Nautical Terms - page 3

1.3 Types of Rig

Sloop (masthead)

A sloop is designed to have one mast and one foresail and will be described as a "masthead sloop" or as having a "fractional rig". A masthead sloop has the forestay attached to the largest foresail is also hoisted to the top. 

Sloop (fractional)

The fractional rig has a taller mast in comparison, but the forestay is attached to a lower point on the mast, which can be between three-quarters and seven-eights of the total mast lenght from the deck. 

Cutter rig

A cutter is very similar to the masthead sloop but has a second foresail and the mast is stepped slightly further aft. Blue water cruising yachtsmen often buy cutter-rigged yachts as it gives them greater flexibility to vary the sail pattern either downwind or in a blow.

Two-masted craft

Known as "Ketch" has the main mast taller than the smaller mizzen mast. To be classified as a ketch the rudder post has to be positioned aft of the mizzen. This tig is considered versatile for the cruising sailor and in strong winds the mizzen and foresail can be used alone without the mainsail to give a balanced boat with reduced sail.