The Frigate is a fast, three-masted military ship with a medium sized cargo hold. It is armed with 2 sides of cannons.
Its only variant is the Pirate Frigate.
The Frigate is the fastest armed sailing vessel. It is only slightly faster than Gunboats and lacks any forward-facing guns, but makes up for it with durability and slightly increased range, as well as the ability to fire 2 individual broadsides. Despite the higher maneuverability compared to the Ship of the Line, the lower reloading times of the broadsides doesn't allow firing both broadsides at a single target at maximum theoretical rate.
The only sailing vessel slightly faster than the Frigate is the Clipper, which is unarmed and slowed down by any cargo it is holding. This makes Frigates an excellent choice for escorting them, as they can match their speed and have enough durability to fend off or slow down pirate ships enough to escape.
Frigates were common armed vessels well throughout the 18th and 19th centuries. With their 3 mast rigging and sleek hulls, they were primarily built for speed.
Game Update 5 (September 10, 2019):