A sailing vessel with a lugsail rig, which appeared in western Europe at the end of the 16th century. It was normally fitted with a foremast and mainmast, except when it was used to smuggle contraband or as a privateer, when a mizzen was stepped right aft. It was used particularly for fishing and for the coastal trade. In these situations its increased weatherliness over the square rig gave it considerable advantages when working the tides.
As it appeared so quickly throughout Europe, it is open to question whether its development was indigenous. The possibility has been raised that it came from the junk rig, losing its battens and multiple sheets in the process, particularly as it is said to have been disseminated from the Adriatic, Marco Polo's home waters. Two types of lugger, the trabaccolo and the braggozzi, can still be found in Venetian ports and it may be no coincidence that they are flat bottomed and have exceptionally large rudders which can be retracted, both features found in the junk. Multiple sheeting also appears in Turkish luggers, and certain Turkish boats possess similarities to the sampan.
Subjects: Maritime History.