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Gaff Sails

May 2, 2011

Gaff Sails. In his Account of the Arctic Regions II (pp. 197-198) Scoresby explains that when the whale boats were deployed after whales, the ship itself had to be managed by a crew of just six or seven men. For this reason the sails were arranged to allow the ship to be steered amongst ice with as little effort as possible. On a square-rigged whaling vessel, Gaff Sails were triangular, or small four-sided sails suspended between the masts, on a “gaff” or spar that could be managed from the deck, essentially mimicking the simpler “fore-and-aft” layout of a sloop.

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