Four Masted Merchant Vessels

This site becoming a “site-of-call” for ‘ship-lovers’

Many square-rig enthusiasts, and experts in related aspects of maritime history, are making this site ( a port-of-call in their researches. An increasingly large group of contacts (around the world) intimates a wide range of erstwhile hidden knowledge of 19th Century iron and steel ships, and in particular four-masted sailing vessels. This is good news.

Numbers of 4-masted ships?

There are signs of on-going work, by dedicated enthusiasts, to identify each of the 4-masted iron/steel ships, barques and shipentines (a term used in USA) which were built. Work continues to establish exactly how many 4-masted ‘full rig’ ships and barques existed. Ask this question of the experts, and it reveals a considerable debate about the precise number of “4-masted ships ever built”. Adequate specification or other evidence is not always available. Estimates range from 397 to 455 at the last count, depending on a number of factors. Allowances must also be made for many ‘converted’ vessels where the number and utilisation of masts varied. If you have more up-to-date numbers please contact this site.