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For other uses, see Brig (disambiguation)

The HMS Interceptor, the fastest brig in the Caribbean.

"But of course. A nice little Dutch brig we took a day's sail east off the Northwest Providence Channel.
Jack Sparrow and Esmeralda[src]

A brig was a sailing vessel with two square-rigged masts, one fore, one main; although some large brigs had three masts, like the Nemesis. During the Age of Sail, brigs were seen as fast and maneuverable and were used as both naval warships and merchant vessels. Their use dated back to before the 1600s, but were especially popular in the 18th century.

They are not to be confused with a brigantine, which were not square-rigged.


The Nemesis, the toughest brig to ever sail in the Caribbean

During the Age of Sail, brigs were seen as fast and maneuverable and were used as both naval warships and merchant ships. Their use dated back to before the 1600s.

Brigs were two masted, square-rigged vessels. They were small, generally carrying no more than sixteen guns and 120 men. In order to sail closer to the wind, the mainmast carried a fore-and-aft sail (lateen rigged in the seventeenth century and gaff-rigged by the eighteenth) and several staysails. Brig sails were named after the masts to which they were attached: the mainsail; above that the maintopsail; above that the main topgallant sail; and occasionally a very small sail, called the royal, above that.

The word "brig" had been used in the past as an abbreviation of brigantine (which was the name for a principally fore-and-aft two-masted rig with a square rigged foremast) distigushing the ship's rig from the 'snow' (a square rigged, two-masted rig with a small trysail mast on the main). The brig actually developed as a variant of the brigantine. By re-rigging a brigantine with two square sails instead of one it gained greater sailing power.


Two masted brigs like HMS Interceptor were generally square rigged, carrying jib sails hanging from the bowsprit, a square mainsail, topsail, and topgallant, also carrying optional royals. The mainsail has one of two sail plans; either a gaff-rigged mainsail, topsail, and topgallant (like Interceptor), or a square rigged mainsail, gaff rigged spanker sail, topsail, and topgallant. Optional staysails can be put between the two masts.

Notable brigs[]

The two pirate brigs.

Behind the scenes[]



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