View Full Version : What's a schooner?
04-21-2002, 11:18 PM
What makes a schooner a schooner? Is there a min.length?, a max. length? There's a job posting here for shipwrights to work on a schooner, and I need the clarification.(Looking at the schooner Sultana on this month's cover got me wondering) :confused: ....cheers,Phil.
[ 04-22-2002, 12:23 AM: Message edited by: Phil Eves ]
usually, a sailboat with two or more masts, where the mast in front isn't the tallest, never heard of LOA or LOD counting
04-22-2002, 12:06 AM
...me either, I was just wondering if a certain specific length was a criteria for the type,or.... thanks,Phil.
There's a 27-ft Tancook Schooner in the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic and a 153-ft Banks Schooner on on the slip in Lunenburg for the next few weeks. I think that sorta describes the size range.
04-22-2002, 06:59 AM
Length is irrelevant. Think of it as a backward ketch... the aft mast carries the main sail.
Masts aren't necessarily different heights. The old cargo 3-, 4-, and even 5-masters had equal height sticks.
you're right, mmd, and it becomes a quibling difference (this forum is good for that), but like Phillip says, its generally a backwards ketch, would you agree?. I think the record number of masts for a schnooner was 7 sticks about the same height, it was something like 300 feet long, built for no particular reason except that someone with a lot of money and time on their hands wanted to hold the record. Or you could build an 8 foot pram and rig it as a schooner if you wanted. There have also been cat schooners, too, with no cloth in the fore triangle.
Three or more masts, fore & aft rigged, it's a schooner.
Two masts, fore & aft, it's harder, and either schooner, ketch, or yawl. There are conflicting rules but generally if the foremast is shorter, or equal, it's a schooner and the other mast is the main; if the foremast is longer then it's the main and then if the other (mizzen) mast is abaft of the rudder it's a yawl, otherwise it's a ketch.
Or something like that; some people seem to use sail areas rather than heights, and others use the wheel rather than the rudder, or use the rudderpost.
http://www.ace.net.au/schooner/index.htm#menu for a delightful set of pages about Bolger's small schooners, folding and light.
The Schooner Etain
04-22-2002, 04:18 PM
htom is exactly right.
The first sail on a schooner's masts is always a fore and aft sail. Either bermudian or gaff. If the lower sail was a square sail it would cease to be a schooner.
Sometimes the foremast will carry a square sail above it's fore and aft sail, it then becomes a topsail schooner.
04-22-2002, 05:11 PM
Don't listen to these jokers. It's called a "schooner" because it schoons. Take a good, hard look at the boat...if it's schooning you'll know exactly what to call it.
04-22-2002, 06:16 PM
Actually,a ketch is a backwards schooner.As mmd said we have 'em in all sizes.
04-22-2002, 07:55 PM
schooning in a staysail schooner
04-23-2002, 07:35 AM
Yup, it's schooning alright. Breathtaking shot, John, as usual.
04-23-2002, 09:10 AM
In the midwest, USA, a schooner is also a tall glass of beer. Cheers.
04-23-2002, 09:19 AM
Some like their sloops or ketches.
Some like a fat cat boat.
But we pity all poor wretches
Who never dare to float
Under a schooner rig's power and grace,
Driving rail down to Neptune's own pace . . .
(Schooner crews only permitted to carry on the ballad.)
John B - whatever it is, I want one smile.gif
04-23-2002, 03:00 PM
Uh, Phil? Now, if you didn't know what a schooner was, and you're thinking of applying for a job as a shipwright on a schooner, what are you gonna do when the yard boss tells you to go aloft and rig the triatic gronnicle?
04-23-2002, 03:28 PM
and set the gollywobbler while yer at it.
04-23-2002, 03:35 PM
Nice trick question Bob. Anyone worth his salt knows that only a hermaphrodite brig has triatic gronnicles.
Here in Nova Scotia it is also a brand of beer. Oland's Brewery, makers of Schooner Beer, commissioned the building of Bluenose II in 1963 as a publicity device for the beer. They subsequently sold the boat to the provincial government for a buck some five or eight years later.
... and around here, everyone knows from the time they take their first tot of Lamb's Navy rum at age six that a schooner gronicle can only be adjusted when flying the gollywobbler after you have tucked your baggywrinkle under the spurling line.
[ 04-23-2002, 05:30 PM: Message edited by: mmd ]
04-23-2002, 04:42 PM
with your marlin spike or, if it's particularly big gear, your spare martingale.
Speaking of which, we struck a dolphin with our dolphin striker at easter. never done that before.
[ 04-23-2002, 05:43 PM: Message edited by: John B ]
...and speaking of the Bluenose, its been on the tail side of the Canadian dime for maybe half a century, but the federal mint only a few months ago officially acknowledged that the ship was indeed the Bluenose. Did anyone see the tv special on that historic schooner? Apparently it ended up as a cargo ship in the Carribean where it eventually sunk on a reef, if I recall the history correctly.
"Then came the war. With German submarines loose in the Atlantic, schooners were removed from the Banks, Bluenose among them. She remained tied up to her dock in Lunenburg until 1942 .... Then it was the West Indies Trading Company made an offer for Bluenose ... and her Lunenburg owners, having exhausted every other possibility, decided to accept.
And so the once proud Queen of the fishing fleets assumed the lowly role of a freighter, toting sugar, rum and bananas, among the islands of the Caribbean. And the role while lowly, was profitable and extremely worth while.
... Then on a dark night, in the last week of January, 1946, with Captain Wilson Berringer, of Lunenburg, at her helm, she struck a ledge off Haiti, or Hispaniola, a favourite hunting ground of Nova Scotian seafarers. She was light at the time, but exceedingly old and tired and really wanted a bit of rest more than anything else.
Captain Berringer and his crew of nine took to the boat and landed safely. They returned to the scene the following day and proceeded to save the precious engine, which they did. But that night a storm blew up and the Bluenose broke her back on the ledge and sank, as a fitting climax to her glorious career.
Angus Walters was stunned when he heard the news in Lunenburg. he wanted to fly to Haiti immediately to save the schooner. But she had already disappeared. There was no stick of wood left to whittle and fire the imagination of Young Canada. Nothing."
- excerpts from the book "Schooner Bluenose" by Angus Merkel and W.R. MacAskill, published October 1948.
04-23-2002, 10:52 PM
For want of proper schooner the fish were lost ....
my boat is about the length of the bowsprit. Great pic, Todd
04-24-2002, 11:39 PM
The most important thing to know when sailing a fore and aft sail schooner is how to yard the mizzens. ;)
[ 04-25-2002, 12:40 AM: Message edited by: Kristian ]
04-25-2002, 12:12 PM
Here is a good link on Bluenose and Bluenose II:
The Ship's Store has reasonably priced Ash & Purple Heart Belaying Pins and traditional blocks.
04-25-2002, 02:09 PM
Click on "Drawings and Photos," then on the thumbnail of "Pogo Pogo." One of my favorite schooners. If I ever get around to building one, he'll be the "Howard Lovejoy."
04-25-2002, 04:34 PM
Even this is a schooner. Chicago's own "T" Ship, "Windy" Clever top sails eh ?
04-29-2002, 06:28 PM
Atkin drew a nice little v-bottomed schooner, the Florence Oakland--22 feet but with a snug little cabin and all the salty details.
05-01-2002, 03:11 PM
Thanks, John. I'd forgotten that one. Also enjoy looking through Bill Garden's designs. Several small schooners. One little cat schooner is particularly nice--can't recall the design name. Book's at home.
05-02-2002, 01:13 PM
Is there any other label for a schooner with marconi main and gaff fores'l? I grew up calling it a "schooner-yacht" rig. The tall mainmast is great for flying a gollywobbler or a fisherman stays'l. On the traditional rig with a gaff mains'l, those "light" sails have destroyed many a main topmast.
05-02-2002, 01:33 PM
also known as a gravy boat.....and sometimes a container for large measures of beer..... :D :D
05-02-2002, 03:15 PM
"Schooner Yacht?" Well, this one is BRILLIANT by S&S.
05-04-2002, 05:32 AM
You can find all you want about Scooners (http://www.schoonerman.com/) here.
05-04-2002, 11:15 AM
Cheers, and thanks for all the input. I just haven't paid much attention to types and riggings.
I just do the work(labors of love),keep my mouth shut, and stay out of trouble.....oh well, 1 out of 3 isn't bad!
David Tabor (sailordave)
05-12-2002, 09:47 AM
John B. What are YOU doing in the schooner thread-everyone knows you are a SLOOP
Hoist up the John B sail, see how the main'sl sets
call for the Capt ashore, let me go home.....
05-12-2002, 03:49 PM
It's the most romantic of rigs, the schooner. I've sailed Arcturus and loved every second of it. Give me a shot and I'd be in like a robbers dog.
05-20-2002, 09:57 AM
Hello, I'm new to this forum (which I came to in search of general info on schooners). I will buy SOME kind of sail boat and live on and learn to sail it. So what would I have to look foward to if singlehanding a schooner, as opposed to ketch, yawl or sloop? Size would be in the mid thirties (feet).
05-20-2002, 11:00 AM
Beats me... I don't know how to schoon.
05-20-2002, 07:45 PM
Mid thirties is about the minimum size for schooners. The big advantage of the rig is that the individual sails are smaller than they would be on a sloop. A friend has a 34,000 lb schooner, 41 ft. on deck with about 1,000 sq. ft. of sail, no winches, and he can single-hand the boat. It's a lot of work, but he can. Divided rigs -- yawls, ketches and schooners -- are all easier to single hand than sloops. Schooners fly on a reach, but are not as fast straight upwind or downwind as a sloop. They seem to go best upwind when the wind is above 15 knots.
I would recommend learning to sail on something smaller. Small boats react quicker than big ones, so you learn to sail quicker. Perhaps your schooner could have a sailing dinghy, and you could learn the big and small at the same time. When I teach sailing, I usually do so in a boat 20 ft. or less.
05-20-2002, 08:01 PM
In the early days ...when they launched...the whole town would turn out...and when "she" hit the water, the crowd would shout.."See how she .."schoons!""...that's what a schooner is...they "schoon" through the water. smile.gif ..no kidding.
[ 05-20-2002, 09:05 PM: Message edited by: norske2 ]
05-20-2002, 08:56 PM
'Schooning' is sailing a square rigger with only the fore and aft sails. Whether this term is older or newer than 'schooner' we don't know, nor where either term comes from, except that one probably comes from the other.
05-20-2002, 10:48 PM
you can learn something everyday in here.
05-21-2002, 09:28 AM
Just to divest myself of one pet peeve before going to Phillip Allen's question - the 'see how she schoons' story is a total crock. Firstly, the term schooner antedates (on both sides of the puddle) the putative launching that lead to that remark, and secondly, there was no such term "schoons" for skipping across the waves, and thirdly a low deadrise sandbagger might skip across the waves but a displacement boat does not. The origon of the term is lost in dutch/english smugglers' terminology.
On to living aboard and single-handing schooners or any divided rig. Yep. When you know how, you can do more. And most any boat can be intelligently rigged for single-handing. The nub is your knowledge. It's hard to get the feel for sailing on a larger boat and there are plenty of folk who have only sailed larger boats and consequently have heavey hands. Get some skill first.
That said, be bold. Your repair and sailing skills will improve and so long as you either stay one step ahead or keep good music going (so's the toredoes keep holding hands) and are willing to live very simply, you'll have a good life.
In Dutch, schoon means:
Adjective: beautiful; beauteous; handsome; fine; clean; pure, fair
Adverb: beautifully, cleanly; clean
05-21-2002, 03:31 PM
I've heard that the Schooner and Cat rig are the only American indigenous designs.
05-21-2002, 03:52 PM
Both appear in Europe earlier. I don't think there is an indiginous American sailing rig, unless you count the windsurfer. Given that a windsurfer has the monohull speed record, perhaps it should be counted.
A small passenger vessel, 114' on deck. Based on the Banks schooners. New schooner (http://www.tantonyachts.com/20001sp_small.JPG) http://www.tantonyachts.com/20001sp_small.JPG
06-04-2002, 09:39 AM
I've got a book at home called The Line of Battle; I'll post the relevant particulars tonight or tomorrow. In there was a picture of a nifty little Dutch creation of the 17th Century called a speel-jacht.
This was a two-masted, fore-and-aft rigged ship with leeboards, flying boomed sails (and no, smarta$$, they didn't fly the sails from the leeboards tongue.gif ) with very short gaffs--so short I'd'a missed 'em if I hadn't read the caption. The masts were unstayed, which got me to thinking about a cat-schooner version of something along the lines of the Core Sound 20.
D'you think the larger main would interfere too much with the steering position? I'd go with a simple over-the-transom tiller and kick-up rudder, somewhere between 19 and 22 feet...the optimum number of through-hulls is zero, says I... smile.gif .
[ 06-04-2002, 10:43 AM: Message edited by: Ken Hall ]
06-04-2002, 11:34 AM
Mr. Webster says :
1: A fore - and - aft rigged ship having two masts with the smaller sail on the foremast and with the mainmast stepped nearly amidships; broadly: any of various larger fore - and - aft rigged ships with three to seven masts.
2: A large tall drinking glass (as for beer or ale).
Take yer pick ! tongue.gif
06-04-2002, 12:51 PM
Ken - What you're talking about is sometimes called the shallop rig. It used to be used quite often on small boats. You can find some examples in Chappell's American Small Sailing Craft. It doesn't go to windward as well as a sloop, and making two masts is more work than making one, which may explain why most boats with two sails are sloops these days. I've sailed sharpies with a two-masted rig similar to this, and found them extremely manueverable.
06-04-2002, 02:48 PM
Originally posted by Phillip Allen:
Hello, I'm new to this forum (which I came to in search of general info on schooners). I will buy SOME kind of sail boat and live on and learn to sail it. So what would I have to look foward to if singlehanding a schooner, as opposed to ketch, yawl or sloop? Size would be in the mid thirties (feet).Phillip - In my opinion it's pushing your luck (and the luck of other boats near you :D ) to try to, all at one time:
A. Learn to sail a decent size sailboat,
B. Learn to sail solo,
C. Learn to sail a more complicated boat like a schooner.
Even two of these at once is pushing things a bit althought the first two could be combined on a smaller boat. Sailing anything larger than a daysailer solo takes a fair amount of skill because you often have to anticipate things so that you can be in the right place at the right time and you often have less time to do things because you need to be doing three things at once. Just as an example, if you have to take a couple of bearings off landmarks to make sure that you are clear of a ledge you will have to take the bearings and plot them on the chart while also doing the constant stuff like keeping an eye on other boats around you to make sure you're not going to run into someone, while at the same time watching the sails to make sure that you don't jibe. This can all be done at one time but only if you know each part of it cold. The same thing is true if you are coming into a harbor and have to watch the bouys, watch the chart, watch other boats, sail your boat and get ready to anchor all at once.
As others have noted schooners are beautiful boats, and their big advantage is that they break up the sail area into smaller chunks, which could in theory make things easier for a solo sailer, but in the mid-30 foot range this breaking up of the sail area isn't that necessary and the trade off is more sails, masts and rigging to attend to and take care of. So, I would encourage you to think in terms of a sloop of some sort, or a yawl (on a yawl, since the mizzen on a yawl is small enough to not give you much trouble). A cat of any type would also be a good choice (including a cat-schooner, but they're fairly rare) because the lack of a jib makes the boat a lot easier for one person to handle. I would also encourage you to find someone else, and preferably someone with experience, to sail with initially while you are learning the many things that a good sailor needs to know. Another good way to get a 'crash course' introduction would be to take one of the sailing courses at the WoodenBoat school, but even with courses (and books) it still takes plenty of time on the water to learn all that you need to know...
06-04-2002, 03:39 PM
Thanks, johnw. The wheels are definitely turning....
06-04-2002, 03:40 PM
Man, this gets complicated. :confused: Think thats why I stick to power boats. ;)
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