This article is about Royal Navy ships of the line. For the adjective meaning that something is of inferior quality, see wikt:third-rate
A model of a third-rate ship of the line of the Order of Saint John
from the late 18th century.
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.
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.
- Rodger, N.A.M. The Command of the Ocean, a Naval History of Britain 1649-1815, London (2004). ISBN 0-7139-9411-8.
- Bennett, G. The Battle of Trafalgar, Barnsley (2004). ISBN 1-84415-107-7.
- Winfield, Rif, British Warships in the Age of Sail: 1603-1714, Barnsley (2009) ISBN 978-1-84832-040-6; British Warships in the Age of Sail: 1714-1792, Barnsley (2007) ISBN 978-1-84415-700-6; British Warships in the Age of Sail: 1793-1817, (2nd edition) Barnsley (2008). ISBN 978-1-84415-717-4.
Sydney Morning Herald
Mon, 08 Dec 2014 16:47:17 -0800
National Australia Bank says there is a 30 per cent chance the Reserve Bank will have to cut rates a third time, after revising their expectations to two rate cuts in the coming year,. NAB said it changed its rate call to two cuts of 25 basis points in ...
Sun, 30 Nov 2014 10:00:00 -0800
20141129_Zephen_NP.jpg. From third-rate to first choice. The New Paper Dollah Kassim award nominees (left to right) Muhelmy Suhaimi, Nasrul Taib, Lionel Tan, Nonis Zephen Sean Anthony, Danish Irfan Azman and Rusyaidi Salime.
Fri, 19 Dec 2014 18:02:44 -0800
A child proclaimed by angels, visited by shepherds, born in a second-rate town in a third-rate province of the empire du jour. A child whose triumph came on a cross he himself carried, gladly, for all of us. That is why Christmas, of all days, is a day ...
Mon, 01 Dec 2014 04:48:19 -0800
LaBeouf's show, in collaboration with artists Luke Turner and Nastja Säde Rönkkö sounds, to be honest, like a third-rate imitation of the works of Abramović or Yoko Ono, whose Cut Piece dramatises vulnerability perhaps more powerfully than any other.
World Socialist Web Site
Wed, 17 Dec 2014 20:06:10 -0800
A capitalist Russia could not now occupy even the third-rate position to which czarist Russia was predestined by the course of the world war. Russian capitalism today would be a dependent, semi-colonial capitalism without any prospects. Russia Number 2 ...
Slate Magazine (blog)
Thu, 18 Dec 2014 09:11:55 -0800
This illustration, used to demonstrate the rigging and interior setup of first- and third-rate British ships of war, appeared in Ephraim Chambers' Cyclopedia, published in 1728. The book was one of the first English-language encyclopedias, and inspired ...
Wall Street Journal
Wall Street Journal
Fri, 19 Dec 2014 15:52:33 -0800
How Sony's data security, given this history, could have been so third-rate is a mystery for a future business-school case study. Now the world has to deal with the U.S. cultural superpower having been victimized in history's first successful example ...
Fri, 19 Dec 2014 10:58:49 -0800
... the hysterical (in every sense of the word) guidebook, Light and Shadows of New York Life, compared Bleecker Street and its vile "third-rate boarding houses and restaurants" to Paris's Latin Quarter, calling it New York's "headquarters of ...
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