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In the British Royal Navy, a third rate was a ship of the line which from the 1720s mounted between 64 and 80 guns, typically built with two gun decks (thus the related term two-decker). Years of experience proved that the third rate ships embodied the best compromise between sailing ability (speed, handling), firepower, and cost. So, while first rates and second rates were both larger and more powerful, the third-rate ships were in a real sense the optimal configuration.

Rating[edit]

When the rating system was first established in the 1620s, the third rate was defined as those ships having at least 200 but not more than 300 men; previous to this, the type had been classified as "middling ships". By the 1660s, the means of classification had shifted from the number of men to the number of carriage-mounted guns, and third rates at that time mounted between 48 and 60 guns. By the turn of the century, the criteria had grown and third rate carried more than 60 guns, with second rates having between 90 and 98 guns, while first rates had 100 guns or more, and fourth rates between 48 and 60 guns. By the latter half of the 18th century, they carried between 500 and 720 men.

This designation became especially common because it included the seventy-four gun ship, which eventually came to be the most popular size of large ship for navies of several different nations. It was an easier ship to handle than a first- or second-rate ship, but still possessed enough firepower to potentially destroy any single opponent other than a three-decker. It was also cheaper to operate.

Although this rating system was only used by the Royal Navy, British authors might still use "third rate" to speak of a French 74 (although the French Navy had its own system of five rates or rangs). By the end of the 18th century, ships of the line were usually characterized directly by their number of guns, the numbers even being used as the name of the type, as in "a squadron of three 74s". However, the rating system, although modified in 1817, continued until the end of the Age of Sail.

Bibliography[edit]


Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Third-rate — Please support Wikipedia.
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Daily News & Analysis

Daily News & Analysis
Wed, 23 Apr 2014 04:14:06 -0700

Former Punjab chief minister and Congress candidate from Amritsar Captain Amarinder Singh has said the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Arun Jaitley is repeatedly resorting to half truths like a 'third rate liar' in the hope that it might be taken ...
 
Columbia Journalism Review
Tue, 15 Apr 2014 07:48:45 -0700

That's the America's Markets section of USA Today's website, which puts business journalism on the Hamster Wheel—I counted 12 bylines in one day from one reporter—with predictably poor results. Like this headline: Is a 1987-type market crash 37 days ...
 
Latest News From Punjab
Tue, 22 Apr 2014 05:24:52 -0700

AMRITSAR: Former Chief Minister and Congress candidate Capt Amarinder Singh today said that the BJP candidate Arun Jaitley was repeatedly resorting to half truths like a “third rate liar” in the hope that it might be taken as truth. He said, whether it ...
 
Montgomery County Sentinel
Thu, 24 Apr 2014 11:11:15 -0700

BALTIMORE - Pepco is asking the Maryland Public Service Commission (MPSC) for its third rate increase in three years. The company is asking for more than $43 million in rate increase which, if approved, will become effective on July 4, 2014. The ...
 
The Goat Parade
Thu, 24 Apr 2014 05:56:15 -0700

Is it better to be in a third-rate European league or a second-rate South American one? What about a first-rate Central American league? And what's the gulf in quality between the three pro American leagues? Sorry, I'm not going to make those judgment ...

Firstpost

The Economist
Thu, 24 Apr 2014 08:11:15 -0700

Newspaper editorials have bemoaned a perceived gap between South Korea's first-rate economy and third-rate safety measures. In fact, South Korea has a fairly good record for maritime safety. President Park Geun-hye denounced the captain's abandoning ...

The Guardian

The Guardian
Thu, 24 Apr 2014 11:00:00 -0700

... snapped up more and more quickly as the music industry – awash with cash at this point – threw contracts at bands who were patently not prepared for anything resembling a career, the likes of Menswe@r, leading yet more second- and third-rate bands ...

PopMatters

PopMatters
Thu, 24 Apr 2014 09:30:00 -0700

Sadly, this is the sort of stuff that would merit third-rate shoegaze or post-rock. There's hardly a standout track to be found on the record, and the most interesting thing that can be said about it is that the fourth song, “No Way”, sounds remotely ...
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