Sailor Speak of the Week – Royal

The Royal sail is positioned above the Topgallant. Many square-rigged vessels didn’t have skysails or moonrakers.

Definition

Noun

  • A small sail hoisted above the topgallant sail.

Origin

The 17th century.

Comments

The term possibly came from the idea that anything royal or regal was the best. In many vessels, this could be the highest sail hoisted.

These sails would also be used only in light and favorable winds.

References

King, D., Hattendorf, J.B, & Estes, J.W. (1997). A Sea of Words: A Lexicon and Companion for Patrick O’Brian’s Seafaring Tales (2nd Ed.). Owl Books.

Rogers, J.G. (1985). Origins of Sea Terms. Mystic Seaport.

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