What Is a Sailboat With 2 Masts Called?

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Sailboats have been around for thousands of years and have come in all shapes and sizes. They have played a critical role in exploration, commerce, and recreation. One particular type of sailboat that often catches people’s eyes is a two-masted sailboat, but what is it called?

Sailors and sailing enthusiasts alike often use specific terminology when it comes to different types of sailboats. Knowing the proper terms can help you better understand the different types of sailboats and their characteristics.

In this article, we will explore the particulars of sailboats with two masts and discover what they are called.


What Is a Sailboat With 2 Masts Called?

Sailing is a popular pastime and sport that has been enjoyed for centuries. Sailboats come in many different shapes and sizes, and one of the most popular types of sailboats is the one with two masts. But what are these sailboats called?

Let’s take a closer look.


A yawl is a type of sailing boat that features two masts. The mizzen mast, which is the shorter mast of the two, is located towards the back of the boat. The main mast, which is the taller of the two, is located towards the front of the boat.

One of the defining characteristics of a yawl is the positioning of the mizzen mast. Unlike a ketch or a schooner, which also feature two masts, a yawl’s mizzen mast is positioned aft of the steering mechanism, usually in the back of the cockpit. This specific design allows for greater flexibility while sailing, making a yawl a versatile boat choice for sailors of all levels.

Historically, yawls were used primarily as fishing boats and were designed with shallow drafts, making them well-suited for coastal waters. However, nowadays, they are frequently used for cruising, racing, and even as liveaboard options.

Modern Yawls are also made of various materials ranging from traditional wood to fiberglass or other composites. They are also available in a range of sizes, depending on their intended use. Some of the larger yawls may even include additional features like a cabin, a galley, and sleeping quarters.


A ketch is a type of sailing boat that features two masts, with the aft mast – also called the mizzenmast – situated behind the mainmast. This unique configuration allows for a variety of sail plans, including the use of small sails on the mizzenmast to provide additional balance and control in certain sailing situations.

This design is popular among sailors who value versatility and safety, as ketches are well-suited for a range of conditions and can be operated with smaller crews.

The sail plan of a ketch typically includes a mainsail, a headsail located forward of the mast, and a mizzenmast with at least one additional sail.

The smaller sail on the mizzenmast, known as a mizzen staysail, can be used to help balance the boat in high winds, while the larger sail on the mainmast provides the primary propulsion. This sail arrangement allows for more precise control of the boat’s direction, especially in rough or windy conditions.

There are several advantages to sailing a ketch. First, the use of multiple sails and the distinctive mast configuration provide increased stability, which makes ketches popular among solo sailors or those with smaller crews.

Second, the flexibility of the sail plan allows for a greater range of sailing conditions, from light winds to rough seas. Finally, many sailors appreciate the aesthetic appeal of the ketch design, which is both functional and striking.


A schooner is a type of sailing vessel that typically has two or more masts. The masts on a schooner are usually the same height, or if there is a difference, the forward mast is taller. This configuration is known as a fore-and-aft rig, where the sails are positioned parallel to the length of the vessel, rather than perpendicular or diagonal.

Schooners were widely used in the 18th and 19th centuries for fishing, trading, and naval warfare. They were particularly popular in North America, where they were used to transport goods along coastal and inland waterways. Many famous American ships of the early 19th century, such as the USS Constitution and the USS Niagara, were schooners.

The size of a schooner can vary greatly, ranging from small pleasure craft to large commercial vessels. They are typically made of wood, although some modern schooners are now constructed from other materials such as fiberglass or steel.

One defining characteristic of a schooner is its versatility. The vessel is capable of sailing in various wind conditions and can be navigated with a relatively small crew. This made the schooner an ideal vessel for trade and exploration.

In terms of its design, the schooner has a long, narrow hull, which makes it fast and maneuverable. The sails are typically triangular in shape and overlap slightly, providing greater control over the vessel’s speed and direction.

Today, schooners are mainly used for pleasure cruising or as a type of sailboat racing. They are popular among sailing enthusiasts who appreciate their classic design and unique sailing characteristics.


A brigantine is a two-masted sailing vessel that is typically used for both commercial and recreational purposes. It is considered to be a type of brig, which is a sailing ship that has two square-rigged masts. However, a brigantine differs from a traditional brig in that it has a fore-and-aft rig on its mainmast instead of a square rig.

The fore-and-aft rig on the mainmast of a brigantine allows for greater maneuverability and control, especially when sailing close to the wind. This makes it a popular choice for coastal and inland waters, where the winds can be unpredictable and variable.

Brigantines were commonly used as cargo ships during the Age of Exploration, as they were able to carry large amounts of cargo while still being relatively fast and agile. They were also used as naval vessels, particularly during the 18th and 19th centuries, due to their speed and ease of handling.

In modern times, brigantines are often used for educational and recreational purposes. Many organizations and schools operate brigantines as part of their maritime education programs, allowing students to learn about sailing, navigation, and maritime history while aboard a traditional sailing vessel.

Brigantines can vary in size, with some smaller vessels being used for day trips and pleasure sailing, while larger vessels can be used for longer voyages and expeditions. They typically have a crew of anywhere from 5-20 people, depending on the size of the vessel and the nature of the voyage.


What Is A Hermaphrodite Brig?

A hermaphrodite brig, also known as a half-brig, is a type of sailing vessel that was popular during the 18th and 19th centuries. It was a hybrid of two different types of vessels, the brig and the schooner.

The hermaphrodite brig had two masts, with the foremast being the taller of the two. It also had square-rigged sails on the foremast and fore-and-aft sails on the mainmast. This combination of sails allowed the vessel to sail efficiently in both light and heavy winds.

The term “hermaphrodite” comes from the fact that the vessel had characteristics of both a square-rigged brig and a fore-and-aft rigged schooner. It was a versatile vessel that was able to navigate through different weather conditions and sail efficiently in both open seas and narrow channels.

The hermaphrodite brig was widely used for coastal trading and fishing, as well as for naval purposes. Its versatility made it a popular choice for naval fleets, as it was able to carry a large amount of cargo and supplies while still maintaining its speed and maneuverability.

One of the most significant uses of the hermaphrodite brig was during the Napoleonic Wars in the early 19th century. The British Navy used these vessels extensively for blockade duty, as they were able to patrol shallow waters and navigate through narrow channels with ease.

Despite its popularity during the 18th and 19th centuries, the hermaphrodite brig eventually fell out of use as newer, more efficient vessels were developed. However, its legacy lives on in maritime history, as it played an important role in the development of sailing vessels and naval warfare.


What Is A Sailboat With 3 Masts Called?

A sailboat with three masts is called a schooner. The schooner is a type of sailing vessel that has been used for centuries for both commercial and recreational purposes. The most common type of schooner has two masts, but there are also schooners with three or even four masts.

Schooners are still popular today, both for racing and leisure sailing. Many modern schooners are designed for luxury cruising, featuring spacious cabins and amenities like air conditioning and Wi-Fi.


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