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Ship of the line

A ship of the line was one powerful enough to take a place in the line of battle. (The term "battleship" has a similar etymology.) Generally, this meant a 3rd Rate or larger ship, with guns on two or more decks. Rated ships smaller than this were frigates, and carried all their guns on a single upper deck.




1st Rate

100 or more

875 to 850

2nd Rate[?]

90 to 98

700 to 750

3rd Rate

64 to 80

500 to 650

4th Rate[?]

50 to 60

320 to 420

5th Rate[?]

32 to 40

200 to 300

6th Rate[?]

20 to 28

140 to 200


16 to 18

90 to 125

& Cutters

6 to 14

5 to 25

The number of crew on a 1st Rate was increased by 25 when used as an Admiral's flagship, by 20 with a Vice Admiral and 15 with a Rear Admiral.

Originally from http://www.cronab.demon.co.uk/gen1.htm, with the author's permission.

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