Terminology from the Age of Sail

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Search result for definition: ship
Ship: In the 18-19th centuries a ship was defined as a first rank sailing vessel having a bowsprit and three or more square-rigged masts (ship-rigged), each composed of a lowermast, a topmast, and often a topgallant mast.

Examples of a full-rigged ship.

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.

Examples of a ship of the line
Ship-rigged: Rigged with three or more masts carrying all square sails. Also called full-rigged.
Ship´s Boy: A young servant on board a ship. See also boy
Ship types: A variety of ship and boat types from the Age of Sail are located at their appropriate alphabetic letters all through this database. They are also conveniently grouped together on our Listing of Historical Sailing Ship types and nomenclature page.

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