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Schooner Tips

What Makes a Boat a Schooner?

Are you looking to purchase a schooner boat for sale? A schooner is a magnificent sailing ship that boasts two or more masts, with the foremast typically smaller than the mainmast. These masts are equipped with gaff-rigged lower masts, giving the schooner its distinctive appearance. If you’re interested in a particular size, the most common configuration is a two-masted schooner. However, as the number of masts increases, these majestic vessels adopt names that reflect their mast count, such as a three-masted schooner. It’s worth noting that the largest schooner ever constructed was the awe-inspiring THOMAS LAWSON, which proudly showcased an astonishing seven masts! Schooners have come a long way from the Grand Banks fishing schooners of the past, or the merchant ships with square rigs and square topsails, so, if you’re searching for schooners built in recent history, these timeless and remarkable vessels await your exploration.

How Much Would a Schooner Cost?

The price of a schooner will depend on a few factors, so it can be hard to give a ballpark figure. YATCO currently has a number of schooners for sale from as little as $400,000, to upwards of $25 million. Here are a few things that can impact the bottom line when shopping for schooner yachts:

As you upgrade in size and capabilities, the number of masts and even type of rigging can impact the price (is it a fore and aft rig? Square rig? More modern technology and additions? Or vintage square topsails?).

Can You Sail a Schooner Alone?

Depending on the size of the schooner, many will happily sail a schooner solo. Of course, you’ll need a certain level of capabilities, knowledge, and confidence in order to easily sail and handle multiple sails or run from the fore and aft decks if need be. Most experts would say once you start sailing yachts over 45ft, you’re strongly encouraged to have someone help the yacht; and certainly, as you approach superyachts over 79ft, you’ll be looking at hiring a captain and even a smaller crew to help navigate the sailing ship.

What is the Top Speed of a Schooner?

Depending on a few factors, most schooners built will reach a cruising speed of around 8 – 10 knots. The length of the schooner and distance between the fore and aft, sail area, weather conditions on the day and wind speed can all affect the cruising and top speeds they’ll be capable of achieving.

How Big is the Crew on a Schooner?

The amount of crew you’ll need for your schooner will depend on the size of the yacht you need crewed. General guidance is that for smaller schooners from 80-100ft, you’ll need a smaller crew of roughly two to eight members; whereas sailing ships in the 100 – 200ft range will need a much larger crew of eight all the way up to 20. The larger the schooner, the greater the sail area so you’ll have plenty of space to upgrade from a smaller crew.

When looking for a yacht crew for your schooner, you’ll want to look for crew that are comfortable on schooners built for navigating long distances, can comfortably walk from the fore and aft decks, can move easily amongst the sail area and depending on the rigging, they may need to know how to sail using a square rig or square topsail, or even handle multiple sails at a time (especially as you get into multiple masted schooners, like three-mast schooners or a classic Grand Banks fishing schooner).