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What constitutes “Fighting Sails”?

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While there would be some commonality to what was used, there was also flexibility - each Captain and sailing master had preferences based on individual ship performance and, more important, tactical environment (meteorological and engagement type).


Mark is quite correct that the largest sails were generalky not used, as they were for stronger winds and cruising, not manuevering.


In general terms, one or two topsails may have been set, along with a couple of staysails and, depending on wind conditions, the driver (spanker).


Take a look at the many period paintings available to get a feel for the various arrangements.

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GrandpaPhil, good advice by Mark and Wayne.


The courses also posed a significant fire hazard during battle from their own guns as well as from the enemy, so brailing reduced that problem.  Brailing the courses also improved visibility.  


Good luck with your build~!                  Duff

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