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A schooner is a two masted vessel with fore and aft sails, i.e. in a line parallel to the keel. The term thus refers to the masts and rigging of a vessel rather than to its hull, an ambiguity often lost upon Steven Maturin.

There are also topsail schooners which carry one or more square rigged sails above the fore and aft sails, usually on the foremast.

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