Started Sailing

The Spritsail rig.

by Han
(Brittany, France)



Without doubt the spritsail rig is, next to lateen rig and junk rig, one of the oldest types of fore-and-aft rig; one of the earliest depictions of it is Roman, from the 3rd. century A.D., see:

Because the sprit is on the starboard side of the mainsail, the sail is deformed on port tack by wind pressure, so the faster and higher is the starboard tack. This is probably the reason why, on collision course, the ship on port tack gives way to the ship on starboard tack.

One of the best-known English ships propelled by a spritsail rig is the Thames sailing barge,, of which luckily some have survived the years, lovingly restored by their owners.

In Holland also remain some types of boats and ships, mostly fishermen, driven by spritsail rig. The picture above is of one of those.

Comments for The Spritsail rig.

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Jul 20, 2013
by: Anonymous

just giving my opinion. I have two sailboats. one, an holiday 20, is a Bermuda sloop. the other, somewhat like a classic moth in hull shape, I bought with a boomed lateen. it was worn and you couldn't control the fullness of the sail. it also had a very long boom, which made breech sail a risk. I designed and built a spritsail and spars. I did include a boom vang, which I designed and made. it's the best sail I have ever used. it points as well as the Bermuda rig and it's great off the wind. it heels less that the lateen and points better, too. I can control the sail fullness with the outhaul and the boom vang. it's been an awesome sail. it gets a lot of attention, too. most people, on ther lake, have no idea what it is and are surprised at it's great performance, because it's not a Bermuda. I really love spritsails.

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