Square Riggers and Schooners



Good Morning Everyone. Amazing how Jen was just talking about Irving Johnson sailing aboard a square rigger and here I am in Texas aboard another square rigger. So, for those of you who haven’t heard the term, these vessels are named for the way the sails are set from the masts, square to fore and aft centerline. They do not go up wind nearly the way a schooner does. A schooner, like Mary Day, is fore and aft rigged. There are a few fore and aft rigged sails aboard a square rigger but don’t let that confuse you. Elissa has 3 masts. 2 of these are square rigged, the main and the fore. The after mast is called a mizzen and it is fore and aft rigged. This combination makes Elissa a barque, as opposed to a full rigged ship (square rigged on all 3 masts), or a brig (a 2 masted square rigged vessel). Half way in between are vessels rigged as barquentines and brigantines. It can all be confusing. The schooners in the windjammer fleet were all designed for coasting (sailing relatively near shore) and were designed for shorthanded maneuvering. Elissa sailed across the ocean with a crew of 12. Mary Day would have sailed coastwise with a crew of 2, or 3 if they had a cabin boy.

Have a great day. Be well. Do good.