- What is a Schooner?
The schooner sail-plan
has two or more
masts with the forward mast being shorter or the same height as the rear
masts. A two-masted schooner is technically a yacht, as a sailing ship must have at least three masts. Most
schooners are either
schooner rigged. Alternatives include the topsail schooner with
one or two square
rigged topsails on the foremast, and the staysail schooner with staysails only on the foremast.
There was no set maximum number of masts for a schooner. A small schooner has two
or three masts, but they were built with as many as six or seven masts to carry
a larger volume of cargo. The only seven-masted (steel hulled) schooner, the Thomas W. Lawson, was built
in 1902, with a length
of 395 ft (120 m) and carrying 25
sails with 43,000 ft² (4,000 m²) of sail. A schooner is quite maneuverable
and can be sailed by a smaller crew than some other sailing vessels.