A windjammer was a type of sailing ship with a large iron or steel hull, built to carry cargo in the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century. They were the grandest of cargo sailing ships, with between three and five large masts and square sails, giving them a characteristic profile. They frequently displaced several thousand tonnes, and were cheaper than their wooden hulled counterparts for three main reasons: iron was stronger, and thus could enable larger ship sizes and considerable economies of scale, iron hulls took up less space and allowed for more cargo to be carried, and iron hulls were cheaper to maintain than an equivalent wooden hull. The most common windjammer rig was the four-masted barque, which was the ultimate result of science of aerodynamics and thousands of years of seamanship. The barque rig can outperform the schooner rig, can sail upwind better than full-riggers, and is easier to handle than full square rig. The usual cargo capacity was 2,000 to 5,000 tonnes. Windjammer cargo in general was bulk, such as lumber, coal, guano or grain. The largest windjammer ever built was the five-masted full-rigged ship "Preussen", which had a displacement of 11,600 tonnes. She was also one of the fastest, regularly logging 16 knots (kn) average speed on transatlantic voyages.

Windjammers are often confused with clippers, but they are two different breeds. A clipper is a sailing vessel optimized for "speed"; windjammers are optimized for "cargo" and "handling". Most clippers were of composite construction, full rigged and had a cargo capacity of less than 1,000 tonnes; windjammers are of steel construction, usually barques and have far greater cargo capacities. The clippers had already begun to disappear when windjammers emerged.

Windjammers were mainly produced from the 1870s to the 1890s, when the steamships began to outpace them economically, due to their ability to keep a schedule regardless of the wind. Steel hulls also replaced iron hulls at around the same time. The windjammers usually had semi-mechanized rigging, steel profile masts and yards and steel cables as running rigging where plausible. Since the windjammer hull is hydrodynamically optimized for good hydrodynamics because of sail handling, they were (and are still) capable of attaining great speeds; most four-masted barques were able to cruise at 15 kn on plausible winds, some logged 18 kn regularly and "Herzogin Cecilie" is known to have logged 21 kn. Their speed made them able to compete with steamers, which usually could barely do 8 kn, on ultra-long voyages. The crew of a windjammer was surprisingly small; they could be operated with as small a crew as 14, and a typical crew could be master, mate, boatswain (bosun), 15 seamen and 5 apprentices. The crew roster of "Pamir" on her last commercial voyage around Cape Horn in 1949 under the Finnish flag listed a total crew of 34:
:Master:4 Officers (1st, 2nd, 3rd Mate and Bosun):14 Able-Bodied Seamen:5 Ordinary Seamen:5 Deckboys:4 Cook/Assistant Cook/Steward/Assistant Steward:1 Donkeyman (Mechanic)
.From 1916 to 1917, Imperial Germany operated the SMS "Seeadler" windjammer as one of the last sailing ships used in war.

Windjammers were used commercially (though recognised as a dying breed) until the 1950s. They occupied something of a niche in the transport of goods from remote ports where coal and water were not available, such as parts of Australia (carrying wool or grain) and remote islands (harvesting guano). Windjammers were also used particularly for the transport of South American nitrates.

The largest windjammer in existence is the four-masted barque Moshulu, which is today a luxury restaurant ship in Philadelphia, PA, USA. The largest windjammer in "sailing" service is a Russian school ship, the four-masted barque Sedov.

A few windjammers among other Tall Ships can still be seen at international maritime events: SAIL Amsterdam, the Kiel Week and Hanse Sail.

See also

* Columbia
* Gorch Fock (1933)
* Gorch Fock (1958)
* Herzogin Cecilie
* Kruzenshtern
* Moshulu
* Pamir
* Passat
* Peking
* Pommern
* Preussen
* Sedov
* SMS Seeadler
* Star of India


*Stark, William F. "The Last Time Around Cape Horn. The Historic 1949 Voyage of the Windjammer PAMIR". New York: Carroll & Graf Publishers, 2003. ISBN 0786712333
*Villiers, Alan. "Voyaging With The Wind: An Introduction to Sailing Large Square Rigged Ships". London: National Maritime Museum, 1975.

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  • Windjammer — S.T.S. Chersones (Kieler Woche 05) Der Windjammer ist ein Großseglertyp, der nach der Klipperära in der zweiten Hälfte des 19. Jahrhunderts aufkam und die Nachfolge der schnellen Segler antrat. Es waren aus Holz (vorwiegend USA bis 1892), Eisen… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Windjammer — Wind jam mer, n. 1. (Naut.) A sailing vessel or one of its crew; orig. so called contemptuously by sailors on steam vessels. [Colloq.] [Webster 1913 Suppl.] 2. An army bugler or trumpeter; any performer on a wind instrument. [Slang] [Webster 1913 …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Windjammer — Windjammer,der:⇨Segelschiff …   Das Wörterbuch der Synonyme

  • windjammer — ☆ windjammer [wind′jam΄ər ] n. Naut. 1. a sailing ship, esp. a large one: so called originally in contempt by seamen on early steamships 2. a crew member of such a ship …   English World dictionary

  • Windjammer — SS (abgekürzt) (fachsprachlich); Segelschiff * * * Wịnd|jam|mer 〈m. 3〉 großes Segelschiff [<Wind + engl. jam „pressen“] * * * Wịnd|jam|mer, der; s, [engl. windjammer, eigtl. etwa = Windpresser, zu: wind = Wind u. to jam = kräftig pressen]… …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Windjammer — Wind: Das gemeingerm. Substantiv mhd. wint, ahd. wind, got. winds, engl. wind, schwed. vind gehört mit Entsprechungen in anderen idg. Sprachen zu der unter ↑ wehen dargestellten idg. Wurzel, vgl. z. B. tochar. A wänt »Wind«, lat. ventus »Wind« (↑ …   Das Herkunftswörterbuch

  • windjammer — UK [ˈwɪndˌdʒæmə(r)] / US [ˈwɪndˌdʒæmər] noun [countable] Word forms windjammer : singular windjammer plural windjammers a large ship used for trade in the past …   English dictionary

  • Windjammer — Wind|jam|mer der; s, <aus gleichbed. engl. windjammer, zu to jam, vgl. ↑Jam> großes Segelschiff …   Das große Fremdwörterbuch

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  • windjammer — noun Date: 1880 a sailing ship; also one of its crew • windjamming noun …   New Collegiate Dictionary

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