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A rig peculiar to the Mediterranean. The three-masted ones were usually lateen rigged on the fore and mizzen-masts, and square rigged on the mainmast, but occasionally they were square rigged on all three. The two-masted version was usually square rigged on both masts. A feature of their design was that they had pole masts without either tops or crosstrees. This, and the arrangement for staying the masts, meant the yards could be braced much closer to the centreline than in the normal square-rigger. This made them extremely weatherly—an English-built polacre constructed in 2004 could trim her yards 15° to the centreline—and as a result were much favoured by those involved in piracy. There were no footropes to the yards; the crew stood on the topsail yards to loose, or furl, the topgallant sails and on the lower yards to loose, reef, or furl the topsails, the yards themselves being lowered sufficiently for that purpose.

Subjects: Maritime History.

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