I was taken by the simplicity of how Geoffrey Prout describes rigs in his “Brown’s Pocket-Book for Yachtsmen” that I have been very kindly leant a copy of. To share it with you (and the wonderful hand drawn diagram to explain the main types of rig) I have included what he says below.
‘Fore-and-aft-rigged vessels are those with sails whose weather leeches are always the same. Square-rigged vessels are those whose lee leeches become the weather leeches when the vessel come round on the other tack. The lugger, though rigged with yards and with fore side of the sail well before the mast, is a fore-and-after, because, when she tacks, the lug is dipped or swung so that the weather leech, or luff, merely passes from one side of the boat to the other. The square sail, when the vessel tacks, is swung right round, so that the old luff becomes the lee leech and the old lee leech the new weather leech or luff. You can recognize the rig of any craft seen in British waters by reference to these silhouettes.’
We will be looking at examples of the different type of rig found on sailing vessels as we come across them out sailing. A great reason not to forget that there is a lot more than the Bermudian Sloop type rigs that we see so much of today.