What is it? Types of Boats
The names given to various types of boats is a confusing and contradictory list. Here is what I figured out. Many types of boats share the same name and one type of boat can have different names depending when and where it was named.
A name can be applied to one type of boat then passed on as the design is modified. In the end the new design looks very different from the original, but still gets called by a similar or by the same name.
A name can be applied to many different types of boats used for the same thing.
You can't look at a boat name without looking at the date or for that matter looking at the location. The same name can be used at different times for different boats.
Howard Chapelle's book has many entries and offset tables for Small crafts in his book. If you are interested it's well worth the investment. American Small Sailing Craft: Their Design, Development and Construction
I keep going back to Gardener's book for reference, it's another really instructive book. ohn Gardner in his book Building Classic Small Craft : Complete Plans and Instructions for 47 Boats Don't believe the complete plans, it's mostly offsets but it's a good reference.
My main interest is in smaller boats so forgive me if I miss some of the larger crafts.
This page will never be finished. I had hoped for a nice complete page to refer to when I forgot what I had read but it soon became apparent that cataloging boat types is an impossible task. It will remain a work in progress. If you want to add a term let me know.
So far I've not cataloged individual designs, I few seem to have snuck in but there are a lot of little sailing dingies out there. Wikipedia has List of dingies and sailing boat types.
- Barge also lighter or scow, and more
- A general term used for several different models of a heavy, flat bottomed, vessels used to carry cargo, in protected waters. Barges are often blunt front and back and need to be pushed or towed by another boat. Barges are essentially boat trailers.
Here is a link of a dredging operation done at my boat club, using barges.
In Europe the term is also used for canal boats which are narrower, have more rounded ends, have engines, and often living quarters. They are used as freight boats but also as pleasure or house boats.
The term barge is also used to describe ceremonial boats used by officials and dignitaries. In these cases the barge might be highly elaborately appointed and rowed or motored. The link is to a ceremonial barge on the Zambezi River.
- Bateau, batteau
- In French a bateau is a general term for any boat.
In North America, it is often renamed batteau and is a flat-bottom, double ended river boat, with no keel and no deck. These were used along with canoes and sometimes moses boats to navigate shallow rivers, carrying freight. Usually these were rowed rather than sailed, but sails were often used when conditions were favourable. Some were also poled. They were usually steered with an oar at the back. They could be as long as 60 feet. Some were crewed by one person, most had more, up to 5 hands.
The batteaux were not complex boats and could be built by relatively unskilled builders.Wikipedia Entry on Bateau. with photos of reproductions. The Mabee Farm Bateau has a nice page.
The Charleston Bateaux were a different design. They were essentially punts with flat sides and blunt bow and stern. These were used by lumber men as utility boats while driving down rafts of lumber. Link to an excerpt from John Gardner's Building Classic Small Craft, from Duckworks. It includes plans.
- Caique, caïque, kayk
- Caiques are traditional fishing boat found on the Ionian or Aegean Sea, powered by motor. The term is used in Greece. It is traditionally a small wooden trading or fishing vessel, rigged for sail.
The term "caïque" is also used to describe a long narrow oar powered boat used in the Bosphorus. (The Bosphorus is a narrow straight that links the Black Sea and The Marmara Sea. It flows through Turkey) The Caiques were often used as ferry boats across the Straight. Ottomans had very luxurious and richly appointed caiques used as pleasure boats and for transportation. Article about Ottoman Caiques.
- Canoes are lightweight, double ended, open, paddling boats. Canoes evolved in many parts of the world and were constructed from many different materials. Canoes could be dugouts, bark, canvas or skin. More recently composite materials such as fiberglass, kevlar or carbon fibre have been used. With the development of roto-molding, canoes are also being molded from polyethylene.
Home builders often choose to use the Strip Building Method to produce stunningly lovely boats which can be very light weight. Ultra light canoes are also built using a light framework covered with synthetic fabric, often nylon or polyester.
Many designers offer plans for plywood canoes.
The shape of canoes depend on the use intended. They can range from short recreational single person boats, used in rapids, to long, many paddler freight canoes used by fur traders. When motors became available, canoes were sometimes built with a narrow transom to accommodate a small engine.
In the UK canoe can also mean Kayak and the term Canadian Canoe is used to distinguish the canoe from the kayak.
Although primarily powered by paddle, canoes are sometimes set up to sail. In that case a lea board is fitted.
- This is likely another spelling for Canoe. The term is found in older texts but no details on the boat accompany the mention. (I'm still looking)
- European 3 masted ships in the 14th to 17th century. The were widely used for commerce including the slave trade. Square-rigged on main and foremast, and lateen rigged on the mizzen. Relatively unchanged over the years, they had high forecastle and aftcastle. Carracks were often carvel planked. Wikipedia article on Carracks.
Columbus' Santa Maria and Pinta were Carracks. Jacques Cartier's Grande Hermine was also a Carrack.
- Carvel, caravel, caravela, caravelle
- A 15th century ship. Developed by the Portuguese. It was a small, light, (50 to 60 tons, 12-18 metres) 2 masted, lateen rigged craft. It was highly maneuverable and quick sailing vessel designed to explore the West African coast. Portuguese and Spanish were very interested in the spice trade and good exploring ships were essential.
Christopher Columbus' Santa Maria was a Carvel. Caravels were replaced by the higher capacity Carracks which were better for trading..pdf file History and Development of Caravels, by George Robert Schwartz.
- Cat Boat
- Not to be confused with catamarans which have 2 hulls, catboats are single hulled. Typically they are also very beamy making them quite stable. Catboats have a single mast and a large mainsail with no headsail. The booms are often quite long in order to carry more sail which is often a gaff rig, although other rigs are often seen. In order to balance the rig, the mast is placed quite far forward. It is often unstayed or supported by stays placed far forward. The Catboat Association Web page
- Fast craft with 2 relatively narrow hulls of similar size connected together. The space in the centre can be as simple as a mesh floor, or can be a sophisticated cabin, depending on the size. Multihulls are comfortable, fast and stable, but difficult to right if they do capsize. They are also less manageable when tacking.My page on multihulls
Sailing multihulls usually are fitted with a Bermudian rig although other styles are sometimes seen.
- Fast sailing ship from the mid 19th century. The Cutty Sark and the Flying Cloud were famous clippers. Clipper ships had three masts and a square rig. They were developed for trade. Their speed allowed them to deliver goods, notably tea, at record speed. With the opening of the Suez Canal, the need for quick ships on the tea route was eliminated and clippers became less important. They were also used during the California Gold rush period to bring supplies around Cape Horn. Clippers also found work bringing goods between the UK and its colonies to the east. Marine Insight has a page on Clipper Ships
- Small round or oval boats paddled in a sculling motion. Found in many parts of the world and still in use in Viet Nam notably. Coracles were common in the UK and many photos exist of Welsh fishermen using coracles. Welsh paddlers use a one hand method of sculling that leaves the other hand free to fish. Link to BBC article on coracles. Lots of pictures. Coracles can be built using a willow or other bendable framework covered with tarred canvas.
In the East, coracles are often built of tightly woven bamboo or other suitable reed, then waterproofed with tar. Coracles are found in many countries including India, Viet Nam Iran,Tibet (where the framework is covered with Yak Skin) and elsewhere. There are even modern versions being made of somewhat garish aqua plastic.
One group has interpreted a Babylonian pottery inscription as being a flood story which refers to a coracle's round shape as being the ark. Irving Finkel, British Museum, The Ark Before Noah.. Is a lecture and great fun to watch, Youtube Video.
The Coracle Society.org
Indiamart lists a blue plastic coracle for sale, and Alibaba.com sells woven Vietnamese coracles.
- The Corsair is a class of stable, relatively heavy, sixteen foot sailing dinghy. It is sailed with 2 or 3 crew. The boat was designed by Australian designer Alan Payne
Also a line of sailing trimerans.
Historically a corsair was a pirate, or privateer, in the 16th to 18th centuries.
- A modern corvette is a small warship usually between 500 and up to 3000 tons. Next size up is a frigate.
In the days of Sailing Vessels corvettes were also smaller warships. They had single deck of guns. While the French were calling their boats corvettes, the English were more likely to call their equivalent ships, Sloops. The first Corvettes were between 12-18 Metres. Later they became larger and reached 30 Metres. Wikipedia on corvettes.
From Weapons and Warfare page, some good images of old corvettes.
- Cosine Wherry
- Unlike many small rowing boats, such as Wherries and Whitehalls, which got their lines through a gradual evolution and the experience of their builders, the cosine wherry owes it's lines from a deliberate attempt at designing a light efficient pleasure rowboat. John Hartsock designed the boat so that the curve of the underwater areas followed a Cosine Curve. Remember your trigonometry? In the end, the resulting "Cosine Wherry" turned out to look pretty much like a traditional rowboats and Hartsock is quoted as saying 'builders of small boats in the 19th Century must have been wonderfully intelligent people with an intuitive feel for hull shape and a willingness to communicate with each other.'
Whitehalls etc were heavy duty work boat, while the Cosine wherry is a lighter and smaller pleasure craft.
John Hartsock's original boat is for sale. also plans and kits.
- Another one of these multiple definition boats. Cutters were fast sailing boats used by pilots, military, revenue, and pirates. They were working boats.
Many rigs have been used on cutters but one characteristic that is somewhat defining is that it carries 2 or 3 head sails and has a bowsprit. There were only one mast but that doesn't seem to be a universal characteristic. The mainsail can be a Bermudian sail in a more modern cutter, in the g gaff sails were common but square sails were widely used.
The term cutter can also be used for a rowing boat in which pairs of sailors rowed side by side. These cutters were carried by naval vessels to be used in relatively quiet water. The relatively wide boat and transom made it a stable boat for such jobs as laying anchors.
Cutters are also powered fishing boats or small military ships used by coast guards. pdf file on the types of boats and aircrafts of the U.S. Coast Guard. Wikipedia Article about cutters Much more detail.
- Small boat often used as a tender for larger vessels. Usually powered by oar or outboard. Sailing dinghies is a general term for smaller crafts designed for recreational sailing. There are many classes of sailing dinghies.
Noble Marine dinghy database.
- Doni, Dhoni, divehi, dhoani
- (In divehi : ދޯނި, dhoani)Sailing boat found in the Maldives and in Sri Lanka. Similar in shape to Viking crafts it has a wide beam. Measures between 6 and 12 Meters and and can have a crew ranging from 4 to 8 sailors.
- Dories were quickly produced in large quantity to be carried on fishing boats. The cod fishing boats would have a stack of grand banks dories which would be launched when the larger boat had reached the fishing grounds. These dories were flat bottomed, with a minimum of rocker, with sides made of only a few planks and a very narrow "tombstone" transom. These were intended to be rowed and sometimes sailed.
The Saint Pierre dories are descendants from these cod fishing boats. They are larger, almost entirely motorized, except those used for competition and leisure, and much more stable.
The traditional dories were terribly unsteady until they had some weight in them.
Later other boats, that had moved away from the grand banks dory shape and evolved more suited shapes for their environment, had acquired a much rounder hull made from many planks, were also called dories but usually with a descriptive name added. These new "dories", such as the Swampscott dories have little in common with the grand banks dories. They still maintain a flat bottom and horizontally planked construction.
Here is a link to my dory page which gives a more detailed article on dories.
The Dory Book by John Gardner, Free to Read online, pdf
- Drag Boats
- Fast power boat used for racing. Similar to drag car racing but on water.
Ontario Power Boat Racing Association
- See also Jonboat. Here is another class of boats that can describe a number of different shapes. The common factor is the function. Originally, duckboats were simply boats that were used to go duck hunting. Any low stable boat would do. Duckboats are usually relatively short wide stable boats capable of accommodating an excited dog and of going in shallow water. John Gardner in his book Building Classic Small Craft : Complete Plans and Instructions for 47 Boats describes the Merrymeeting Bay Duckboat. It is is a wide shallow boat with a pointy end and a wide low transom. There is no rocker and the boat has small decks on the sides and a high coamings. Here is a link to plans and photos of this style of boat from Sandypoint boatworks.
Sometimes, duckboats will have platforms or attachments for camouflage or greenery to make the boat into a duck blind. Most duckboats are used with small outboard motors.
Some people talk of flat bottom punt like boats as duckboats. These have blunt bows and transoms. Here is a link to a Youtube video of this kind of boat redefining shallow water boating. Here is another link to this type of aluminium duck/fishing/macho machine
Often these flat bottom blunt shallow draft fishing/hunting boats are called Jonboats or Jon Boats.
More recently, larger amphibious tour boats have been called duckboats. They operate out of city harbours and take people through the city and into the water for a look at the city from the water. Tour type duckboat from Wikipedia
- A boat usually paddled, made from a large tree hollowed out. Making a dugout canoe, a nice discussion of 'primitive' technique and tools. Sometimes dugouts are given more freeboard by the addition of side planks.
- Traditional Scandinavian rowing and sailing boat. These wooden double ended open lapstrake boats were very common, and are still built and raced today. The word fairing refers to the 4 rowers they accommodated.
In Norway, Oselvars are built and raced using sprit rigs. Wikipedia entry
My page on faerings
Iain Oughtred's plans for Elf, Classic Marine.
- The 18 foot Development Class Flattie which later became know as the Geary 18 is an American sailing dinghy. It was designed by Ted Geary as a stable racing and training dinghy in the late 1920's.
It has a flat bottomed hull with a flat transom and pointed bow. Here is a link to the specification of the Geary 18, also known as the Flattie
The term flattie is also used to describe pointed flat bottom sailing or rowing boats including what we might call skiffs.
- A general term for barges, scows etc, which have square ends and flat bottoms.
- Heavily built flat bottomed work boat with flat bow and stern. Their wide flat bottom makes lots of room for fish or other cargo. At first they were sail driven (because of the flat bottom they could be made to plane) but now usually motor powered.
The later addition of a v bottom on some variations made the garvey more manageable in rougher water.
Garvey project at the Great Lakes Boat Building School. Youtube video of Kennedy Parnell's 19 ft Galveston Garvey Dory.
- Gunning Dory
Double ended rowing boat. Unlike grand banks dories it does not have the small transom nor is it designed to be stackable. Like the grand bank dories it has a flat bottom lacking any rocker.
Dories are flat bottomed, relatively easy to build, planked lengthwise, originally utilitarian boats developed for fishing.
Link below is to John Gardener's book at Amazon's. It has a good descriptions and offsets sufficient to build the gunning dory. He was personally involved in building a Chamberlain gunning dory and speaks very highly of them, praising its good looks and its light easily driven hull. The high bow and stern also help to make this boat safe in chop and higher waves.Building Classic Small Craft : Complete Plans and Instructions for 47 Boats. Most of his "Complete" plans are not really very complete for the amateur boatbuilder but in this case his plans are quite detailed.
Gentry's Chamberlain Gunning Dory as skin on frame instead of planked in plywood
Link to The Dory Book by John Gardner, Read online pdf
- A general term used for many different styles of boats which are made of a waterproof membrane which can be inflated. Many styles have been developed including Stand up Paddle boards, Kayaks, rafts, sailing dinghies and of course the ubiquitous Zodiac style dinghy. Some inflatable dinghies can be deflated and stored on board saving space, others are permanently inflated and have many hard fittings to make the boat more rigid and comfortable. Most inflatable dinghies are used with motors since they are ungainly as rowing boats. A few companies have developed sailing inflatable boats and there are many kayak style inflatables available. (Sea Eagle SE370 Inflatable Sport Kayak Pro Package) The inflatable's stability and carrying capacity makes them a very successful tender.
- Jon boats are shallow draft flat bottom boats used in shallows to fish and hunt. They typically have relatively low sides, no rocker, and slightly sloping flat bows and straight transoms. The bow is quite long ,and can be pointed above the waterline, the width provides a good stable platform for fishing or easily beaching the boat. Here is an example and the Wikipedia entry on Jon Boats
Plans are widely available here is one from Duckworks. Some people call jonboat-like boats duckboats. See above.
- A type of South East Asian sailing ship that is still in limited use today. Junks were used as seagoing vessels and could make extensive voyages. There is quite a wide range of hull shapes which have been or still are in use but the sail style is a common denominator. Here is a link to my page on junk sails.
A junk rig is a variant of a balanced lug. It is divided into a series of horizontal panels by sturdy battens. Lines from the ends of the battens control the sail. Although complex looking and heavy the sail makes for a safe and docile rig. Because the stress on individual panels is small, sails can be made of materials not usually considered strong enough for normal sails. Thus, sacking and woven reeds were used in the past. The sail is easily reefed by simply lowering the sail which folds accordion style.
These books are good references if you are interested in junk rigs: Practical Junk Rig: Design Aerodynamics & Handling, AND The Chinese Sailing Rig - Design and Build Your Own Junk Rig
- Sometimes called kajak or qayaq, these small one or sometimes 2 person crafts are derived from the skin on frame double ended crafts made by various far north people notably Greenland and North America. It is propelled by a double bladed paddle. Kayaks are narrow, responsive, and quite quick. Traditional paddlers were protected by a special jacket which could be sealed to the boat, now splash skirt have replaced the tuilik garment. This allowed the kayak to be rolled back upright without swamping in case of a capsize. Construction was traditionally animal skins over wood or sometimes bone frames. These small "men's boats" or "hunter's boat" were used for hunting and fishing.
Modern kayaks are often made of fiberglass or other composite, of roto-moulded plastic, or from wood. Some enthusiasts still build their kayaks from skin on frame, but often the skin is polyester or nylon rather than sealskin.
Link to My page on skin and frame boats including a very interesting Canadian National Film Board Youtube link to a native building a kayak. I also have a page on Kayak and canoe plans
Wikipedia has a good article on kayaks and kayaking.
Depending on intended use, kayaks can be built short and very maneuverable for rapids and extreme conditions, or they can be long and streamlined for speed and improved tracking, for expeditions and distance paddling, and everything in between.
- A two masted sailboat with a foremast and a mizzen mast. Originally in North and Baltic seas, ketches were square rigged freight or fishing boats.
In modern times, ketches are pleasure yachts similar to yawls but with bigger mizzens carried forward of the rudder post.
- Lighter are a type of rounded end usually un-powered barge type of boat used to move passengers and cargo from anchored ships. Modern lighters can be quite large and carry cranes to unload container ships. Very large container ships sometimes cannot come into harbours and in this case lighters are used to unload them.
- An open boat carried by sailing ships, rowed by eight or ten oarsmen, its rowing benches were designed to accommodate two men each pulling an oar on opposite sides. Longboats could be rigged for sailing. The fine lines aft, allowed its use in steep waves, tide and windy conditions.
- Also Viking ship. Large graceful sailing or rowing vessel used by Norsemen for exploration, warfare and trade. These long, double ended, shallow draft speedy boats, could be beached. My page on the Draken Harald Harfagre.
- Moses boat
- In the mid 18th century, in East Coast U.S. a Moses Boat was a double ended ship's boat similar to a longboat. In the Caribbeans, it was a strongly built flat bottomed beach boat built with a keel. 14-17 feet long, It was equipped with cradles and used to transport sugar casks and other heavy freight through the heavy surf at a shoreline. It was also used for fishing.
- A small double ended rowing boat used in the eastern seabord of North America, Matinicus Island in Maine USA, peapod were used in open water for lobster fishing. These boats were often symmetrical front and back. Often planked carvel style, they are quite a heavy boat. A bit of weight is no disadvantage in a rowboat though. These boats were not taken out of the water every day, because of the weight. They often could be rowed standing up facing forward, using an extension to the oarlocks.Duck Trap Woodworking offers Matinicus peapod boat plans
My page on Peapods with links to buidling a peapod with Arch Davis, and rowing video. Modern Peapods are sometimes built lighter if the boat is to be used for recreation.
- Pilot Gig
- A long narrow rowing craft used for general use. They were typically used to take pilots to incoming vessels. They were also used as rescue and lifeboats.
The pilot gigs are still made but used mainly for sport and racing.Wikipedia on Cornish pilot gigs
Short youtube video on cornish pilot gig
- Pinace, pinnace
- Any of many style of ship's tender. Also a small sailing ship often associated with a larger ship. Earlier the term was sometimes used to describe a 17th century craft with a flat stern. It had 2 or sometimes 3 masts and had some use as a warship or as a tender.
In the 1500s the term was used to describe a galley ship also called rambargo.
- A general term for different small native boats such as dugouts or native canoes.
In the U.S., a small, flat bottomed, double ended, Cajun bayou canoe. These are paddled or sometimes poled in shallow water.
Wooden Boat magazine link to a traditional Louisiana Cypress Pirogue.
- Pontoon boat
- A boat built on top of 2 or sometimes more pontoons. Stable and relatively inexpensive, they are used extensively for recreation as floating living rooms, family swimming platform and fishing boats.
Pontoon platforms are used to support house boats on quiet waterways. Lowe boats.com Modern pontoons are often built of aluminium and sometimes stainless steel and require minimal maintenance.
- Small flat ended boats often seen as tenders on larger ships. The advantage of having a flat bow and transom is more volume and carrying capacity for the length. Many plans are available for plywood prams. Here is the a free plan. I built another, the Apple pie
A Scandinavian or nordic type pram is also flat ended but with a much more elegant longer curved hulls. These were used as utility rowing and sailing crafts. Here is an example of a Norwegian Sailing Pram from Simon Watts Woodworking.
Chesapeake Light Craft's passagemaker pram is inspired by these boats.
- Pulling Boat
- Boats that are propelled by oar. Rowboats.
- Punts have flat bottoms square bows and sterns, with shallow freeboard and are used as utility boats in small rivers or shallow protected waters. Usually poled rather than rowed, punts have been rigged for sail mostly to assist in downwind voyages. Oars, paddles and motors can also be seen.
In more modern times punts are often used as pleasure boats, notably in the UK where Cambridge and Oxford have large fleets of punts, along with friendly competitions and arguments about the right way to pole your punt.Here is a link to a Daily info UK Punting guide. A good funny read.
Here is a link to My Punt Page
- Radeau in French is a raft. In English a radeau could be a number of different shapes. Often used as a platform for various naval operations. Land Turtoise wrecked in Lake George, a floating bastion from the French and Indian War. It was used as a floating fort and had high sides to protect the soldiers.
The term radeau is sometimes used for inflatable life rafts.
- Rafts are sometimes no more than a few logs tied together in a rough floating platform. Often rafts were constructed as temporary accommodations for loggers who were driving their logs downstream. When they reached their destination the rafts would be sold for their lumber. Rafts don't offer much maneuverability. They often are poled and sometimes can carry simple sails. At the other end of the spectrum some rafts can be worthy crafts as demonstrated by Thor Heierdahl and his Kon Tiki, which sailed across the Pacific, from South America to the Polynesian islands. He wrote about it in his book: Kon-Tiki: Across the Pacific in a Raft
- Long narrow boat fitted for rowing, with from one to three masts, sometimes rigged wtih lateen sails. See also pinace
- Rangely Boat
- A pointy front with small flat transom, designed to be rowed. A small v bottoms aids in the tracking. These were based on the St. Lawrence skiffs but modified to be larger and more stable to handle the rough Langely Lake conditions. Designed as sturdy fishing boats which could accommodate 4-5 fishermen who came to fish the Salmon and trout in the Rangeley Lakes in Maine. Orvis News article on the Rangeley Boat.
The Newfound Woodworks offers kits for Rangeley boats. This is primarily a rowing boat but motors have be used.
- Traditional oyster dredger boat from the Chesapeake Bay. Sloop Rigged with a striking extra long boom and a boomsprit that supports a self tending jib. The V shaped hull with a square stern.Wikipedia article on Skipjacks
Skipjack is also a Skipjack yachtscommercial powerboat with a flybridge, often used as recreational fishing and coastal cruising boat.
- Scow (barge)
- An unpowered barge like vessel for used to carry freight or dredging machinery. They are stable and can be used as the base of a houseboat.
In U.S. Sailing Scows are shallow draft, fast, sailing crafts often sporting twin rudders and twin bilge boards. They are capable of sailing in shallow water.
Lydia Ann, a traditional Texas scow schooner, is currently being built at Farley's Boat Works in Port Aransas.
- Traditional fishing boat used not surprisingly to fish shad, originally rigged with a sprit sail, along with a jib and topsail. Pointed at the front with a transom at back.Shad Boat is North Carolina State Historical Boat.
- Large open boat in the 1700's for shipboard use. Predecessor to the "longboat" and "launch" in the eighteenth century.
They were also a small open work boats used for coastal navigation in the 1600's. 20 to 30 feet long and powered with oars and a mast with one or two sails. Wide beam and shallow draft (2 feet) allowed shallops to navigate in shallow water. They were also capable of deep water navigation. They could take over a dozen people or carry a respectable load. Some were armed with cannons.
Under the auspices of the Four Hundred Project, a replica was created. There is a link to the project at the National Park Service, Captain John Smith page, Captain John Smith, Four Hundred Project Capitain John Smith (the British explorer of Jamestown and Pocahontas fame,) described his boat as an "open barge neare three tuns burthen" Its exact shape and style has not been exactly determined. We know that it was build in England and dismantled into manageable pieces that could be stowed aboard a larger boat. It was then re assembled once arrived.
In Quebec, Canada, the term chaloupe, is still used as a general term for small recreational fishing boats.
- Here is a term that is applied to many different boats depending on where and when you are.
In the US, sharpies have a pointed bow and a flat transom. They were developed in New Haven, Connecticut and were sailed around Long Island Sound. These were used as fishing boats in particular as oyster boats. Sharpies are shallow draft hard chined sailboats with a flat bottoms and flared sides. They are equipped with centreboards. Sharpies were ideal shallow water boats and were used in tidal waters, they were not considered safe offshore. They sometimes carried ballast to improve handling and safety.
Because of the flat bottom and flat sides they were easy to build. They had good speed and were known to plane under strong wind. The up-wind performance was not great though.
Wikipedia page on Sharpies and Modern interpretation by John Harris of Chesapeake Light Craft.
In Australia, a sharpie is an official controlled sailing and racing dinghy. Australian Sharpie Sailing Association page.
The term sharpie is also sometimes applied to any small boat that is clothe-iron shaped, in the same way as skiff is sometimes used.
- This is another term is applied to many different crafts. Historically a skiff was what we would call a dinghy.
Skiffs are usually smaller boats used as utility crafts or as leisure boats, fishing, sailing, rowing are all variations.
In Australia and New Zealand Skiffs are racing classes of 12 to 18 feet. Link to Australian 12 foot Skiff Website
Here is a link to the 18ft Skiff history
Another use of the term skiff, usually "rowing skiff" is that of a fast performance shallow draft rowing boat equipped with sliding seats and outriggers for the oars.Little River Marine is an example of this use of skiff
- Sailing boat with a single mast and one fore and one aft sail. A sloop has only one head-sail while a cutter might have 2-3. The Bermudian sloop rig is the most commonly used rig on modern recreational sailboats. It carries a mainsail on a boom aft of the mast, with a loose-footed jib or genoa supported by the fore stay.
Sloops can also be rigged with a gaff sail and jib.
In military parlance, a sloop is a warship between a corvette and a frigate in size.
- A stable, low profile boat often used for duck hunting. The term sneakbox is used in the Bernegat Bay, NJ. USA. It can be rowed, motored or poled. Branches, reeds and other camouflage can be set on it's wide all round decks.
Devlin's has plans for a sneakbox
- Surf Dory
- These dories are made to be launched from a beach. With pointy front and narrow transom, some beach dories have no transom at all and are pointed at both ends. Often symmetrical front and back they can be rowed from both ends. Designed to rise up and ride the waves rather than cut through. They have a flat bottom, flare on the sides and varying curve on the side. Modern day surf dories are often used for competitions and lifeguarding. Swampscott dories have these characteristics. Surf dories need to be built very strongly. They often sport larger than usual gunwales and oar locks are installed to take high stress.Modern Surf Dories from Hobie Surf Shop Blog. This link is of the plans of a surf dory designed by Paul Gartside, with link to launch photos A final link compares a Dory with a whitehall. Good Read
- Swampscott Dory
- The Swampscott dory was a 19th century traditional fishing boat on the North Shore coast of Massachusetts around Swampscott. It is a Surf Dory and like other surf dories, is made to be able to go through the surf off the beach. Its rounded hull provides more buoyancy for launching through surf and the flat bottom keeps the boat level when on the beach. Because it has no keel, the waves can't grab the boat and turn it sideway. It allows the boat to pass through the surf, if you're lucky.
Swampscott dories have rounded sides and less overhang stern than a banks dory. They were rowed and carried sails.
In more modern times Swampscott dory came to be used for recreation. Mystic Seaport Museum has plans for a Swampscott Sailing Dory from John Gardner. There is also a nice article in Duckworks about Swampscott Dories.
- General term for small boats used in association with larger boats to carry passengers and supplies from shore to the moored boat. Modern tenders are often inflatables. Link to my page on Tenders. I also have a page of plans for boats which are suitable as tenders.
- Toulinguet boat
- Classic cruising Bermudian sloop, 8.5 m long designed by Francois Vivier
- Multihulled boat which has 3 relatively narrow hulls and no keel. Because they are lighter they are relatively shallow draft. The middle hull is often used as a larger cabin. The wide footprint provides stability and a comfortable ride, as well as lots of space for gear and hanging out. My page on the advantages and disadvantages of multihull sailboats.
- A traditional sailing and rowing boat used for carrying cargo or passengers on rivers and canals in England. Although mainly linked with the Thames, wherries were widely used.
Traditional wherries could be manned by several crew. Norfolk Wherry Trust page on the wherry Albion. Wherries were the water taxis of the age. Passenger wherries had long bows that allowed people to step off the boat without getting their feet wet. Passengers wherries persisted into the 1800 and were of great use to cross the Thames before bridges were built. Cutters, Gigs and Skiffs had shorter bows.
The modern wherry is a pleasure rowing boat for 1 or 2 rowers. Angus Rowboats has plans for their Oxford Wherry.
Passenger wherries evolved into the Thames skiff, a recreational rowing boat extensively raced.
In North America wherries were used as fishing boats. Examples are the Lincolnville Salmon Wherry, the Rhodes Wherry. Small Boat Monthly article on Penobscot rowing wherries.
According to John Gardner, one of the distinguishing characteristic of the wherries is its flat bottom that allows the boat to stand upright when beached.
- These American work boats were first made at the foot of Whitehall Street in New York City. They ferried passengers, goods, of offered services to the ships in New York Harbour. They ranged in size from 14 to 22 feet depending on intended use. They were the days water taxi and used for legitimate and shadier business. Whitehalls were not used as tenders and ship's boats.
Whitehalls were fast, easily rowed and stable crafts in the often choppy harbour water. Some models, intended for longer journeys, were sometimes fitted with a sailing rig. Chandlers boats are an example. They eventually became a favourite recreational rowing craft.
Wikipedia Entry for Whitehall Rowboat.
Gig Harbor Boat Works has plans for a 14 ft rowing and sailing Whitehall. Howard Chapelle's book has many entries and offset tables for Whitehalls.American Small Sailing Craft: Their Design, Development and Construction
Whitehallrow.com offers a traditional whitehall rowing boat
If you are interested, John Gardner in his Building Classic Small Craft : Complete Plans and Instructions for 47 Boats has a chapter on Whitehalls.
There are arguments as to the origins of the Whitehalls. Some claim a British ancestry, others claim a purely American development. The real answer is probably a bit of both, since similar boats were in use in the UK, it is not illogical that they could be a starting point for the Whitehalls.
Compare the Thames Skiff and the Classic Whitehall built from Gardner's plans in New Zeland! Isn't the internet great.
The Whitehall hull shape has a nearly vertical stem, and slight flare to the bow, sides are rounded. The full length keel and the skeg keeps the boat tracking straight. The characteristic wine glass transom is high and mostly un-wetted.
- A two masted sailing boat. The main mast is the taller of the 2 and supports a mainsail and often a jib. The second mast is the smaller mizzen mast. Adding a mizzen helps balance a rig allowing more canvas to be added further up front. The mizzen often overhangs the back of the boat and is aft of the rudder post.
A small double ended rowboat.
A small towing powerboat.
- Whale boats, whaler
- A relatively narrow seaworthy double ended rowing boat developed for whaling, the front and back were identical and it could be rowed in either direction.They often carried sails.
Similar boats are often carried as tenders in larger ships. In that case they were identical or very similar to longboats. They also found use along beach-fronts as lifeboats.
Boston whalers are a commercial brand of fiberglass power boats. Rectangular in shape with flat sides and bottom and long almost blunt bow, they are stable boats often used as marina boats to carry passengers and their baggage to their moored vessels. or a stable fishing platforms. Boston whaler come in many styles.
I try to be accurate and check my information, but mistakes happen.email me if you find mistakes, I'll fix them and we'll all benefit: Christine
Sea Anchors and Drogues
Carbon Fiber terminology
Nautical Terms about boat hulls
Terms about Sails
GPS and Chartplotter vocabulary and acronyms
Rowing and Rowboat terminology and vocabulary
Useful articles about Drogues and Sea Anchors
Radar and Radar reflectors
My page on Brass
Boat Fuse Box
Dog Saver Life Vest
Drill Brushes great for cleaning boats
Led light strip
Emergency, personal locator
Boat Shoe, by Sperry
Sun protection fabric
3 Litre pressure cooker
This information is for general knowledge. This article derives from notes I took while I was researching various names for myself. I don't pretend it is complete.