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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 Navy 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.

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.

A painting of HMS Melville (1817) a British third-rate

By the end of the 18th century, ships of the line were usually categorized directly by their number of guns, the numbers even being used as the name of the class, as in "a squadron of three 74s", but officially the rating system continued until the end of the Age of Sail, only undergoing a modification in 1817.

Note that the use of terms like "third-rate" in literature can lead to confusion: The French Navy had a different system of five rates or rangs, but some British authors use the Royal Navy's rating of "third rate" when speaking of a French 74.

Bibliography[edit]


Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Third-rate — Please support Wikipedia.
This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia. A portion of the proceeds from advertising on Digplanet goes to supporting Wikipedia.

23236 news items

Yahoo Sports (blog)

Yahoo Sports (blog)
Wed, 27 Apr 2016 20:00:00 -0700

Hopefully with a few days before Game 2, they can find a way to appease WFAN's Mike Francesa, who thinks their whole public relations operation is third-rate. The Sports Pope told a caller who asked about the Islanders that he feels the team does a ...

BBC News

BBC News
Wed, 13 Apr 2016 02:59:54 -0700

Christine Hamilton has accused UKIP Wales' leader of acting like a "third-rate general" after he said he would "probably not" have chosen her husband as an election candidate. There have been accusations the selection of Neil Hamilton and fellow ex ...
 
DailyO
Tue, 12 Apr 2016 03:53:32 -0700

... residence on Monday evening brought back memories of Queen Elizabeth's visit to India in 1997, when IK Gujral was prime minister – and he had been infamously quoted as saying on the eve of that visit that "Britain was a third-rate power." A refugee ...

Hollywood Reporter

Hollywood Reporter
Sun, 01 May 2016 15:18:45 -0700

1bestdog. Please don't compare our classy brilliant President to this third rate hack. plukasiak. I thought Obama was funny, but WIlmore came off like he was a last-minute replacement for Norm MacDonald, and was forced to use the same material. wfs0868.

The Tennessean

The Tennessean
Sat, 30 Apr 2016 22:03:45 -0700

In October, the company will present Michael Frayn's hilarious farce “Noises Off,” which follows the on-stage antics (and backstage bedlam) of a third-rate acting troupe — complete with slamming doors, missed lines and disappearing props. “'Noises Off ...

The Rebel

The Rebel
Sat, 30 Apr 2016 13:20:26 -0700

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DailyO
Sat, 30 Apr 2016 22:26:15 -0700

Even the same lines make little difference. Jaya fights Karuna and one can summon little enthusiasm for it. Karunanidhi plays the electoral lion and creates a third rate script. He offers his son Stalin as the possibility of the new and the electorate ...

Bloomberg

Bloomberg
Thu, 28 Apr 2016 02:06:33 -0700

“The main question is whether there will be a third rate cut” in May “or even a fourth one” in June, Nagy said. “We don't want to follow the market, we want to lead it and that's why we wanted to rein in” speculation over the extent of monetary easing ...
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