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Rigging a brig

A brig ( plural briggs ) is a two-masted sailing ship with square sails on both masts. In addition, a gaff sail is used on the main mast (still today mostly a gaff sail ), which is called a brig sail for this type of rigging .


Up until the middle of the 19th century, three large square sails and three staysails were carried on the foremast, the smaller front mast, while on the rear mast, the main mast, two to three large square sails, two to three staysails and the brig (e.g. Lady Washington ). Originally briggs did not have a sail on the lower yard of the main mast. In later years the two upper sails were again divided into upper and lower mars as well as upper and lower bram. This simplified the operation of the sails in bad weather and increased the number of yards per mast to five. The top sail is also called Royal on many ships today . The older brig rigging resembles that of the Schnau of the 18th century. However, this led its treeless gaff sail on a Schnaumast, a pole attached to the main mast.

Ships of the most varied hull shapes could be rigged as brig, from completely wooden Galiots of Dutch design to clipper-like, sharp hulls made of wood, iron and steel of the 19th and 20th centuries. While most briggs were merchant ships, such as the Collier Brigg , there were also war briggs, most of which were armed with 10 to 18 guns. In the second half of the 19th century, naval briggs were mainly used as training ships . The Imperial German Navy , for example, owned the Briggs Musquito , Rover and Undine for training cabin boys.

There are still several ships of this type of rigging, such as the Polish Fryderyk Chopin and the German Roald Amundsen . The Eye of the Wind , which was launched as a merchant ship in 1911, sails under the flag of the United Kingdom . The British royalist continues the tradition of Briggs as school ships and is similar in size and appearance to the ships of the 19th century. The Swedish Gerda is a replica that differs from the original ship in details (machine, handicapped access). Friederike von Papenburg in front of the Papenburg Town Hall in the main canal is also a new building based on the original plans.



  • Jensen, Jens Kusk: Handbook of practical seamanship on traditional sailing ships. Hamburg: Palstek Verlag, (Reprint) 1998, ISBN 3-89365-722-3

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