Lewis R. French, a gaff-rigged topsail schooner

A schooner is a type of sailing ship, as defined by its rig configuration. Typically it has two[1] or more masts, the foremast being slightly shorter than the mainmast.[2]

Pronounced ər/, the term first appeared in eastern North America in the early 1700s.[3] The name may be related to a Scots language word meaning to skip over water,[4] or to skip stones.[5]


The schooner is an evolution of the fore-and-aft rig. a rig consisting mainly of sails set along the line of the keel rather than perpendicular to it.[6] This rig had itself been developed from earlier rigs such as the lateen. It is not known when the rig we now call a schooner appeared, but the earliest evidence is Dutch artists' drawings from around 1700[7] and the Royal Navy's 1695 HMS.[8]

Around 1700 rigging and sail material technologies had advanced to where they were strong enough for faster sailing, and hull shapes were adapted accordingly to be less barrel-shaped, and the traditional raised poop deck and a rounded and raised bows were lowered.[7]

The type was further developed in British North America starting around 1713.[4] In the 1700s and 1800s in what is now New England and Atlantic Canada schooners became popular for coastal trade, requiring a smaller crew for their size compared to then traditional ocean crossing square rig ships,[9] and being fast and versatile.[1] Three-masted schooners were introduced around 1800.[8]

Schooners were popular on both sides of the Atlantic in the late 1800s and early 1900s, but gradually giving way in Europe to the cutter.[10] By 1910, 45 five-masted and 10 six-masted schooners had been built in Bath, Maine and other Penobscot Bay towns. The Thomas W. Lawson was the only seven-masted schooner built.

Although highly popular in their time, schooners were replaced by more efficient sloops, yawls and ketches[1] as sailboats, and in the freight business they were replaced by steamships, barges, and railroads.[11]

Other Languages
Afrikaans: Skoener
Alemannisch: Schoner
العربية: سكونة
asturianu: Goleta
azərbaycanca: Yelkən idmanı
беларуская: Шхуна
български: Шхуна
bosanski: Škuna
català: Goleta
čeština: Škuner
Cymraeg: Sgwner
dansk: Skonnert
Deutsch: Schoner
eesti: Kuunar
Ελληνικά: Ημιολία
español: Goleta
Esperanto: Skuno
euskara: Goleta
français: Goélette
Gaeilge: Scúnar
한국어: 스쿠너
hrvatski: Škuna
Ido: Skunero
Bahasa Indonesia: Sekunar
íslenska: Skonnorta
italiano: Scuna
עברית: סקונר
lietuvių: Škuna
magyar: Szkúner
Bahasa Melayu: Skuner
Nederlands: Schoener
日本語: スクーナー
Nordfriisk: Skuuner
norsk: Skonnert
norsk nynorsk: Skonnert
occitan: Goleta
polski: Szkuner
português: Escuna
română: Goeletă
русский: Шхуна
slovenčina: Škuner
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Škuna
suomi: Kuunari
svenska: Skonert
Türkçe: Uskuna
українська: Шхуна