Spanker or Driver

Posted on Styczeń 27, 2008

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Sails are classified according to their shape and location. The name of a sail on a square-rigged vessel with multiple masts consists of the mast name and the sail’s vertical position. On a three-masted vessel the masts are, from bow to stern, Fore, Main and Mizzen; the „plain” square sails are, bottom to top, Course, Topsail, Topgallant, Royal and Sky. Thus the sail second up the mizzen-mast is the „mizzen topsail”, and the third sail up the fore-mast is the „fore topgallant sail”. Sails set in other positions, or only in special circumstances, have a variety of other names, for instance: a triangular sail set on a stay might be called a staysail, or jib if the stay in question runs to the prow or bowsprit; sails set either side of square sails to increase sail area in light winds are called studding-sails, qualified by the side and the plain sail name ; a gaff sail set aft of the mizzen mast may be called a Spanker or Driver.

On a modern fore-and-aft rigged boat the largest sail set on the main-mast is known as the mainsail, rather than main course. Sails set forward of the foremost mast are known generically as headsails, and might include jibs, genoas and spinnakers. Fore-and-aft rigged boats setting both a jib and staysail are known as Cutter rigged.

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