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In fore-and-aft-rigged sailing vessels a topsail is a sail set above the working sails. This can be in the form of a high-setting jib topsail or set above gaff-rigged sails, usually from the topmast, as a main topsail or fore topsail. In this application it can take the form of a triangular jib-headed topsail or set with additional spars as a jackyard topsail. In a square-rigger it is the sail set from a topsail yard. It is sometimes split into two parts each with its own yard and those are then called upper and lower topsails. The lower topsail is often made of heavy canvas and can be kept set in heavy wind.

Subjects: Maritime History.

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