World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Top (sailing ship)

Article Id: WHEBN0002219513
Reproduction Date:

Title: Top (sailing ship)  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Lookout, Battle of Winchelsea, Bouvines-class coast defense ship, Quarter gallery, Hawsehole
Collection: Sailing Rigs and Rigging
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Publication
Date:
 

Top (sailing ship)

The foretop of the Prince William. Note the futtock shrouds (white-painted rods angling inwards) and jacob's ladders; extending upwards are the topmast shrouds with their rope ratlines.

The Top on a traditional square rigged ship, is the platform at the upper end of each (lower) mast. This is not the masthead "crow's nest" of the popular imagination – above the mainmast (for example) is the main-topmast, main-topgallant-mast and main-royal-mast, so that the top is actually about 1/4 to 1/3 of the way up the mast as a whole.

Diagram of a mast & shrouds (red), top with futtock shrouds (blue), and topmast and its shrouds (green). Shrouds are represented as translucent panels; in reality they would consist of many individual lines.

The main purpose of the top is to anchor the shrouds of the topmast that extends above it. Shrouds down to the side of the hull would be at too acute an angle from the mast, so struts running out from the mast are added to take the place of the hull for a smaller copy (the topmast) of the lower mast and its rigging. Placing a few timbers between these struts produces a useful platform, the top. The futtock shrouds carry the load of the upper shrouds into the mast below.

At the upper end of the topmast and topgallant, there is a similar situation regarding the next mast up (topgallant and royal respectively). At these points a smaller top might be constructed, but it is more usual simply to leave the shroud-bearing struts open, in which case they are known as crosstrees.

Access for sailors to the top may be by a Jacob's ladder, lubber's hole, or the futtock shrouds.

Fighting top

A fighting top was an enlarged top with small guns, designed to fire down at the deck of enemy ships. They could also be manned by snipers armed with muskets or rifles; Horatio Nelson was killed at the Battle of Trafalgar by a sniper firing from a fighting top of the Redoutable.

External links

  • Media related to at Wikimedia Commons
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and USA.gov, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for USA.gov and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
 
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
 
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.
 


Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.