'spritsail' can also refer to...


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  • Maritime History
  • Warfare and Defence


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1 A fore-and-aft quadrilateral sail extended from the mast by means of a sprit set diagonally across the sail. This extends from the foot of the mast with the upper end attached to the peak of the sail. It is particularly well known for its use on the Thames barge.

2 A small square sail set beneath a highly steeved bowsprit on early square-rigged ships. An additional sail, called the spritsail topsail, was sometimes set ahead of the spritsail, or on a short mast, called the spritsail topmast, stepped upright at the end of the bowsprit. These sails were superseded by the current system of jibs and staysails early in the 18th century.

16th-century rig with spritsail

Subjects: Maritime History — Warfare and Defence.

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