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The Sails of a Ship
Square-Rigged Sailing Ship

This is a square-rigged American merchant vessel, with all sails spread. Thirty-seven of them! How many do you know? Here are the salty-sounding names of all of them:
(1) flying jib; (2) jib; (3) fore-topmast staysail; (4) foresail; (5) lower fore-topsail; (6) upper fore-topsail; (7) fore-topgallant sail; (8) fore royal; (9) fore skysail; (10) lower studding sail; (11) fore-topmast studding sail; (12) fore-topgallant studding sail; (13) fore-royal studding sail; (14) main staysail; (15) main-topmast staysail; (16) main-top-gallant staysail; (17) main-royal staysail; (18) main-sail; (19) lower main topsail; (20) upper main topsail; (21) main-topgallant sail; (22) main royal; (23) main skysail; (24) main-topmast studding sail; (25) Main-topgallant studding sail; (26) main-royal studding sail; (27) mizzen staysail; (28) mizzen-topmast staysail; (29) mizzen-topgallant staysail; (30) mizzen-royal staysail; (31) mizzen sail; (32) lower mizzen topsail; (33) upper mizzen topsail; (34) mizzen-topgallant sail; (35) mizzen royal; (36) mizzen skysail; (37) spanker.
Now if you have read these names you have doubtless noticed that most of the sails are named for the mast on which they are hung-the foremast, which is in the how; the mizzenmast, in the stern; and the mainmast, between them. The sails take their names from their position in the mast. On any square-rigged vessel the sails are hung from strong horizontal supports called "yards," and each yard is suspended-or "slung"-at its middle point from the mast. When the ship is sailing with the wind squarely behind her--"before the windl@-the sags are spread at right angles to the keel of the boat. When a square-rigged vessel carries a triangular sails, they are hung on heavy ropes cauce, "stays." A fore-and-aft rigged vessel carries one large sail to a mast; and this is attached-or "bent"-to large spars or stays in the midship line of the boat. For the term "fore-and-aft" means "lengthwise of the vessel." A sad spread in this way can swing to either side of the mast or be set behind the mast on a line with the axis of the boat. A two-masted boat that is square-rigged is a brig. A schooner is a fore-and-aft ' d bo t with two or more masts and a jib. Such a ngge a boat with only one mast is a sloop-unless it has a second smaller mast, in which case it is a yawl. Some- times vessels carry both square and fore-and-aft rigging. A brigantine is square-rigged on the fore and the main, except that the mainsail is fore-and-aft rigged. A three-masted vessel with square rigging on the foremast only is a barkentine; if it has square rigging on all but the mizzenmast, it is a bark.

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2005 December 28