The schooner is a fore-and-aft rigged vessel with at least two masts, named the
fore and the main mast.
According to the tradition the word schooner was first used in
Gloucester, Massachusetts, in 1713 when a new vessel was launched at the
shipyard of Andrew Robinson. It has been said that when the vessel entered the
water that a spectator remarked Oh, how she scoons!, upon which Robinson
replied: A scooner let her be.
True or not, fore-and-aft vessels of the schooner type had been built before
that date and are illustrated in Dutch paitings from the early 17th
The first three-masted schhoners appeared around 1800. This type of schooners are too numerous to enumerate and the few which are mentioned below should not be considered as representiative for the type.
A fore-and aft three-masted schooner, which is called a tern schooner in North America, is sometimes called a "111" in Sweden.
|Year ||Name ||GRT ||Material ||Type ||Owner
|1874 ||Sunbeam ||334 ||composite
||top-sail schooner ||Lord Brassey
|1929 ||Sunbeam II ||505 ||steel ||top-sail schooner ||Walter Runciman
|1929 ||Yngve ||96,71 ||wood ||tern schooner ||Later the Alexandria
The first four-masted schooner was a re-builing in 1864 of the 344 ton barge
Victoria in San Francisco. Steamer hulls seemes to have made excellect sailing
ships and in 1879 the steamer Weybosset was converted into a four-masted
schooner. The following year the first four-masted schooner was
built on the American East Coast. During the years
1864 to 1904 130 four-masted schooners were built on the American Pacific Coast.
According to the late John Lyman around 130 four-masted schooners were built on
the American East Coast alone during the years 1917-1920.
From information published by John Lyman and D.R. MacGregor we find that
56 five-masted schooners were built on the US East Coast during 1888-1920, while
on the West Coast 9 were built during 1888-1916, 22 in 1917 and 57 in 1918.
- Five-masted Schooners
- A list of 75 five-masted schooners built between 1896 and 1922.
- Five-masted Schooners with Auxiliary
- Of this list of 71 five-masted schooners with aux. machinery which
were built in 1916-1918, the French Government ordered 40
five-masted schooners equipped with auxiliary steam machinery to be built
in Oregon and Washington.
- 1900 George W. Wells, 2970 GRT, Holly M. Bean, Camden, ME, USA.
- 1900 Eleanor A. Percy, 3401 tons, Percy & Small, Bath, ME, USA.
- 1902 Addie M. Lawrence, 2807 tons, Percy & Small, Bath, ME, USA.
- 1903 William L. Douglas, steel, 3708 tons, Fore River Ship & Engine Co., QUincy, MA, USA.
- 1904 Ruth E. Merrill, 3003 tons, Percy & Small, Bath, ME, USA.
- 1906 Alice M. Lawrence, 3132 tons, Percy & Small, Bath, ME, USA.
- 1907 Mertie B. Crowley, Rockland, ME, USA.
- 1908 Edward B. Winslow, 3424 tons, Percy & Small, Bath, ME, USA.
- 1908 Edward J. Lawrence, 3350 tons, Percy & Small, Bath, ME, USA.
- 1909 Wyoming, 3730 tons, Percy & Small, Bath, ME, USA.
- 1908 Navahoe
- 1917 Dovrefjeld, ex ps Rhode Island.
- 1919 Katherine, ex four-masted barque
County of Linlithgow
- 1920 Oregon Fir, ex steamer.
- 1920 Oregon Pine, ex steamer.
- 1920 Fort Laramie, ex steamer, Kruse & Banks Shipbuilding Co., North
- 1941 Ciudad Rodrigo, ex four-masted barque Star of Scotland ex
- 1941 Cidade do Porto (1904), ex Tango (1904), ex Mary Dollar, ex four-masted barque
- 1943 Daylight (1901), ex four-masted barque.
A proposal for building an eight-masted schooner of steel was published in the
Nautical Gazette for December 1901, in an arcticle which discussed the
suitability of wood and steel as material for shipbuilding. Its dimensions were
to be 400'×52'×30'. The following year Bowdoin B. Crowninshield designed the only seven-masted schooner ever built,
The suitablity of the large New England schooners for trans-Atlantic trade
was discussed in an article in the Mariner's Mirror Vol. 61 (1975). It was
observed that compared with square-rigged ships, a large proportion of the
fore-and-aft schooners were lost at sea. The conclusion was that when sailing
free in a following sea, the heavy unsupported booms and gaffs subjected a
long wooden hull to undue stresses.
- 1902 Thomas W. Lawson, 5216 GRT, Fore River Ship & Engine Building Co., Quincy, MA.
Updated 1998-12-30 by
Sjöhistoriska Samfundet | The Maritime History Virtual Archives
Copyright © 1996 Lars Bruzelius.