what is the jib of a boat, and the spinnaker?

what are the "jibs", and what do they do?

7 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Most sails are named after what they are bent to (attached to). There are a few exceptions to that rule and jib and spinnaker are two exceptions.

    All sails forward of the most forward mast are called headsails. Sloops are single masted sailing vessels with one main sail and one headsail called a forestaysail. Sloops don't have a jib unless they are cutter rigged. Only vessels with a bowsprit have a jib or jibs.

    Photo of typical sloop:


    A jib is a triangular headsail that is bent (attached) to running rigging forward of the foremost mast on a sailing vessel. The line that the jib is bent to is attached at the bowsprit and runs up to the foremast (if equipped with more than one mast) or main mast if the vessel only has one mast.

    Jibs increase the upwind capability of the vessel and balance the forces on the boat. Forestaysails and jibs increase the speed of the air flowing over the main sail and thereby increases it's power. They also provide motive power of their own and many vessels can be sailed on the forestaysail or jib.

    A triangular sail that is attached to standing rigging (stay) forward of the mast is called a forestay sail, because it is bent to the forestay. Some people wrongly refer to this as a jib and you'll find many references to this sail online and in modern books calling it a jib. It's not a jib.

    All jibs are headsails, but not all staysails are headsails and NO staysails are jibs.

    Some forestaysails are called Genoas. Genoas have a longer foot and the clew is aft of the mast when close hauled. A Genoa may be a 135% or 150% or some other percentage. What that means is the foot of the sail extends 35% past the mast or 50% past the mast. Here's a photo of a Genoa forestaysail on a yawl:


    If the vessel has a bowsprit, and a headsail forward of the forestaysail, then that sail is called a jib.

    A sloop rigged with two headsails is called a cutter and will have a bowsprit. Any vessel rigged with two headsails with a bowsprit is considered to be cutter rigged, including ketches, yawls, and small schooners. Photo of a cutter showing the forestaysail and the jib:


    Some larger vessels such as brigs, barks, schooners and ships have more than one jib sail. The bowsprit is lengthened by adding a jib boom and another jibsail is rigged from that. Some vessels are rigged with a flying jib boom (rigged to the jib boom) and the third jib is flown from that.

    Jibs get their name from the Dutch term (gijk) for what we now call the bow sprit. A jib is a type of fixed boom or spar and sails attached to them are therefore called jibsails. Many cranes are jib cranes by design.

    Here is a diagram of a ship rigged vessel showing two jibs and a foretopmast staysail. This vessel doesn't have a sail bent to the forestay, but it does have one bent to the fore topmast stay:


    Other large vessels have many headsails including forestaysails, foretopmast staysails, jibs, inner jib, outer jib, flying jib and jibtopsail. A ship rigged with 5 headsails:


    A jib topsail is sometimes rigged above and forward of the other jibs, but any sail bent to a stay, is not a jib, it's a staysail.

    Here's a diagram showing #1, jib topsail, #2, jib, #3 forestaysail.


    A spinnaker is a large balloon like sail used primarily on sloops to aid in downwind capability. A photo:


    You asked! :)

  • Dawn
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    Yes - it's possible to sail with just a jib ... but it would be difficult .. it also depends on the size of the boat....if it's smaller like a pixel, it might be easier. As long as you have a main sail up, you can sail with a jib without a spinnaker...

  • 1 decade ago

    A jib (also spelled jibb) is a triangular staysail set ahead of the foremost mast of a sailing boat. Its tack is fixed to the bowsprit, to the bow, or to the deck between the bowsprit and the foremost mast. Jibs and spinnakers are the two main types of headsails on a modern boat.

    A spinnaker is a special type of sail that is designed specifically for sailing off the wind from a reaching course to a downwind, i.e. with the wind 90°–180° off the bow.

  • 1 decade ago

    The jib of a sailing vessel is the most forward sail and it has a very important function especially if the ship is on a course that is "close to the wind ".

    Close to the wind means trying to point the nose of the ship as "close" to where wind is coming from. On the Nose so to speak.

    On a sloop, currently the most popular design of sail plan, one mast has the jib, from the bow to the stern in sizes that depend on what type of sailing you are "rigged " for. The larger the faster until it can render the ship unstable.

    The combination of jib and mainsail,efficiently reefed,acts somewhat similarly to the wing of an aircraft in that they create lift, allowing the ship to head closer to the wind while maintaining a high hull speed.

    Without a jib tight, the ship won't point as high.

    From any greater angle to the wind both sails are "Trimmed' to maximize the desired characteristics of the trip.

    The spinnaker is used for down wind sailing i.e. the wind is almost directly behind you and it acts almost like a wall.

    The wind hits the wall and pushes the ship downwind.

    If you want more technicals let me know.

    Source(s): Avid sailor
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  • 1 decade ago

    The jib is the smaller triangular sail forward of the mast on a sail boat.

    A spinnaker is a large sail which forms almost a parachute shape and is launched when sailing downwind so that the boat can sail faster. It has to be pulled back in to it's chute when sailing upwind.

  • 1 decade ago

    The jib sail attaches to the bowsprit, fore and its head to the main mast. It directs wind to the mainsail. The spinnaker attaches to the main mast at its head and fills with wind while running from the wind.

  • billy
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago

    They are types of sails, like the little 3 cornered ones that stick out in the front of the boat.

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