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The Frugal Mariner
Saltwater Suzi and Cap'n Larry's "Boating on a Budget" 
How to's, Information, Education & Fun Stuff about Boats, Sailboats, and Cruising
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Before you go sailing check your local National Weather Service forecast by "City, ST" or Zip Code

 

 

Boat and Ship Rigs

Modern Rigs

Masthead Sloop  - the most popular rig, having a single mast with two sails.  The forward sail is called a jib.  The aft sail is the Mainsail, or Main. Sometimes called the Marconi Rig or the Bermuda Rig.
Cutter Rig -  sometimes called a Cutter Rigged Sloop, is rigged for two sails forward of the single mast and one sail aft.  The forward sail is called the Yankee, the inner forward sail is called the Staysail.  The aft sail is the Mainsail, or Main. Usually the mast is located further aft than the sloop to leave more room in the foretriangle for the two sails.
Fractional Rig Sloop - Like the masthead sloop except the forestay is not attached at the top of the mast but generally 3/4 to 7/8 up.  This allows for bending the mast (by adjusting the backstay) to control the shape of the main.
There are some combinations of the above rigs - such as cutter-rigged yawl, or cutter-rigged schooner.

If the descriptions above are unfamiliar to you, here is a basic diagram of sailboat parts.  For a more complete description of the many sailboat parts see our page called,"How to Sound Salty"

How is knowing this stuff going to make you a more Frugal Mariner?

  It's probably not going to make you more Frugal, but it will help make you more of a Mariner.  If you don't already know this stuff, you should spend some time learning it.
Ketch - has two masts, the forward mast (main mast) is taller than the aft mast (mizzen). The mizzen mast is forward of the rudder post. Ketches can also be cutter rigged. The aft sail is generally just called the mizzen, not the mizzen sail.  Frequently on ketches, there is a stay connecting the tops or near the tops of the two masts.  This is called the triatic stay.
Yawl - like the ketch only the mizzen mast is located aft of the rudder post.  The standard joke is "a Yawl is just a southern ketch."  Remember you heard it here first.  Both the ketch and the yawl can fly a jiblike sail between the masts called a mizzen staysail.  The advantage of the ketch and yawl is they can carry the same square footage of sail as a sloop with sails which are more easily managed by a smaller crew.
Schooner - has two (or more) masts. The aft mast is the mainmast and is as tall or taller than the forward mast(s).   The varieties of schooner rigs are too numerous to mention.  The typical modern schooner is often rigged as above.  Currently, multi-masted boats, ketches, yawls or schooners are seldom manufactured.  They are included here under modern rigs because there are still many in use today which were built during the last several decades.
Gaff rigged sloop - you won't see many of these today, but occasionally, you'll see maybe a custom built designed or built by someone with a more traditional opinion of how boats should be built.  A gaff rigged boat will give the boat a consideralbly larger sail area for the mast size, though such a boat probably will not go to weather as well as a conventional sloop, it will easily make up for it on a broad reach or a run.
A sailor never shaves his beard.
He seldom bathes as well.
If he has a girl in every port,
They have no sense of smell.
Cap'n Larry sez:
Cat Boat - has a single sail on a mast which is set far forward.  These are usually very easily single-handed, though they may not go to weather as well as a sloop.  Some of the recent designs use unstayed masts.  Many smaller dinghy sized boats are cat boats. 

Traditional Rigs

Brigantine
Yawl
Gaff rigged Sloop Sailboat
Fractional rigged Sloop Sailboat
Cutter rigged Sloop Sailboat
Cat rigged Sailboat
Modern Schooner
Ketch
sloop masthead rigged sailboat
As we are sure you already know, there are many types of of traditional ship rigs.

The short list:
Barca-longa Barque Barquentine Bermuda rig Bermuda sloop Bilander Brig Brigantine Caravel Carrack Catamaran Catboat Clipper Dutch Clipper Cog Corvette Cutter Dhow Dinghy East Indiaman Felucca Fifie Fluyt Fore & Aft Rig Frigate Full Rigged Ship Fusta Gaf
f Rig Galeas Galiot Galleon Gunter Rig Hermaphrodite Brig Herring Buss Hoy Jackass-barque Junk Ketch Longship Lugger Man-of-war Mast Aft Rig Mersey Flat Multihull Nao Nordland Norfolk Punt Norfolk Wherry Pilot Cutter Pink Pinnace Pocket Cruiser Polacca Pram Proa Punt Razee Sailing barge Sailing hydrofoil Schooner Ship of the Line Sixareen Sgoth Sloop Sloop-of-war Smack Snow Square Rig Tall Ship Thames Sailing Barge Trailer sailer  Trimaran Vinta Wherry Windjammer Windsurfer Xebec Yacht Yawl Yoal

In one of our collections of clip-art,  I found a group of old traditional sailing vessels.  They were not identified except by such file names as 'sailboat44.jpg'  so I did some research and came up with these shown below.   If you are interested in the rest of them, there are many sites on the internet which go into much more detail than I ever intended for our site.
1 Flying Jib 17 Main Upper Topsail
2 Outer Jib 18 Main Lower Topsail
3 Inner Jib 19 Main Course
4 Fore Topmast Staysail 20 Mizzen Royal Staysail
5 Fore Royal 21 Mizzen Topgallant Staysail
6 Fore Upper Topgallant Sail 22 Mizzen Topmast Staysail
7 Fore Lower Topgallant Sail 23 Mizzen Royal
8 Fore Upper Topsail 24 Mizzen Upper Topgallant Sail
9 Fore Lower Topsail 25 Mizzen Lower Topgallant Sail
10 Fore Course 26 Mizzen Upper Topsail
11 Main Royal Staysail 27 Mizzen Lower Topsail
12 Main Topgallant Staysail 28 Crossjack
13 Main Topmast Staysail 29 Spanker
14 Main Royal 30 Foremast
15 Main Upper Topgallant Sail 31 Mainmast
16 Main Lower Topgallant Sail 32 Mizzenmast
Traditional Schooner
Rigging on a traditional clipper ship
A SCHOONER is a type of sailing vessel characterized by the use of fore-and-aft sails on two or more masts with the forward mast being shorter or the same height as the rear masts.
A Brigantine is a vessel with two masts, only the forward of which is square rigged.
A BARQUENTINE (also spelled barkentine) is a sailing vessel with three or more masts; with a square rigged foremast and fore-and-aft rigged main, mizzen and any other masts.
A BRIG is a vessel with two square-rigged masts.  On the aft mast there is also a gaff sail often called the spanker.
 
A clipper was a very fast sailing ship of the 19th century that had multiple masts and a square rig.
A SAILING FRIGATE is a medium sized square-rigged warship similar to a clipper.  Frigates evolved from more ancient vessels powered by oar or sail or both. (more about Sailing Frigates)
A TOP SAIL SCHOONER a variation on the schooner, with square sails at the top of the foremast.
A Caravel has some confusion on it's definition.  It is variously defined as a three-masted sailing vessel, generally square-rigged with the aftermast lateen-rigged and also as a one, two or three and sometimes four masted vessel with various combinations of lateen and square sails.  Columbus's ships, the Nina and the Pinta were caravels.
XEBEC (ALSO CHEBEC) They were equipped with three lateen-rigged masts, the fore and mizzen having considerable rake to the bow and stern respectively.
A Carrack was a three- or four-masted sailing ship usually square-rigged on the foremast and mainmast and lateen-rigged on the mizzenmast. It was developed in 15th century Western Europe for use in the Atlantic Ocean. It had a high rounded stern with large aftcastle and forecastle and bowsprit at the stem.  Columbus's Santa Maria was a Carrack.
A Cog is a broad-beamed single-masted clinker built trading vessel from the 13th to 15th centuries in Europe and the Mediterranean.
A DHOW dates back many centuries.  It is a traditional Arab sail boat with one or more lateen sails, (more about Dhows)
Obviously, there are many, many more parts to sailboats with which a sailor must be familiar. There are many variations to sailboats.  These are only some of the basics.
Sailors are nice people.  A sailor named Mike Lewis noticed some errors on this diagram (I'm embarrassed to say) and not only did he bring it to my attention, he spent the time necessary to modify and correct it and send it to us.  So we can add Mike to our list of contributors.

THANK YOU VERY MUCH, Mr. Lewis!
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