In the British Royal Navy, a second rate was a ship of the line which by the start of the 18th century mounted 90 to 98 guns on three gun decks; earlier 17th century second rates had fewer guns and were originally two-deckers or had only partially armed third gun decks. The term in no way implied that they were of inferior quality. They were essentially smaller and hence cheaper versions of the three-decker first rates. Like the first rates, they fought in the line of battle, but unlike the first rates, which were considered too valuable to risk in distant stations, the second rates often served also in major overseas stations as flagships. They had a reputation for poor handling and slow sailing.
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... of the Royal Navy Ships of the line First-rate Second-rate Third-rate Fourth-rate Frigates Fifth-rate Sixth-rate Unrated Sloop-of-war Gun-brig Cutter ...
Famous quotes containing the word second-rate:
“If we should swap a good library for a second-rate stump speech and not ask for boot, it would be thoroughly in tune with our hearts. For deep within each of us lies politics. It is our football, baseball, and tennis rolled into one. We enjoy it; we will hitch up and drive for miles in order to hear and applaud the vitriolic phrases of a candidate we have already reckoned well vote against.”
—Federal Writers Project Of The Wor, U.S. public relief program (1935-1943)