square sail


square sail
a sail set beneath a horizontal yard, the normal position of which, when not trimmed to the wind, is directly athwartships. See diag. under sail.
[1590-1600]

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      simplest form of rigging and the most ancient. The sails are attached to yards (crossbars) that are hung at their centres from the mast, and there are as many as five yards, one above the other. The characteristic of the square sail, apart from its shape, is that it always presents the same face to the wind, though the yard may pivot considerably about the mast. The square sail was the only rigging used in northern European waters until late in the Middle Ages, but by the 11th century it could be turned to catch the wind on the beam. Ultimately, it was combined with the more versatile fore-and-aft lateen sail of the Mediterranean to produce the full-rigged ship of the age of exploration. Square sails are little used in modern sailing.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Square sail — Square Square (skw[^a]r), a. 1. (Geom.) Having four equal sides and four right angles; as, a square figure. [1913 Webster] 2. Forming a right angle; as, a square corner. [1913 Webster] 3. Having a shape broad for the height, with rectilineal and… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • square-sail — squareˈ sail / sl/ noun (nautical) A four sided sail extended by yards suspended by the middle generally at right angles to the mast • • • Main Entry: ↑square …   Useful english dictionary

  • square sail — square′ sail n. navig. a sail bent to a horizontal yard set athwartships …   From formal English to slang

  • square sail — n. a four sided sail rigged on a yard suspended horizontally across the mast and athwart the keel …   English World dictionary

  • square sail — noun a four sided sail set beneath a horizontal yard suspended at the middle from a mast • Hypernyms: ↑sail, ↑canvas, ↑canvass, ↑sheet …   Useful english dictionary

  • square sail — noun Date: 1600 a 4 sided sail extended on a yard suspended at the middle from a mast …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • square sail — noun A sail bent to a horizontal yard set athwartships …   Wiktionary

  • square sail — /ˈskwɛə seɪl/ (say skwair sayl) noun Nautical See sail (def. 1) …   Australian English dictionary

  • Tack (square sail) — The tack of a square rigged sail is a line attached to its lower corner. This is in contrast to the more common fore and aft sail, whose tack is a part of the sail itself, the corner which is (possibly semi permanently) secured to the vessel.Most …   Wikipedia

  • Square rig — is a generic type of sail and rigging arrangement in which the primary driving sails are carried on horizontal spars which are perpendicular, or [http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/square#Adjective square] , to the keel of the vessel and to the masts …   Wikipedia


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