Ship Modelling

Rigging Patterns - The Schooners

The Dutch schooner Regina Maris [source: Wiki Commons]

Today, when we say "schooner", we have a cliché in mind: a sailing ship having fore-and-aft gaff and staysails only. Some schooners with square topsails are called "topsail schooners". The difference to a "barquentine" is that the schooners aft mast is taller than the fore mast, in contrary to the barquentine.

The term "Schooner" in this spelling comes from Dutch, like many seamens´ words. Many speculations had been done, but the origin is very simple: in Dutch, "schoon", pronounced "shoon" for English tongues, who say "skooners" instead, means "beautiful", and that was said about a group pf small coast vessels with 2 masts (the latter was the tallest), used for yachting. Indeed, our modern yacht rigging stems from that.

Their appearence is reported since 1700, and many variations have been built. Through the ages, schooners served as merchant cargo ships, navy partol vessels, slave ships, ferries, and so forth. Schooners of 2,3,4 or even 7 masts were built. The reason for their easy rigging was obvious: it need only a few sailormen and few spare parts (cutting costs always is an issue in trading), and they could sail much closer to the wind than squarerigged sailing ships.

A symbiosis of the schooner and the clipper is the "Baltimore Clipper", its hull very slim and fast, and its masts inclined aft dramatically, up to 30 degrees! Those were predominantly used in the U.S. coasts.

Today, we can say that the schooners are by far the most nomerous sailing ship type in the world. They were even more between 1800 and 1950, there must have been thousands of them.

Sources and Books

Some books can be recommended:
Schoner in Nord und Süd
Modellbaureihe DK (German)
Marquardt, Karl-Heinz DK 1990 296
Schonerbrigg Greif ex Wilhelm Pieck
Rosentreter, Robert Ingo Koch Verlag (edition Rostock maritim) 2001 128
Schooners in Four Centuries
MacGregor, David R MAP 1982 144
Sea, Sails and Shipwreck - Career of the four-masted schooner Purnell T. White
Burgess, Robert H. Tidewater Publishers 1970 132
The American Fishing Schooners 1825-1935
Chapelle, Howrad I. W.W.Norton 1973 690
The Global Schooner
Marquardt, Karl-Heinz Conway 2003 240
The Schooner Bertha L Jones
Anatomy of the Ship (English)
Greenhill, B. + Manning, S. Conway 1995 128