Studding sail

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USS Monongahela with a full set of studding sails set
"Salem Harbor" by Fitz Hugh Lane

A studding sail, studsail or stunsail[1] (traditionally pronounced stuns'l) is a sail used to increase the sail area of a square rigged vessel or 1950s racing skiffs in light winds.

Diagram showing how a studding sail attaches to a yardarm

It is an extra sail hoisted alongside a square-rigged sail on an extension of its yardarm. It is named by appending the word studding to the name of the working sail alongside which it is set.[2]

Studding sails have also been used to increase the sail area of a fore-and-aft spanker, again by extending the upper spar. Such a sail extending the leech of a fore-and-aft sail is known as a ringtail.[3] Ringtail sails were used by Flying 18 foot skiffs in Sydney Harbour in the 1950s to enlarge the downwind sailing capacity in light airs. Sails that extend below the boom to deck level or lower are known as watersails.


  1. ^ Lubbock, Basil (1921). The Colonial Clippers, p.198. Nautical Press, Glasgow, J. Brown & Son (Glasgow) Ltd
  2. ^ King, Dean (2000). A Sea of Words (3 ed.). Henry Holt. p. 424. ISBN 978-0-8050-6615-9. 
  3. ^ Kipping, Robert (1904). Sails & Sailmaking. Lockwood. pp. 163–164. 


  • Harland, John (1984). Seamanship in the age of sail. Conway Maritime Press. ISBN 0-85177-179-3.