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The great age of sail

Learn how the sailing ship was refined to become one of the finest machines ever built, and how it helped establish world trade as we know it today.  Find out why there were so many different rigs and what each of them was best suited to do.
Types of ships

Descriptions of ships during the period were based on rigs, but were not always precise. Find out why here.
 'Lady of Avenel'
`Magdalene Vinnen` and `Worcester`  Ships and barques

The full rigged ship was the most common ocean-going vessel during the early part of this period, however, barque and barquentine rigs gradually became more common. Explore these rigs, and the reason why their popularity changed.
Coastal sailing ships

A variety of mainly two- and single-masted sailing ships worked in coastal trades, including brigs, schooners, ketches and barges. Find out what distinguished each type, and what they were best suited to.
 Barge 'Will'
'Cutty Sark'  Fast and famous

The most important or fastest types of ships of their day became famous. Learn about some of the better known ones here.

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