fore-and-aft sail

fore-and-aft sail

noun
any of various sails, as jib-headed sails, gaff sails, lugsails, lateen sails, spritsails, staysails, and jibs, that do not set on yards and whose normal position, when not trimmed, is in a fore-and-aft direction amidships.

Origin:
1810–20

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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Encyclopedia Britannica
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fore-and-aft sail

one of the two basic types of sailing rig, the other being the square sail. The fore-and-aft sail, now usually triangular, is set completely aft of a mast or stay, parallel to the ship's keel, and takes the wind on either side. The mainsail always has a boom, pivoted on the mast. Historically, it represented an important advance over the ancient square sail; it first appeared in the Mediterranean as the lateen sail. Full-rigged ships carried both types of sail; modern sport sailing craft carry fore-and-aft sails exclusively because of their ready maneuverability and facility in tacking into the wind. Compare lateen sail; square sail.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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