On the Water

Ship Model, Ketch

In 17th-century New England, the ketch (or “catch”) was a small, two-masted craft with a square stern. Ketches had small crews of around four men, and they are believed to have had fore-and-aft rigs, rather than square sails, for ease and simplicity of handling. They were used mainly for local coastal trade and for fishing on the shallow sand banks off the New England coast.

In the early 18th century, this boat type disappeared from contemporary records and descriptions. It was replaced by the “scooner” or schooner, a similar boat type with a fore-and-aft rig that was easy and economical to sail. In fact, some scholars think that only the name changed, and that the two boat types were almost identical in rig and construction.

ID Number:
Hoff, Jr., William Bruce
21 1/2 x 19 x 8 1/2 in.; 54.61 x 48.26 x 21.59 cm

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