(McKenna, Robert. The Dictionary of
Nautical Literacy, New York 2001.)
THE HULL AND RIG OF VESSELS
Gross Registered Tonnage (grt), the measure of total internal volume of
a ship, in units of one hundred cubic feet, excluding machinery spaces, bridge
and navigation spaces, and other minor spaces essential to the operation of the
ship. This measure is applied only to merchant vessels.
Deadweight tonnage, abbreviated "dwt", the number of tons of cargo,
stores, and bunker that a vessel can transport. It is the difference between
the number of tons of water a vessel displaces when light and when submerged to
the deep load line. Also known as "displacement", statement of a ship’s weight
expressed in the actual weight of the water a vessel displaces when floating at
a given draft. Salt water weighs sixty-four pounds per cubic foot.
Net registered tonnage (NRT), tonnage frequently shown on merchant ship
registration papers. It represents the internal volume available for cargo and
for passengers. Set at one hundred cubic feet per ton, it is used for port and
canal authorities as a basis for tolls and charges.
(Treasury Department, Bureau of Navigation, List of Merchant Vessels of the
United States for the Year Ended June 30, 1891, Government Printing Office,
The term rig, when applied to vessels, generally refers to the number and kind
of masts and style of sails that are carried, but the term is also sometimes
used indiscriminately to designate the class of hull or the complete vessel in
Aside from the generic name of ship, which applies to all species of vessels,
we have the term applied to the rig of the largest class of sailing vessels,
which has for a long period been known among sailors to designate a three-mast
vessel having lower masts, topmast, and topgallant masts with yards
(square-rigged) on each mast, and having a bowsprit. When the large, modern
merchant ships began to be built the double topsail rig (which was an American
invention) was introduced, and more latterly the four-mast ship, now quite
common for the long iron ships built in Great Britain. The ship carrying four
masts is generally fore-and-aft rigged on the after mast.
The bark or barque (from the Latin barca) is a rig similar to that of the ship,
excepting that it has only fore-and-aft sails (no yards) on the mizzen mast.
They generally carry double topsails.
BARKENTINE, ALSO SPELLED BARKANTINE AND BARQUANTINE
The term is derived from the word "barque", and properly signifies a small
bark. The barkentine is fitted with three masts, square-rigged with yards on
the foremast only, and fore-and-aft sails on the main and mizzen masts.
Barkentines are generally constructed with great length in proportion to their
A name applied to vessels of fore-and-aft rig of various sizes. Schooners have
two or more long lower masts without tops, and are sometimes fitted with light
square topsails, especially at the fore; but these are giving way to the
fore-and-aft gaff topsails, which are better adopted to the American coast. The
schooner used to be the rig chiefly for small vessels, but some of the more
modern schooners measure 800 and 1,000 tons, and carry three and four masts.
About The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island
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