Description of MIR's Rigging
an how it Works.
MIR's twenty-six sails drive her, in optimum winds, twice as
fast as does her auxiliary engine. The sails are set, doused, and
means of her running rigging. The task of memorizing the location and
use of the
more than 230 lines may at first seem overwhelming, but it is actually
simple. The lines can be grouped into a handful of functions; their
are logically determined by their functions. In addition, most lines
and located similarly on the foremast, the mainmast and the mizzenmast.
understand these functions it will first be necessary to examine the
has fourteen square sails. The sails on the foremast,
mainmast and mizzenmast are essentially the same and are made of panels
dacron. The head of the sail is attached to the forward jackstay on the
robands. Earrings in the upper comers of the sails are attached to a
hook on the
earring jackstay and keep the head of the sail taut. The side edges of
are the leeches; the bottom edge is the foot; and the lower corners of
are the clews. Running along the outer edges of the sails is a wide
dacron, which helps to shape the sails and give them strength.
bulk of the running rigging is used to set and douse the sails:
are attached to the clews of the sails and are used to sheet the sails
i.e., to haul them down to the next lower yard—or the deck
for the courses—when
setting. The section of sheet attached to the clew and running through
block at the end of the lower yard is made of chain to reduce chafing;
remainder of the sheet is wire rope with a single sheave runner block
at the bitter end. A manila line dead-ended on deck is reeved on deck
block and back to the fiferail.
are also attached to the clews of the sails but they oppose the sheets.
Clewlines lead up to the yards on which the sails are bent rather than
the yards below. Just as the sheets are used to haul the sail down when
the clewlines (clew garnets on the courses) are used to haul the sail
are also used when dousing the sail. If just the clewlines were
used, the sails would belly out in the wind so much that they could not
furled. In heavy winds, they would probably luff violently. The
from the foot of the sails through bull's-еуеs in the sails,
which allow the line to gather the sail up to the yard in several small
The lizards at the head of the sails are fair-leads for the buntlines.
are used on the courses because their leeches are so long that
they are difficult to handle when dousing. The lines lead from the
middle of the
leeches up to the yard.
are used only on the courses. Unlike the upper sails, the courses
are not set onto a lower yard. Thus, it is impossible to control the
foot of the
sail by a single line, for when braced sharp, the lead of the weather
excessively long. Tacks, then, serve the same function as sheets but
forward whereas the sheets lead aft. In setting the courses, the tacks
sheets are balanced so as to hold the foot of the sail directly under
Мир has six staysails, named after the part of the mast
supported by the stay on which they are bent, and five headsails. Like
square sails, all are made of dacron. The leading edge of the sail is
Metal hanks are used to bend the luff to its stay. The bottom edge is
as in a square sail, while the aft edge is the leech. The top point of
to which the halyard is bent, is the head; the lower point, at the
the foot and the luff, to which the tack pendant is attached, is the
the remaining point at the junction of the foot and the leech, to which
sheet is attached, is the clew. Along the edge of the sail, as with
is a tabling of dacron.
lines control the headsails and staysails. A fourth, the tack pendant,
the tack to the mast on the staysails and to the bowsprit on the
is used to hold the sail at the proper distance up the stay. This
permanently attached and is not adjustable.
are bent to the heads of the sails and are used for setting them
by hauling the luffs up the stay.
as on square sails, are attached to the sails and are used for
trimming them. The headsails and staysails have two sheets each, one
side, and thus can be shifted without dousing.
sheets themselves consist of two parts. A wire-rope sheet pendant is
shackled to the clew of the sail A sheet tackle, whose size depends on
of the sail, is shackled to an eye on deck and to the pendant. In
sheets the two shackles are unshackled, and the tackle is carried to
opposite rail. The pendant is hauled up and over any lower stays by a
stationed in the top. It is then reshackled into the tackle.
as the name implies, are used for dousing the sails. They lead
from the head of the sails down to the clew. This arrangement allows
control of the sail in dousing. Hauling on the downhaul will pull the
the sail up to the head, causing it to spill its wind and lessen its
and will pull the sail bodily down the stay.
remaining sail, the spanker, although unique, is rigged in a manner
the squaresails. The spanker's parts bear the same names as those of
sail. The upper aft corner of the spanker is known as the peak, the
forward corner as the throat, and the lower forward corner at the foot
tack. The running rigging for the spanker consists of the following:
topping lift is used to top (lift) the spanker boom high enough for the
set properly. When the sail is not set, the boom is lowered into a
snugged down to keep it from slatting about.
are analogous to the sheets of the square sails and are used to haul
out to the end of the boom (foot out-haul) and gaff (peak outhaul).
are analogous to the clewlines of the square sails and are opposed to
outhauls. They are used to haul the head and foot of the sail back to
brails are analogous to the buntlines on the square sails and are used
control the body of the spanker when dousing. Since the spanker can be
either tack, the brails are rigged on both sides of the sail.
sheet is a three-fold purchase that runs from an eye on the fantail to
of the boom. It is used to trim the spanker.
preventer is a three-fold purchase used to oppose the sheet. As the
from midship on the fantail, it cannot control the swing of the boom if
gets caught aback and the boom starts to swing to weather. The
momentum developed by more than a ton of gear swinging out of control
easily tear the sail or even rip the boom from the mast. The preventer
boom from swinging and thus prevents uncontrolled jibes.
vangs are used to control the gaff. In general, they are used only
when the sail is not set and prevent the gaff from slatting about. When
spanker is set, the movement of the gaff is controlled by the spanker
which it is connected through the leech of the sail. In such cases the
used only for trimming.
lines discussed so far are used primarily for setting and dousing the
remaining type of running rigging is used primarily for trimming the
sails and their yards.
are used to adjust the fore and aft trim of the yards. At the foremast
mainmast, the lower three braces lead directly to the yardarms from the
via bumpkins on the side of the ship. The upper two braces lead up the
(of the mast) aft of the mast, on which the yards they control are
the yardarms. This arrangement results in a more horizontal lead and
yards easier to control. All braces are paired. Whenever one brace is
its equivalent on the opposite side of the ship must be eased.
braces of the mizzen mast lead all to the main mast, then along the
mast down on
deck and through blocks before being belayed on the pinrail behind the
after the handbook of the
converted for the MIR in Summer 2000 by Nicole Graf and
Leonid Il'yinsky (MIR's sail