A type of broad, shallow, open or partly decked sailing boat which originated in America about 1850, in which movable ballast in the form of sandbags was used while racing, and wagers were often made on the results. The boats, generally of the catboat type, were divided into four classes: 8–9 metres (26–30 ft), 7–8 metres (23–26 ft), and under 6 metres (20 ft). They carried an immense area of sail, with a mainsail and jib, and had agile crews of eight or more who shifted the sandbags onto the weather deck every time the boat tacked. The vogue lasted, mainly in New York harbour and at New Orleans, until the 1880s with the advent of finer designs of yachts for racing, but it also became a popular sport in Australia's Sydney harbour.
Subjects: Maritime History.