The spritsail is a form of three or four-sided, fore-aft sail and its rig. Unlike the gaff where the head hangs from a spar along its edge, this rig supports the leech of the sail by means of a spar or spars named a sprit. The forward end of the sprit spar is attached to the mast but bisects the face of the sail, with the after end of the sprit spar attaching to the peak and/or the clew of the sail. It is said to be the ancestor from which the common gaff rig evolved in 16th-century Holland. Historically, spritsails were the first fore-and-aft rigs, appearing in Greco-Roman navigation in the 2nd century BC.
Square Rigged Ships Edit
The spritsail yard is used to support the jib-boom and flying jib-boom. The spritsail yard is mounted on the bowsprit, abaft the dolphin striker. The guys supporting the jib-booms are spread along the spritsail yard. Some ships employed a square sail, known as a spritsail, that was bent-on the spritsail yard.