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Belgian barquentine Mercator. Trinidad, c. 1960.jpg
Belgian barquentine Mercator
Type Sailing rig
Place of origin Northwest Europe and America

A barquentine or schooner barque (alternatively "barkentine" or "schooner bark") is a sailing vessel with three or more masts; with a square rigged foremast and fore-and-aft rigged main, mizzen and any other masts.

Modern barquentine sailing rig[edit]

Barquentine sail plan

While a full-rigged ship is square-rigged on all three masts, and the barque is square-rigged on the foremast and main, the barquentine extends the principle by making only the foremast square-rigged.[1] The advantages of a smaller crew, good performance before the wind and the ability to sail relatively close to the wind while carrying plenty of cargo made it a popular rig at the end of the nineteenth century.

Today, barquentines are popular with modern tall ship and sail training operators as their suite of mainly fore-and-aft sails can be operated with ease and efficiency, but the single mast of square sails offers long distance speed and dramatic appearance in port.

Origin of the term[edit]

The term "barquentine" is seventeenth century in origin, formed from "barque" in imitation of "brigantine", a two-masted vessel square-rigged only on the forward mast, and apparently formed from the word brig.[Note 1][2]

The Spanish word "barco" means ship.

Historic and modern examples[edit]

Painting of Mercator by Yasmina


  1. ^ Although in fact the term "brig" was a shortening of "brigantine", and for much of the sixteenth to eighteenth century the two terms were synonymous.


  1. ^ "Sailing ship rigs, an infosheet guide to classic sailing rigs". Maritime Museum of the Atlantic. Archived from the original on 28 December 2010. Retrieved 15 January 2011.
  2. ^ T F Hoad, ed. (1993). Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 34. ISBN 978-0-19-283098-2.
  3. ^ "Thor-Heyerdahl". Segelschiff Thor Heyerdahl gemeinnützige Fördergesellschaft mbH. Retrieved 2012-12-27.
  4. ^ "Svanen web page". Sail Australia. Archived from the original on 2013-03-11. Retrieved 2013-02-22.

External links[edit]