Visit→Virtual Tour→Masts and Sail Array

Masts and Yards

masts.gif Masts are the wooden spars extending vertically from the deck. From these, fixed horizontally, are the yards, from which the sails would be suspended. By the time of Trincomalee mast and sail arrays were exceptionally complex,held together by a labyrinth of rigging, and could be trimmed into a number of configurations to maximise speed. They could also allow ships to maneuvre even when the wind was opposing their course - the one situation where a sailing vessel was helpless was becalming - a complete absence of wind. In such cases the crew would tow the ship with its launches and oars!

KEY TO DIAGRAM - MASTS (orange)
A - Main Mast
B - Main Topmast
C - Main Topgallant Mast
D - Fore Mast
E - Fore Topmast
F - Fore Topgallant Mast
G - Mizzen Mast
H - Mizzen Topmast
I - Mizzen Topgallant Mast
J - Bowsprit
K - Jib Boom
L - Spear
KEY TO DIAGRAM - YARDS (black)
1 - Main Yard
2 - Main Topsail Yard
3 - Main Topgallant Yard
4 - Main Royal Yard
5 - Fore Yard
6 - Fore Topsail Yard
7 - Fore Topgallant Yard
8 - Fore Royal Yard
9 - Mizzen Yard
10 - Mizzen Topsail Yard
11 - Mizzen Topgallant Yard
12 - Mizzen Royal Yard
13 - Gaff
14 - Driver Boom
15 - Spritsail Yard

Square Sails, Jibs and Fore Stay Sails

sails.gif The primary sails on a fully rigged ship like Trincomalee were the square sails, used to catch the largest volume of air in order to drive the ship forward. On larger ships like HMS Victory, the square sails could occupy two acres and weigh ten tons. The triangular Jib and Stay sails (the latter hung between the masts, and all but the most forward of them not shown here for clarity) would increase maneuverability. Like most ships, a Leda-class frigate would carry a spare set of sails in the hold.

KEY TO DIAGRAM - SQUARE SAILS
(orange)

A - Main Course
B - Main Topsail
C - Main Topgallant Sail
D - Main Royal
E - Foremast Course
F - Foremast Topsail
G - Foremast Topgallant Sail
H - Foremast Royal
I - Mizzen Topsail
J - Mizzen Topgallant Sail
K - Mizzen Royal
L - Driver or Spanker
KEY TO DIAGRAM - JIBS & FORE STAY SAILS
(blue)
M - Flying Jib
N - Fore Topmast Staysail
O - Fore Staysail


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26th July

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National Museum of the Royal Navy 
Jackson Dock
Maritime Avenue
HARTLEPOOL
TS24 0XZ

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