Wishbone rig

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Example of wishbone ketch on S/Y Norda. Note that the gaff is fixed on the first mast and that it has one leg on both sides of the sail.

A wishbone rig is a type of rigging on sailboats. This rigging is most popular on heavy two-masted vessels. On a ketch it is called wishbone ketch and is considered a subtype of ketch rigging.


A wishbone ketch rigged vessel is a vessel that is rigged as a ketch where a permanent splitting gaff is mounted between two masts. Contrary to the gaff rig (where the gaff is hoisted together with the sail) the gaff stays in the mast. The gaff is typically fixed on the first mast (the one closer to the front) and fixed via a line to the aftmost mast. These lines allow the sail to be trimmed to suit the wind.

Advantages and Disadvantages[edit]


  • Easier to hoist the sail than with a gaff rig
  • Offers a large sail area (advantageous in light winds) - the entire area between the masts can be covered


  • Potential dangerous situation in case of unplanned jibe, therefore difficult to use in broad reach (see points of sail)
  • Puts significant strain on the top of the aft most mast
  • Additional weight high in the mast (although this rig is generally used only on heavy boats)

Also Known As[edit]

Va Marie (used in Poland)

fishbone ketch (seldom and possible a variation to wishbone ketch)

Spreizgaffelsegel (German)


The wishbone (furcula) is a bone with a V or Y shape, similar to the gaff in the wishbone rig.

Examples on actual sailing ships[edit]


See also[edit]