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A full-rigged ship or fully rigged ship is term of art denoting a sailing vessel's sail plan with three or more masts, all of them square -rigged. A full-rigged ship is said to have a ship rig or be ship -rigged. Sometimes such a vessel will merely be called a ship in 18th- to early-19th-century and earlier usage, to distinguish it from other large three-masted blue - water working vessels such as barques, barquentines, fluyts etc. This full or ship -rig sail plan thus is a term of art that differentiates such vessels as well from other working or cargo vessels with widely diverse alternative sail -plans such as galleons, cogs, sloops, caravels, schooners, brigs and carracks; some of which also have three masted variants (brigs, schooners, sloops, and galleons). The ship -rig sail plan also differs drastically from the large panoply of one and two masted vessels found as working and recreational sailboats. Alternatively, a full-rigged ship may be referred to by its function instead, as in collier or frigate , rather than being called a ship . In many languages the word frigate or frigate rig refers to a full-rigged ship .