For the mariner, one of the most interesting of studies is that of types of ships. From the earliest specimen of which we possess drawings or descriptions down to this day they are, after all, but means to an end. The peculiar design of Noah's ark had in view the purpose for which the vessel was constructed, as the biblical narrative plainly indicates, and the same principle underlies the construction and rig of its successors, whether simple in plan, as the catamaran, the lugger, the schooner, the four-master, or complex as the swift ocean greyhounds which, besides carrying freight and passengers are virtually travelling hotels, and the modern battleship which is both a movable fortress and a floating camp containing a regiment of fighting men. However strange and uncouth many of these craft, ancient and modern, may appear, all are successful or attempted solutions of the universal problem how to devise that which will best yield the result in mind and as such they are worthy of the sailors' consideration. That invariably they offer features which might well be imitated is neither asserted nor believed, for, often, they can better serve as warnings.
Random Notes on a Lake Freighter
By Rear-Admiral Caspar F. Goodrich, U. S. Navy