J. L. BELL is a Massachusetts writer who specializes in (among other things) the start of the American Revolution in and around Boston. He is particularly interested in the experiences of children in 1765-75. He has published scholarly papers and popular articles for both children and adults. He was consultant for an episode of History Detectives, and contributed to a display at Minute Man National Historic Park.

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Thursday, July 02, 2009

What’s the Difference Between a Barquentine and a Brigantine?

I’ll wind up this short stretch of postings on historic sites welcoming visitors this summer with recognition that Boston harbor will host the Tall Ships on 8-13 July. For the schedule of public events, see the Sail Boston website.

Of course, those sailing ships don’t go back to the eighteenth century, and most use technology not available back then. But we don’t have any other options if we want to see lots of large sailing ships in Boston harbor at one time, as in most of the 1700s. The Sail Boston site offers this handy guide for telling one type of ship from another.

Photo above from Sail Training International.

1 comment:

Peter Ansoff said...

The Sail Boston guidelines for classifying sailing ships reflect mid-to-late 19th century usage -- the terminology tended to evolve over time. For example, in the Revolutionary War era the terms "brig" and "brigantine" seem to have been more-or-less interchangable. The distinction didn't harden until later on.

Reaching farther back, the Sail Boston chart would classify the "Mayflower" as a barque. To her 17th century crew, however, she was a ship, and a barque was something quite different.