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Jolly Boats and Dingies

sprit, sail and mast

JOLLY BOATS AND DINGIES Jolly boats and dingies are generally fitted at the dockyards with lug sails, but it is just at this point in the size of boats that the sprit sail begins to come in handy, and I look upon the sprit and jib as the handiest of all rigs for small open boats of about 18 feet and under; a sprit is a very flat and powerful sail, but when the sail gets too large, and the sprit consequently too heavy for a man to be able to handle it with ease, it ceases to be a convenient sail, and the gaff sail takes its place for standing rigs. One remarkable exception where the sprit sail is used in large vessels is the case of river barges, which are fitted to lower their masts for the purpose of going under bridges, some of these are large vessels of several hundred tons burden ; the rig is peculiar, the mast, which is comparatively short, works on trunnions in a tabernacle, and the sprit, which is a very large and heavy spar, is permanently attached to the masthead by a strong piece of rope, the mast and sprit are lowered simultaneously by means of a powerful purchase upon a very stout stay. By this means

a large spread of canvas is obtained upon a comparatively short mast, but this rig is quite an exception to the general application of the sprit, which, as I have already observed, is only suitable to small boats. One great objection to the sprit sail is that it is a difficult sail to reef, and if the sprit is taken out altogether it takes too much sail off the boat, and probably renders her unmanageable. The snotter which supports the heel of the sprit should be made very strong, for if this carries away the sprit is very apt to go through the bottom of the boat.

The split lug is an abominable and an un sightly rig, and is only fit for the " long boat " of a Portuguese merchant ship.