What Is the Rigging? Definition, Meaning and Concept

Rigging is a combination of elements on a ship or sailboat that, when combined, prepare to push the ship forward using wind power. The four main elements of the rig are the rope, masts, sails and masts. The word may be of English origin, from the word wringan, meaning 'to dress', or from the Danish rigging, 'to equip'. The first use of tackle as a noun dates from 1822, but it was probably used much earlier.

The platform apparatus is attached to the hull of a ship. The hull is the main frame that sits on the water. The shape and position of the rig are exposed and changed to maximize wind power. If there is no wind to catch then the rig becomes useless and other means of propulsion such as motors and oars are needed.

Ships and sailboats vary in size and complexity. The first ships, like those that plied the Nile in Egypt and the Viking ship, were simple affairs. They often have a single mast and sail. Over time these developed into two- and three-masted ships with multiple sails per mast and complicated rigs designed to maximize wind power.

The masts are the most important element of the platform. They provide the skeleton, and without them the rigging and sails would just be a mess of cloth and rope. Masts are tall, vertical posts set into the hull of the ship. Traditional masts were made of wood, but modern masts can be made of aluminum, carbon fiber, or composite materials.

The horizontal poles are called stringers. They are attached to the masts, and sails are hung from them. The number of masts depends on the number of masts as well as the number of sails that can be hung from one mast. Simple boats will have one mast, one mast, and one sail, but others may have four or five sails on any one mast.

Sails are the lungs of a ship. They catch the wind and propel the ship forward. Sails are used in two types of rigs: square rigs and fore and aft rigs. The square deck uses square or rectangular sails hung on stringers at a right angle. Boats and yachts prefer to use bow and stern platforms on which sails are mounted parallel to the keel.

Rigging, one of the key elements in rigging, refers to the ropes used to join masts, masts, and sails. The number of ropes used depends on the complexity of the boat. A square rigged boat will require at least nine ropes per sail, while a bow and stern rigged boat will require about three per sail.