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Encyclopedia > Topsail

A topsail is a sail set above another sail; on square-rigged vessels further sails may be set above topsails. A sail is a surface intended to generate thrust by being placed in a wind; basically it is a vertically oriented wing. ...

Contents


Square rig

On a square rigged vessel, a topsail is a square sail rigged above the course sail and below the topgallant sail where carried. A full-rigged ship has either single or double ("split" upper and lower) topsails on all masts, the single or lower topsail being the second sail above the deck and the upper topsail where so rigged being the third. Square rig is a generic type of sailing vessel in which the main horizontal spars are perpendicular to the keel of the ship. ... In sailing, a course sail is the principal sail on a mast. ... On a square rigged sailing vessel, a topgallant sail is the square-rigged sail or sails immediately above the topsail or topsails. ...


Although described as a "square" sail, this term refers not to a sail's shape but to it and its yard being rigged square to the keel of the vessel rather than in line with it or "fore and aft"; the topsail was and is always trapezoidal, the lengths of the upper yards being progressively smaller the higher they are. The bottom edge (foot) of the topsail, like that of other square sails, is slightly concave, .


Although topsails of a kind were used at least as early as Roman times, they first came into use in Europe some time in the 15th century. Initially small and carried only on main and fore masts, they gradually increased in size and importance until by the middle of the 17th century and were the principal and largest sails of the ship, the first sails to be set and the last to be taken in. It was quite common for a ship to sail with topsails and jibs alone; the position of the topsails well above the sea ensured that they received a steady breeze even if the seas were rough. (14th century - 15th century - 16th century - other centuries) As a means of recording the passage of time, the 15th century was that century which lasted from 1401 to 1500. ... (16th century - 17th century - 18th century - more centuries) As a means of recording the passage of time, the 17th century was that century which lasted from 1601-1700. ... See also: Jib (television) A jib is a triangular staysail set ahead of the foremost mast of a sailing boat. ...


The larger topsails were difficult and dangerous to handle in strong winds. Sometime in the 1680s, reef-bands were introduced to tie up part of the sail, with topsails eventually getting four of these, and reefing the sails became a regular occupation of sailors. In the mid 19th century, topsails of merchant vessels were split into separate upper and lower topsails that could be managed separately and far more easily by smaller crews. Centuries: 16th century - 17th century - 18th century Decades: 1630s 1640s 1650s 1660s 1670s - 1680s - 1690s 1700s 1710s 1720s 1730s Years: 1680 1681 1682 1683 1684 1685 1686 1687 1688 1689 Events and Trends The Treaty of Ratisbon between France and England in 1684 ended the Age of Buccaneers. ... To reef the main sail means to reduce its sail area. ... Alternative meaning: Nineteenth Century (periodical) (18th century — 19th century — 20th century — more centuries) As a means of recording the passage of time, the 19th century was that century which lasted from 1801-1900 in the sense of the Gregorian calendar. ...


Gaff rig

On a gaff rigged sailing boat, a topsail is a triangular sail set between the gaff and the top of the mast or extended higher by a small boom. These rigs may still be seen in widespread use today but were once more common, particularly on such vessels as cutters, two-masted racing, naval or merchant schooners and gaff sloops, but have now been largely superseded by the bermuda rig, which has no topsails. There may be one topsail on each gaff-rigged mast. Gaff rig is a sailing rig in which the mainsail is a four-cornered fore-and-aft rigged sail controlled at its head by a spar called the gaff. ... Two-masted fishing schooner A schooner is a type of sailing ship characterized by the use of fore-and-aft sails on two or more masts. ... A sloop-rigged J-24 sailboat In sailing, a sloop is a vessel with a single mast on which is hoisted a fore-and-aft rigged mainsail and a single jib, plus extras such as a spinnaker. ... In sailing, a bermuda rig is: A rig of mainsail or course that consists of a triangular sail set aft of the mast, with its head raised to the top of the mast, its luff running down the mast and normally attached to it for all its length, its tack...


On rigs having multiple jibs or staysails of which at least one is set high, such as many late 19th and 20th Century racing cutters, the uppermost of these, set flying or on a topmast stay, is often called the jib topsail. See also: Jib (television) A jib is a triangular staysail set ahead of the foremost mast of a sailing boat. ...



See also: sailing, sail-plan In sailing, a course sail is the principal sail on a mast. ... A driver is a kind of sail used on some sailboats. ... In sailing, an extra is a sail that is not part of the working sail plan. ... A genoa (pronounced like the city, or as jenny) is a type of large jib-sail used on sloop-rigged craft. ... A gennaker is a downwind sail that can be described as a cross between a genoa and a spinnaker. ... See also: Jib (television) A jib is a triangular staysail set ahead of the foremost mast of a sailing boat. ... A lateen (from Latin) is a triangular sail set on a long yard mounted at an angle on the mast, and running in a fore-and-aft direction. ... A mainsail is the most important sail raised from the main (or only) mast of a sailing vessel. ... A spanker is either of two kinds of sail. ... A spinnaker is a special sail that is designed specifically for sailing downwind (with the wind behind the boat). ... A staysail is a fore-and-aft rigged sail whose luff is affixed to a stay running forward (and most often but not always downwards) from a mast to the deck, the bowsprit or to another mast. ... A studding sail or studsail is a sail used to increase the sail area of a square rigged vessel in light winds. ... A spanker is either of two kinds of sail. ... On a square rigged sailing vessel, a topgallant sail is the square-rigged sail or sails immediately above the topsail or topsails. ... A small fore-and-aft sail hoisted abaft the foremast and mainmast in a storm to keep a ships bow to the wind. ... In sailing, the clew is the lower aft corner of the sail. ... The term plastics covers a range of synthetic or semi-synthetic organic condensation or polymerization products that can be molded or extruded into objects or films or fibers. ... diagram showing the names of the parts of a sail The lower edge of a triangular sail is called the foot of the sail, while the upper point is known as the head. ... diagram showing the names of the parts of a sail The lower edge of a triangular sail is called the foot of the sail, while the upper point is known as the head. ... Kevlar, also known as Twaron and poly-paraphenylene terephthalamide, is a synthetic fibre that is five times stronger than steel, weight for weight. ... diagram showing the names of the parts of a sail The lower edge of a triangular sail is called the foot of the sail, while the upper point is known as the head. ... diagram showing the names of the parts of a sail The lower edge of a triangular sail is called the foot of the sail, while the upper point is known as the head. ... Tack is a term, that depending on its application has several different meanings. ... The boom is a spar usually made of aluminum or wood which provides support to the foot of the mainsail. ... Bowsprit of the Falls of Clyde, showing the dolphin striker, the use of chain for the bobstays, and three furled jibs. ... In sailing, a gaff is the upper spar used to control a fore-and-aft sail set aft of the mast, such as a mainsail. ... foremast, mainmast and mizzen mast Grand Turk The mast of a sailing ship is a tall vertical pole which supports the sails. ... foremast, mainmast and mizzen mast Grand Turk The mast of a sailing ship is a tall vertical pole which supports the sails. ... foremast, mainmast and mizzen mast Grand Turk The mast of a sailing ship is a tall vertical pole which supports the sails. ... foremast, mainmast and mizzen mast Grand Turk The mast of a sailing ship is a tall vertical pole which supports the sails. ... foremast, mainmast and mizzen mast Grand Turk The mast of a sailing ship is a tall vertical pole which supports the sails. ... The word truck is used in various different ways in different varieties of English. ... For the convenience store, see SPAR. Sailing ships A spar is a round timber or metal pole used on a sailing ship. ... A pole is a long and stiff cylinder usually made of wood, aluminium, iron, carbon fiber, or other materials. ... A yardarm (often shortened to just yard) is a horizontal spar on a mast from which square sails are rigged. ... On a sailing vessel, a backstay is a piece of standing rigging which keeps a mast from falling forewards. ... In sailing, a block is a pulley or a number of pulleys enclosed in sheaves so as to be fixed to the end of a line or to a spar or surface. ... This page is a candidate to be moved to Wiktionary. ... This article is about the sailing term. ... On a sailing vessel, a forestay is a piece of standing rigging which keeps a mast from falling backwards. ... Categories: Move to Wiktionary | Stub ... A guy is a term for a line (rope) attached to and intended to control the end of a spar on a sailboat. ... In sailing, a halyard is a line (rope) that is used to hoist (pull up) a sail or a yard to which a sail has been attached (bent on). ... Some knots: 1. ... Anatomy In anatomy, the throat is the part of the neck anterior to the vertebral column. ... One of the most dangerous things that can happen on a sailing boat, apart from falling overboard, is for someone to get caught up in the uncontrolled gybe of a sail. ... This article is about the rigging of ships, and is based on the detailed article in the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica, now in the public domain. ... Running rigging is the term for the rigging of a sailing vessel that is used for raising, lowering and controlling the sails - as opposed to the standing rigging, which supports the mast and other spars. ... On a sailing boat, the standing rigging is that collection of lines which are fixed. ... Rope is also the title of a movie by Alfred Hitchcock Coils of rope used for long-line fishing A rope is a length of fibers, twisted or braided together to improve strength, for pulling and connecting. ... In sailing, a sheet is a line attached to the clew of a sail, and is the main control used in trimming the sail. ... On a sailboat, the shrouds are pieces of standing rigging which hold the mast up from side to side. ... Stays are the heavy ropes on sailing vessels that run from the masts to the hull. ... Anatomy In anatomy, the throat is the part of the neck anterior to the vertebral column. ... The word truck is used in various different ways in different varieties of English. ... Wooden sailing boat Sailing is motion across a body of water in a sailing ship, or smaller boat, powered by wind. ... A sail-plan is a formal set of drawings, usually prepared by a marine architect. ...


Reference

  • John Harland & Mark Myers, Seamanship in the Age of Sail; Lees "Masting & Rigging"; "The Young Sea-Officer's Sheet Anchor"

Topsail Island

This island located at the southern end of the Outer Banks off the coast of North Carolina is supposedly named due to its nefarious history. Apparently pirates would hide in wait for passing ships in the channel between the island and mainland. The 'Topsail' was the only part of the pirate ship that could be seen by the passing 'victim' until it gave chase. There is a legend that Blackbeard hid his treasure that is still being searched for on Topsail till this day.


  Results from FactBites:
 
topsail - definition of topsail in Encyclopedia (407 words)
By the beginning of the 18th century, they were the principal sails of the ship; though never quite as large as the courses, they were the first sails to be set, and the last to be taken in.
In the 19th century, topsails were split into separate upper and lower topsails that could be managed separately.
On a gaff rigged sailing boat, a topsail is a triangular sail set between the gaff and the top of the mast.
Topsail - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (533 words)
Although topsails of a kind were used at least as early as Roman times, they first came into use in Europe some time in the 15th century.
In the mid 19th century, topsails of merchant vessels were split into separate upper and lower topsails that could be managed separately and far more easily by smaller crews.
On a gaff rigged sailing boat, a topsail is a triangular sail set between the gaff and the top of the mast or extended higher by a small boom.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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