the Batavia) and jacht (for smaller ships like the Vergulde Draeck).

  23. Clipper

    Clipper. Taeping, a tea clipper built in 1863. A clipper was a type of mid-19th-century merchant sailing vessel, designed for speed. The term was also retrospectively applied to the Baltimore clipper, which originated in the late 18th century. Clippers were generally narrow for their length, small by later 19th-century standards, could carry ...