What are the main types of sail rigs for sailboats

What are the main types of sail rigs for sailboats

There are many sail rig types that can leave you amazed when looking at a boat, whether you are a guest or an owner. But before diving into the details of each one, let’s first define what a sail rig is for everyone that is new to boating.

A sail rig refers to the way the sails are placed on the mast. They define the configuration of the boat and include both the soft sail fabric and the mast hardware. The sail right type is often used to define what type of boat you are looking at.

It is important to know all the different sail rig types in order to enjoy sailing to the maximum.

Different sail rig types

Boats usually have one main big sail and one headsail. The main sail usually has a triangular shape and is fore-and-aft rigged. Their main purpose is to direct the boat and help you sail upwind or downwind. They place such a crucial role that for many boat lovers, a boat is only as good as its sails.

In addition, knowing when to trim the sails will improve the performance and efficiency of your boat and allow you to have a nicer voyage.

Here are the different types of sails: Jib (it has a triangular shape), Spinnaker (it has a balloon shape), Genoa (it overlaps the mainsail), Gennaker (a spinnaker and genoa combo), Code zero (like genoa for light air), Windseeker (it has a tall and narrow shape), Drifter (like genoa but made with lightweight fabric), Storm jib (a small jib), Trysail (small shape for bad weather).

And next, here is a list of the different sail rig types. The two main ones are the fore-and-aft rig and the square rigg.

The Fore-and-Aft Rig

The Fore-and-aft rig is divided into three types, the Bermuda rig, Gaff rig, and Lateen rig. They all define sailing rigs that go along the lines of the keel.

Bermuda Rig

This is a sail rig type that is most common for modern sailboats. In this case, the rig revolves around a triangular sail aft in the mast.

Gaff Rig

This sail rig type is mostly used on schooners and barquentines. The sail is four-cornered, therefore the head of the mainsail is directed by a gaff.

Lateen Rig

In this rig, a large triangular sail is placed on the yard. These boats are mostly used in the Indian Ocean and the Mediterranean sea.

Square Rigged

In a square rigged boat, the mainsails are placed on a horizontal spar and they are vertical to the mast and the keel of the boat, all in all creating a squared shape. 

Learn more interesting boat facts at TheBoatDB, the most comprehensive boat database in the world.

Related Posts

Sailboat or Motorboat – Learn the pros and cons

Sailboat or Motorboat – Learn the pros and cons

Are you more of a sailboat or a motorboat person? Both vessels are great for…

View more
Which is better a wooden boat or fiberglass boat

Which is better a wooden boat or fiberglass boat

Do you think a wooden boat is better than a fiberglass boat? There are actually…

View more
Which is the Best Economical Catamaran

Which is the Best Economical Catamaran

Catamarans are boats with two hulls and plenty of deck space for activities and enjoying…

View more


Sign up to update with our latest news.