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Are 3 masted ships and 4 that different?

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Hi I'm building a 4 mast ship and need resources on how to rig it.  The only resources I can find are on one two and three mast ships.  if you can rig a 3 mast ship is rigging a 4 pretty intuitive or is it like starting all over?  And if it is can you please give me a good resources on how to rig a 4 mast ship.  Thank you. 

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Hi Brett;


That probably depends upon the era of the ship in question.  If you are making a 19th century ocean-going grain carrier or similar,  they would have been very much the same.  Although the after-most mast (the jigger,  I think it is called) was normally rigged the same as the mizen mast on a three-masted vessel,  with the other three square rigged (there were,  of course,  many alternative rigs,  but I am thinking of ships which were mostly square riggers) 


In the late Medieval and Tudor period,  the aftermost mast,  called the Bonaventure mizen,  was rigged with a lateen sail,  similar to the mizen mast,  but normally smaller.  These two aftermost masts were different to the forward two,  which were square-rigged.


All the best,


Mark P

Previously built models (long ago, aged 18-25ish) POB construction. 32 gun frigate, scratch-built sailing model, Underhill plans.

2 masted topsail schooner, Underhill plans.


Started at around that time, but unfinished: 74 gun ship 'Bellona' NMM plans. POB 


On the drawing board: POF model of Royal Caroline 1749, part-planked with interior details. My own plans, based on Admiralty draughts and archival research.


Always on the go: Research into Royal Navy sailing warship design, construction and use, from Tudor times to 1790. 


Member of NRG, SNR, NRS, SMS

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I was looking at the kits from Artesania Latina and I see two available.  The 16th Century Galleon has three masts with the mizzen lateen rigged and the 18th century ship (not a galleon as the description claims) San Juan Nepomuceno (74) which has a square rigged mizzen.  Neither has a fourth mast in the pictures.


I am a bit confused why your plans would include a fourth mast.  Of course, not having built those kits, the pictures may be wrong.







Laissez le bon temps rouler ! 



Current Build:  Le Soleil Royal

Completed Build Amerigo Vespucci

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It sounds like you are referring to the sprit top mast which is at the end of the bow sprit and secured with a knee and sometimes shrouds of sort. Some carried a small platform and above that a sprit topsail yard with a  square rigged sprit top sail. 



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