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Mizzen mast main sail


toms10
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I am working on putting the sails on my first build, the AL kit Constellation.  Can someone tell me why the lowest yard on the mizzen mast does not have a sail?  There is a royal, gallant and top sail but no main (course) sail.  The yard as per the instructions has foot ropes and blocks for rigging but no sail.  I was just wondering as I am "less than an expert" at ship design.  I can't seem to find any information and when somebody looks at my model and asks, I want to be able to give a reasonable answer.

 

Tom

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I think there are a couple of reasons.  The first goes back to when the lower sail on the mizzen was a lateen sail.  It acted more like a fore and aft sail and the lower forward part extended before the mast.  The lowest square sail on the mizzen was then the topmast.  Tradition then just carries on from there.

 

The second reason is that the gap between the main and mizzen is often smaller than that between the fore and main.  A full square sail for the mizzen course would 'steal the wind' or blanket the wind from the main course.  It would not add that much driving force.  The sails of the main and mizzen are considered after sails and balance the effort of the forward sails which are the foremast and jib sails.

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The lower mizzen yard on your ship is called a cro'jack yard and is used to spread the foot of the topsail.  It indeed is a holdover from the days of the lateen yard.  Other rigs used a method to carry the fore edge of the fore and aft sail and allow the use of a square sail, but you don't need to worry about those right now.

Edited by jbshan
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The lower mizzen yard on your ship is called a cro'jack yard and is used to spread the foot of the topsail.  It indeed is a holdover from the days of the lateen yard.  Other rigs used a method to carry the fore edge of the fore and aft sail and allow the use of a square sail, but you don't need to worry about those right now.

I might add that the way the 'foot of the topsail is spread' is by having the sheet of the topsail go through a sheave in the mizzen cro'jack yard and then back to the mizzen mast. The same as all other sheets for square sails above.

 

In addition, having a course sail on the mizzen interferes with the spanker sail and spoils the wind going around the spanker when on a reach. I think that is more of a problem than stealing the wind from the main course. But I may be wrong, Henry. B) 

 

Edited by Modeler12
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B)

I might add that the way the 'foot of the topsail is spread' is by having the sheet of the topsail go through a sheave in the mizzen cro'jack yard and then back to the mizzen mast. The same as all other sheets for square sails above.

 

In addition, having a course sail on the mizzen interferes with the spanker sail and spoils the wind going around the spanker when on a reach. I think that is more of a problem than stealing the wind from the main course. But I may be wrong, Henry. B) 
 

You are probably right on that account  B)

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Tom,

 

In addition to what has already been said, according to John Harland in his 'Seamanship', a crossjack sail was introduced in the mid-nineteenth century but, not surprisingly, was not a great success for the reasons pointed out.

 

In passing though, a surprising number of ships had one bent and even today many sail training ships carry one, judging by the photographs. It should be mentioned however, that most are furled! The one exception would appear to be the brig, where it is quite commonly used. 

 

With reference to the blocking of the wind from aft to the forward sails, I have seen modified triangular shaped crossjack sails, sheeted from the point in the centre of the sail and belayed in front of the mizzen mast.

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