What Ship Is That? Part Two

What ship is this - Ballinger, Barge or Barque?

Ballinger, Barge or Barque?

We’re back with yet another illuminating look at historical ship variations and fun facts to go along with it. In the previous installment of ‘What Ship is That’ we took a look at the Argosy and Balener. Today we continue our exploration of the wonderful world of ancient shipping by taking a look at the brawny Ballinger, hard-working Barge and much-loved Barque.

The Ballinger – Raiders & Scouts

The Ballinger came onto the scene in the late 15th century, along with the likes of the Cog. These two-masted ships were clinker built and clocked in at around 120 tonnes. These vessels were primarily used for raiding and scouting purposes.

The Barge – Flat-bottomed & Hard-working

The Barge is perhaps one of the most recognisable ship formats. Tailored for use along shallow inland canals and rivers, these vessels are mainly used for moving large amounts of cargo. Certain variations have its own mode of propulsion, while others do not. The cargo is commonly stacked on the main deck. There are many variations of this design that developed over the centuries according to the needs and environments of shipping communities around the globe.

DID YOU KNOW? There are approximately 26 000+ dry cargo barges, 3000+ tanker barges, and 1200+ towboats operating today. Over 620 million tonnes of cargo is moved on the inland waterways of the USA alone each year. Of this, approximately 320 tonnes makes its way down the Mississippi River. Since the 2nd World War, the US Federal government has spent more than $11 billion to develop and maintain its domestic waterways to spur on commerce.

The Barque – Ship Shape Stalwart

A Barque is defined as a vessel with 3+ masts with square sails on the fore mast, and fore and aft sails on the after mast. These ships can generally handle between 250 and 700 tonnes. There is a beautiful example preserved in Honolulu, Hawaii – the Falls of Clyde, that was built in the latter half of the 19th century.

FUN FACT: The oldest active sailing vessel in the world is a classic example of a Barque. The Star of India may have originally been built as a square-rigged ship when it was first constructed in the late-1800s, but when it was converted in 1901, it officially carried the hallmarks of a Barque.

Check back soon for Part Three that will delve into the intricacies of the Barquentine, Battleship and Bergantina respectively.

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