The Ship

Brigs operates the sail-training vessel, the TS Playfair. Playfair was purpose designed and built as a sail training vessel by Francis A. McLachlan in Kingston, Ontario, Canada. Playfair was launched in 1974, in the presence of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

The vessel carries a complement of 28 people, 18 new sailors, called trainees, 4 petty officers, 6 Wardroom officers and the Captain. The Trainees are divided into 3 watches and a Petty Officer assigned to each watch. The Wardroom consists of 3 officers commanding each watch, the Cook, and the Bosun who conducts maintenance and repairs while at sea. The Executive Officer co-ordinates the daily operation of the vessel and is the main liaison between the Wardroom officers and the Captain. Aside from Captain, the entire ship’s complement is between 13 and 18 years of age.

A brigantine is a two-masted square-rigged sailing vessel with fore-and-aft rigged sails on the mainmast and square sails on the foremast. This is distinct from a brig that has square sails on both masts. The name comes from the Italian word brigantino, related to the word "brigand", which became associated with the vessels favoured by Mediterranean pirates for their speed and agility.

TS Playfair

The following specifications are for the Training Ship Playfair built for Toronto Brigantine Inc. (the original name of the Brigs organization) as a sail training vessel. She was commissioned by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in 1973, and remains the only Canadian ship to be commissioned by a reigning monarch.


Specification Value

  Year Built



  Francis A. MacLachlan

  Location Built

  Kingston, Ontario, Canada


  Canada Dredge and Dock Co.


  Welded steel, 1/4″ hull plating, 1/2″ keel plating,  frames every 2′

  Length Sparred

  22m (72′)

  Length Overall

  18.23m (59.8′)

  Length Waterline

  14m (45′)


  4.5m (15′)


  0.8m (2.6′)


  2.5m (8′)

  Registered Tonnage

  32.98 tons


  47 tons


  10 tons

  Foremast Height

  16m (52′)

  Mainmast Height

  17.37m (57′)

  Sail Area

  Over 250m2 (2,600 sq. ft.)


  (Sails in bold are standard press)

  JiptopJib, Foresail, ForecourseForetopsail,     Lower Studding Sails, Upper Studding Sails,         Fisherman Staysail, Main StaysailMainsail,       Main Gaff Topsail

  Hull Speed

  8.2 knots (15.3 km/hr or 9.4 mi/hr)

  Cruising Speed

  (under sail)

  4-8 knots (7.5-14.9 km/hr or 4.6-9.2 mi/hr)

  Cruising Speed

  (under power)

  7 knots (13.1 km/hr or 8.1 mi/hr)

  Water Tank

  862 litre (228 US Gallons)

  Waste Tank

  1090 litre (288US Gallons)

  Fuel Tank

  2380 Litres (629 US Gallons)


  Volvo D5A-B TA

  Engine Power

  89 kW (119 hp) at 1,900 rpm


  Total 28:

  1 Captain

  1 First Mate

  3 Watch Officers

  1 Bosun

  1 Cook

  3 Petty Officers

  18 Trainees