The most common type of model to be found in a ship in a bottle is the Merchant sailing ship. These vessels were also referred to as Square riggers, Windjammers or Tall ships because of their square shaped sails, vast amounts of sail area and the extreme height of their masts. The windjammers sailed the worlds oceans and carried vast amounts of cargo and the men who sailed aboard these ships became expert seamen.


The large ocean going Merchant sailing vessel usually had four or more masts. The mast ( highighted in blue ) were given names so they could be individually identified, the mast nearest the bow was called the FOREMAST followed by MAINMAST, MIZZENMAST, JIGGERMAST and SPANKERMAST. These masts were sometimes 200 feet tall.


The yards ( highlighted in green ) are the horizontal spars that are connected to the masts. These too have individual names with the lowest being called the LOWER YARD and working upwards LOWER TOPSAIL YARD, UPPER TOPSAIL YARD, LOWER TOPGALLANT YARD, UPPER TOPGALLANT YARD, ROYAL YARD and SKYSAIL YARD


The standing rigging ( highlighted in red ) is what held the masts in the vertical position, steel wire rope was used to support the masts from all directions. The FORESTAYS prevented the mast from moving backwards, BACKSTAYS stopped the mast moving forwards and the SHROUDS supported the mast from the sides.


Running rigging is a general term that is given to all the moving lines or ropes that operate the sails and there is nearly 200 of them. The BRACES ( highlighted in magenta ) pivot the YARDS from one side to another so the ship can manoeuvre. CLEWLINES, BUNTLINES, LEECHLINES and SHEETS are used to operate the SQUARE SAILS.


The square sails ( highlighted in blue ) were attached to the yards and were operated from the deck by using the CLEWLINES, BUNTLINES, LEECHLINES and SHEETS. The square sails were named in the same way as the YARDS, the lowest being called the COURSE SAIL and working upwards LOWER TOPSAIL, UPPER TOPSAIL, LOWER TOPGALLANT, UPPER TOPGALLANT, ROYALSAIL and SKYSAIL. They were also prefixed with which mast they were fitted onto, eg MIZZEN LOWER TOPSAIL.


The fore and aft sails are the triangular shaped sails, the HEADSAILS are situated on the bow and the STAYSAILS are located between the masts. These sails are operated using HALLIARDS, DOWNHAULS and SHEETS. there is also a fore and aft sails at the stern called SPANKER and GAFF TOPSAIL.

The antique sailor made ship in a bottle usually shows the sailing ship with no sails set, this is probably due to the ship being depicted either leaving or entering port when the sails would be stowed. These events were the two most important parts of the journey for the sailors, leaving loved ones or returning to them. Some sailing ship models are also shown being towed into or out of port by a steam tug and this would have actually taken place.