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Lin and Larry 03-14-2006 04:57 AM

Any one with a good nautical dictionary?
I am trying to find most accurate name for the topsail we have on our 111 year old classic racing cutter, Thelma. (She is not a replacement for Taleisin who we cruise during the Northern Hempisphere Summers but the lady we have repaired and upgraded over the past two winters here in New Zealand.) The topsail is set on its own topmast and has a spar on its outer, lower edge which helps get extra area out beyond the main gaff. (yes it is tricky to set but we are getting the hang of it.) The only book that mentions a name for this sail is Don Streets, The Sailing Yacht. He calls it a double jackyard topsail. I need confirmation of this if anyone can help.

You can see pictures of Thelma on our webpages at

Lin Pardey

PBzeer 03-14-2006 05:57 AM

I looked through the website, but didn't see a picture that showed the sail in question. Could you post a picture here, or give a more specific web address for it?


GordMay 03-14-2006 07:57 AM

From Shipbuilding Terms:

Jackyard Topsail: A triangular topsail set above the mainsail in a gaff rigged vessel.

From Nautical Terms (Global Marine Insurance):

A spar extended above the gaff used to provide greater spread to a topsail

An oversized gaff topsail using "clubs" to extend the mast and the gaff; also called "club topsail"

From Dixon Kemp's Dictionary (Manual of Yacht and Boat Sailing and Architecture):

Jack Stay.

Lin and Larry 03-14-2006 12:55 PM

Hi - I would post a picture of Thelma, but have not found the botton that lets me do so. Thanks for the confirmation -your sources make me feel comfortable using Jackyard topsail. (Sounds rather fun and old fashioned doesn't it.)

gstraub 03-15-2006 08:02 AM

The book "Hand, Reef, and Steer" by Tom Cunliffe has a good chapter on topsails with drawings and photos.


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