Sailing frigate classification

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The Sailing frigate classification system used during the 19th Century was a classification scheme used in several western countries. It was officially adopted by the United States Navy. The system classified sailing frigates according to their gun rating.


Type Maximum Gun Rating Minimum Gun Rating Gun Decks
(Including main deck)
First Class 50 [1] 42 [2] 2 [2]
Second Class 36 [2] 28 [2] 1 or 2 [2]
Third Class 24 [2] 20 [2] 1 [2]


The United States Navy used this classification system officially, beginning at least by 1825.[3] The Royal Institution of Naval Architects, an international organization of naval architects, also adopted the system, beginning in 1860.[1]

The United States adopted a new rating system during the American Civil War, based on the thrown weight of broadsides.[4] By 1875, this system was replaced by a system of steam warship classification based on tonnage.[5]


  1. ^ a b The Royal Institution of Naval Architects (1860). Transactions of the Royal Institution of Naval Architects, Volume I. The Royal Institution of Naval Architects. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Nautical Research Guild (1980). Nautical research journal, Volumes 26-27. Nautical Research Guild. 
  3. ^ Register of the Commissioned and Warrant Officers of the Navy of the United States, including Officers of the Marine Corps, and other, for the Year 1825. 
  4. ^ Boynton, Charles Brandon (1870). The History of the Navy During the Rebellion, Volume 1. D. Appleton and Company. 
  5. ^ Annual Report of the Chief of the Bureau of Steam-Engineering 1875. United States Government Printing Office. 1876.