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Four-masted, iron-hulled barque Herzogin Cecilie--one of the fastest windjammers built Herzogin Cecilie SLV AllenGren.jpg
Four-masted, iron-hulled barque Herzogin Cecilie —one of the fastest windjammers built

A windjammer is a commercial sailing ship with multiple masts that may be either square rigged or fore-and-aft rigged or a combination of the two. The informal term arose during the transition from the Age of Sail to the Age of Steam.



A New England windjammer--the Luther Little, a four-masted schooner--just after its construction in 1917 Luther Little1917.jpg
A New England windjammer—the Luther Little , a four-masted schooner—just after its construction in 1917

The word "windjammer" has a variety of associations, both nautical and not. In the late 19th century the term was pejorative, as used by sailors aboard steamships. [1]

  1. Czech: windjammer [5]
  2. Dutch: windjammer [6]
  3. German: Windjammer [7] [8]
  4. Japanese: ウィンドジャマー [9]
  5. Polish: windjammer [10]
  6. Russian: винджаммер [11]
  7. Serbo-Croatian: виндјамер/vindjamer [12]
  8. Ukrainian: вінджамер


Sail plan ship.svg
Full-rigged ship
Sail plan barque.svg
Sail plan barquentine.svg
Sail plan schoonerx3.jpg
Showing three-masted examples, progressing from square sails on each to all fore-and-aft sails on each.

Any of the following ships may be called a "windjammer":

In literature

Windjammers have figured prominently in both historical and fictional literature. Some examples include:

Related Research Articles

Clipper Very fast sailing ship of the 19th century

A clipper was a type of mid-19th-century merchant sailing vessel, designed for speed. Clippers were generally narrow for their length, small by later 19th century standards, could carry limited bulk freight, and had a large total sail area. "Clipper" does not refer to a specific sailplan; clippers, by sailplan, may be schooners, brigs, brigantines, etc., or indeed "ships" as restrictively defined in the Age of Sail. Clippers were mostly constructed in British and American shipyards, though France, Brazil, the Netherlands and other nations also produced some. Clippers sailed all over the world, primarily on the trade routes between the United Kingdom and China, in transatlantic trade, and on the New York-to-San Francisco route around Cape Horn during the California Gold Rush. Dutch clippers were built beginning in the 1850s for the tea trade and passenger service to Java.

Rigging Ropes, cables and chains which support masts of sailing ships

Rigging comprises the system of ropes, cables and chains, which support a sailing ship or sail boat's masts—standing rigging, including shrouds and stays—and which adjust the position of the vessel's sails and spars to which they are attached—the running rigging, including halyards, braces, sheets and vangs.

A slush fund is a fund or account that is not properly accounted, such as money used for corrupt or illegal purposes, especially in the political sphere. Such funds may be kept hidden and maintained separately from money that is used for legitimate purposes. Slush funds may be employed by government or corporate officials in efforts to pay influential people discreetly in return for preferential treatment, advance information, and other services. The funds themselves may not be kept secret but the source of the funds or how they were acquired or for what purposes they are used may be hidden. Use of slush funds to influence government activities may be viewed as subversive of the democratic process.

Arjuna A protagonist of Indian epic Mahabharata; 3rd Pandava

Arjuna is the main protagonist of the Indian epic Mahabharata and also appears in other ancient Hindu texts. In the epic, he is the third among Pandavas, the five sons of Pandu. He was born when Indra, god of rain, blessed Kunti and Pandu with a son. The family formed part of the royal line of the Kuru Kingdom.

Brigantine Two-masted sailing vessel

A brigantine is a two-masted sailing vessel with a fully square-rigged foremast and at least two sails on the main mast: a square topsail and a gaff sail mainsail. The main mast is the second and taller of the two masts.


A barque, barc, or bark is a type of sailing vessel with three or more masts having the fore- and mainmasts rigged square and only the mizzen rigged fore and aft. Sometimes, the mizzen is only partly fore-and-aft rigged, bearing a square-rigged sail above.

Barquentine Type of Sailing rig

A barquentine or schooner barque 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.

Square rig Generic type of sail and rigging arrangement

Square rig is a generic type of sail and rigging arrangement in which the primary driving sails are carried on horizontal spars which are perpendicular, or square, to the keel of the vessel and to the masts. These spars are called yards and their tips, beyond the last stay, are called the yardarms. A ship mainly rigged so is called a square-rigger.

Sail components Features that define a (ship) sails shape and function

Sail components include the features that define a sail's shape and function, plus its constituent parts from which it is manufactured. A sail may be classified in a variety of ways, including by its orientation to the vessel and its shape,. Sails are typically constructed out of flexible material that is shaped by various means, while in use, to offer an appropriate airfoil, according to the strength and apparent direction of the wind. A variety of features and fittings allow the sail to be attached to lines and spars.

Tacking is a sailing maneuver by which a sailing vessel, whose desired course is into the wind, turns its bow toward the wind so that the direction from which the wind blows changes from one side to the other, allowing progress in the desired direction. The opposite maneuver to tacking is called jibing, or wearing on square-rigged ships, that is, turning the stern through the wind. No sailing vessel can move directly upwind, though that may be the desired direction, making this an essential maneuver of a sailing ship. A series of tacking moves, in a zig-zag fashion, is called beating, and allows sailing in the desired direction.

Iron-hulled sailing ship

Iron-hulled sailing ships represented the final evolution of sailing ships at the end of the age of sail. They were built to carry bulk cargo for long distances in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. They were the largest of merchant sailing ships, with three to five masts and square sails, as well as other sail plans. They carried lumber, guano, grain or ore between continents. Later examples had steel hulls. They are sometimes referred to as "windjammers" or "tall ships". Several survive, variously operating as school ships, museum ships, restaurant ships, and cruise ships.

Alan Villiers

Alan John Villiers DSC; Military Order of St James(23 September 1903 – 3 March 1982) was an author, adventurer, photographer and mariner.


A flèche is the name given to spires in Gothic architecture: in French the word is applied to any spire, but in English it has the technical meaning of a spirelet or spike on the rooftop of a building. In particular, the spirelets often built atop the crossings of major churches in mediaeval French Gothic architecture are called flèches.


Moshulu is a four-masted steel barque, built as Kurt by William Hamilton and Company at Port Glasgow in Scotland in 1904. The largest remaining original windjammer, she is currently a floating restaurant docked in Penn's Landing, Philadelphia, adjacent to the museum ships USS Olympia and USS Becuna.

<i>Preussen</i> (ship) German steel-hulled five-masted ship-rigged windjammer sunk in Crab Bay after a collision

Preussen (PROY-sin) was a German steel-hulled, five-masted, ship-rigged sailing ship built in 1902 for the F. Laeisz shipping company and named after the German state and kingdom of Prussia. It was the world's only ship of this class with five masts carrying six square sails on each mast.

<i>Potosi</i> (barque)

Potosi was a five-masted steel barque built in 1895 by Joh. C. Tecklenborg ship yard in Geestemünde, Germany, for the sailing ship company F. Laeisz as a trading vessel. As its shipping route was between Germany and Chile, it was designed to be capable of withstanding the rough weather encountered around Cape Horn.

<i>Lewis R. French</i> (schooner)

Lewis R. French is a gaff-rigged topsail schooner sailing out of Camden, Maine as a "Maine windjammer" offering weeklong cruises to tourists. Built in 1871, she is the oldest known two-masted schooner in the United States, and one of a small number of this once-common form of vessel in active service. The ship was designated a US National Historic Landmark in 1992.

Ships boat

Ship's boats are utility boats carried by larger vessels to act as tenders, among other roles. Boats had different names depending on hull form, rig, size and role during the Age of Sail, this nomenclature persisting to the present, especially in military circles, long after most distinctions have disappeared.

<i>Wendameen</i> (yacht) United States historic place

Wendameen is a historic schooner normally berthed at the Maine State Pier on Commercial Street in Portland, Maine. She is a two-masted auxiliary rigged schooner, built in 1912 by the noted naval architect John G. Alden. She is now owned and operated by the Portland Schooner Company, which offers sailing tours of Casco Bay, using Wendameen and Bagheera. Wendameen was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1992.

Elizabeth Anne Livingstone, also known as E. A. Livingstone, is an English Anglican theologian, specialising in patristics. She was co-editor with Frank Leslie Cross of the first edition of The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church in 1957 and continued as editor of later editions after Cross's death in 1968. She is also the editor of The Concise Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church.


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  2. 1 2 Chase, George D. (1917). "Lists from Maine". Dialect Notes. 1. IV. American Dialect Society.
  3. 1 2 3 Dear, I. C. B. DearI C. B.; Kemp, Peter KempPeter (2007-01-01), Kemp, Peter; Dear, I. C. B. (eds.), "Windjammer", The Oxford Companion to Ships and the Sea, Oxford University Press, doi:10.1093/acref/9780199205684.001.0001, ISBN   9780199205684 , retrieved 2019-06-24
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  9. Nguyen, Nam H. (2018-02-03). Essential 120000 English-Japanese Words Dictionary (in Japanese). Nam H Nguyen.
  10. Milewski, Szymon; Zadrożna, T. (1965). Maritime dictionary Polish-English. Wydawn. Naukowo-Techniczne.
  11. "Винджаммер - translation - Russian-English Dictionary". Glosbe. Retrieved 2019-06-27.
  12. "Виндјамер - translation - Serbian-English Dictionary". Glosbe. Retrieved 2019-06-27.
  13. Green, Jonathon (2011), "Windjammer", Green's Dictionary of Slang, Chambers Harrap Publishers, doi:10.1093/acref/9780199829941.001.0001, ISBN   9780199829941 , retrieved 2019-06-24
  14. Simpson, Paul W. (2017-05-11). Windjammer. Lulu Press, Inc. ISBN   9780244305727.
  15. Historian), Tom Bennett (Shipwreck (2016-11-24). Bells from Shipwrecks -after 1830: Victorian and Modern Ship's Bells. TOM Bennett.
  16. Marsden, Ben (2015-07-28). Uncommon Contexts: Encounters Between Science and Literature, 1800–1914. Routledge. ISBN   9781317320357.
  17. Williams, Deborah (September 1999). "Windjammin' in Maine". Cruise Travel. Cruise Travel.
  18. Kerr, Jim (September 1994). "Fantome—Setting sail for romance with Windjammer Barefoot Cruises". Cruise Travel. Cruise Travel.