The bark, barque or barc, is a type of ship with three or more masts with the foremasts equipped with square sails and the sternmast with spanker and peak sail.
The word barque comes from the Latin barca which derives from Spanish or Italian. The Latin word barca may come from Greek "baris" or Celtic "barc", a term used for an Egyptian boat.
Rig of a three-masted barque: By the end of the 18th century, the term barque (sometimes spelled bark) began to refer to any sailing vessel with a particular type of sails, that consists of three (or more) masts, which at the foremast have square sails and at the stern mast have the spanker and the peak sail.
Barques were the cargo ship of the mid-19th century with a smaller crews. The advantage of these rigs was that they took less crews than a comparable full-rigged ship or brig-rigged vessel as they had smaller square sails, which made it cheaper. On the other hand, the ship rigged like this was used for sailors' training, with a small crew and a large number of passengers, therefore, a larger number of trained sailors.
Another advantage was that the barque can be faster than a schooner or barkentine, it is both easier to handle and better to upwind than a full-rigged ship.
While a full-rigged ship is the best runner available, and a four or five-masted schooner is the best at going upwind, the barque is often the best choice, because it was the best combination of the two.
Most of the ocean-going windjammers are four-masted barques, since their rig is considered the most efficient, thanks to the easiness to handle, the small crew, the speed and the good capabilities toward wind.
Usually the main mast is the tallest. The four-masted barque could be handled with a surprisingly small crew (at least ten sailors), while the usual crew is about thirty. Almost half of them could be apprentices.
The Stefano bark's history : The past of the barque Stefano from Rijeka is closely connected with the family Bacic from Dubrovnik. When the grain merchant and shipowner Nicholas Bacic from Dubrovnik came to Rijeka in 1865, began the history of the family's branch of Rijeka.
Nikola Bacic had several sailing ships for long trips among which the barques Caterina V, Giuseppina Francesca, Giovanna Maria, Due cognato, Nuova fama, Eugenio, Due cognate, Vincenza, risorto, Antal and Stefano dominated.
His son Stefano Bacic, a young captain of long trips, handled the sailingboats Vincenzo and Stefano. The Barque Stefano was named after him.
Unfortunately, Stefano Bacic died young at the age of only 24 years. He was buried in Rijeka.
Barque Stefano was built in 1873 in Rijeka, in the shipyard of Brazzoduro brothers.
During the 1875, the barque Stefano started to sail for Australia. It was her third journey, during which eperienced shipwreck near Cape Cloates on the coast of Australia October 27, 1875. The ship was traveling from Cardiff to Hong Kong.
Among more than 20 crew members survived only two, cadet Miho Bacic and sailor Ivan Juric. Miho Bacic was the nephew of the shipowner Nicholas Bacic.
After returning to his homeland during 1876, the surviving members of the crew told what happened on barque Stefano to Dubrovnik Dominican Stefan Skura. Moreover, Miho Bacic on May 16, 1876 sent a letter to his relatives in Dubrovnik where he described the unfortunate fate of his companions on barque Stefano and the life among Australian aboriginals lasted six months.