Pirate Ships > Types of Ships > Brigantine

Brigantine

Golden Age of Piracy - Chapter Decoration

Background

A brigantine is a type of sailing ship that contains two masts and a full square rigged foremast and at least two sails on the main mast including a square topsail and a gaff sail mainsail behind the mast. The main mast is also the second and tallest of the two masts. There is also a lack of lateen sails as well. Brigantines come in various sizes between 50 and 200 tons and are generally larger than a sloop or schooner but smaller than a brig.

A Brigantine - Pac Kups Jolly Roger Pirates (1936)

Brigantines were popular pirate ships simply due to their popularity in the New World. During the colonial period it was the second most popular type of rigging for a ship before 1775, with the most common being the sloop. However, a brigantine has many advantages over a sloop or a schooner such as being faster and more easily maneuverable which proved very helpful in the West Indies. For this reason brigantines were popular in piracy.

Brig

See Brig

Often brigantines are confused with brigs given that they basically have the same name. This used to be true in the 18th century when the word brig was used as a shortened version of brigantine. However, eventually it came to define an entirely different kind of sailing ship which is distinguished by the gaff-rigged mainsail and a much different sail combination in general.

In addition to a different sail combination the main past of a brigantine is made from two parts and equal that of a schooner which has a long mast and a top mast. In comparison the brig is made from three parts and is more equal to a full rigged ship which has a mast, a topmast and a topgallant mast. Since the invention of metal masts the distinction between these two ships no longer exists in the modern era.

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