Sailing Ship Classifications

Class A

All square-rigged vessels (barque, barquentine, brig, brigantine or ship rigged) and all other vessel more than 40 meters Length Overall (LOA), regardless of rig. STI classifies its A Class as “all square-rigged vessels and all other vessels over 40 meters (131 ft) length overall (LOA)”, in this case STI LOA excludes bowsprit and aft spar. STI defines LOA as “Length overall measured from the fore side of stem post to aft side of stern post, counter or transom”.

sailing ship

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See also list of tall ships for other tall ships, or List of large sailing vessels for a list that includes other sailing vessel types.
Traditional rigging may include square rigs and gaff rigs, usually with separate topmasts and topsails. It is generally more complex than modern rigging, which utilizes newer materials such as aluminum and steel to construct taller, lightweight masts with fewer, more versatile sails. Most smaller, modern vessels use the Bermuda rig. Though it did not become popular elsewhere until the twentieth century, this rig was developed in Bermuda in the seventeenth century, and had historically been used on its small ships, the Bermuda sloops.

by the wheel

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Author and master mariner Joseph Conrad (who spent 1874 to 1894 at sea in tall ships and was quite particular about naval terminology) used the term “tall ship” in his works; for example, in “The Mirror of the Sea” in 1903. If Conrad used the term, it is fairly certain “tall ship” was common parlance among his fellow mariners in the last quarter of the 19th century.

While Sail Training International (STI) has extended the definition of tall ship for the purpose of its races to embrace any sailing vessel with more than 30 ft (9.14 m) waterline length and on which at least half the people on board are aged 15 to 25, this definition can include many modern sailing yachts, so for the purposes of this article, tall ship will mainly refer to those vessels rated as class “A”.

 

Class B

Traditionally rigged vessels (i.e. gaff rigged sloops, ketches, yawls and schooners) with an LOA of less than 40 meters and with a waterline length (LWL) of at least 9.14 meters.

classb

Class C

Modern rigged vessels (i.e. Bermudan rigged sloops, ketches, yawls and schooners) with an LOA of less than 40 meters and with a waterline length (LWL) of at least 9.14 meters not carrying spinnaker-like sails.

classC

classD Class D

Modern rigged vessels (i.e. Bermudan rigged sloops, ketches, yawls and schooners) with an LOA of less than 40 meters and with a waterline length (LWL) of at least 9.14 meters carrying spinnaker-like sails. There are also a variety of other rules and regulations for the crew, such as ages, and also for a rating rule.

 

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