Yachts are complicated

Look at cars. Loads and loads of different types, but generally all the same design.
A box on four wheels with an engine.

Now look at yachts. Loads and loads of different types, and all completely different. One hull, two hulls, three hulls. One mast, two masts, three masts. This sail, that rig, the other jib. And yes, I’ve begun to reference the technical language that goes with it, so you’re already playing catch-up.

(As an aside – which is your preferred keel type?)
(Fin, Wing, Bilge? Daggerboard or centreboard?)
(Meh – I digress. Your call. It’s all good.)

I was in contact with The 6000 miles… Maritime Correspondent last night, asking him to assist with deducing the type of sailing vessel depicted in a photograph wot I had saw on Facebook. Was it, perchance, a sloop? I thought that it might be – via the means of a process of elimination:

I was pretty sure that it wasn’t a fractional rig sloop (although now maybe it was – see UPDATE below) or a ketch, a schooner, a yawl, a cutter or a cat (no whiskers, see?). Alternatively, it could have been a barque, (always worse than their bite), a barquentine (always worse than their bitentine), a brig or a brigantine, but it wasn’t. Clearly.

Neither was it a true sloop though, because – as was pointed out by The Maritime Correspondent, it was gaff-rigged. And then, it turned out that actually, it didn’t fit into any given category anyway and was a completely new type of yacht. Great.

Kinda sloopy , but… not. Gaff-rigged, rather than the more traditional Bermuda or Marconi rig, see?

So, you can have variations on any of the above themes and that makes them not what you thought they were, then? Great.

And this is proven on the “types of sailboat” page which I got some of my “types of sailboat” information from, because even the expert author there was forced to issue a clarification:

In this article I’ve said that ketches, yawls and schooners with two headsails can be called cutter rigged. This is a commonly used description but strictly speaking, there’s only one rig that can accurately be called a cutter – and that’s a single-masted sailboat with two headsails.

Damn straight. I spotted that as soon as I logged on. Amateur.

Look, I like to know about things. I pride myself on my general knowledge. But yachts? Meh – you can keep them. Unnecessarily complicated. I’m happy to stick to my limited knowledge of woody or fibreglassy bit = hull, poley bit = mast, clothy bit = sail.

If you know more: fair play, well done. It’s not for me.

UPDATE: Oh Christ… incoming:

If you work it back, it appears that the Bermuda Sloop was originally a Gaff-Rig:
So it could be argued that a gaff-rig is a type of sloop.
Our Yacht is a fractional rig sloop? Sloop is a bit of a generic term for any normal yacht, it appears…

*head explodes*

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