Different types of sailing vessels have different arrangements of sails, giving each one different advantages and disadvantages in ship handling. The most basic distinction to be made is whether the sails on a given mast are square-rigged (hung more or less perpendicular to the length of the hull) or fore-and-aft (hung parallel to the length of the hull). Generally speaking, square-rigged sails allow faster speed when sailing downwind, while fore-and-aft sails allow better sailing into the wind and are a little easier to adjust to changing conditions (whether the wind changes direction often or the ship is changing its orientation with regard to a wind blowing steadily from the same direction).
There's only so much that can be done with one mast, so this particular post will be pretty short. As I've mentioned before, my personal inclination is to use vessels from more modern periods in my games, sort of anachronistically. But, rather than just limiting this series of occasional posts, I'm going to open it up to earlier times periods as well. Therefore, the vessels I will talk about today will be (in rough chronological order) cogs, caravels, sloops, cutters, and luggers.
|By I, VollwertBIT, CC BY-SA 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=87406684|
|By Retábulo de Santa Auta - Museu de Arte Antiga, Lisbon, Portugal, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=23280190|
This caravel has two masts, but you get the idea.
|By Kevin Murray - self-made SVG, based on w:en:File:Sloop_Example_Other.jpg by Kevin Murray, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2655573|
|By Casito at the English-language Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2543178|
Together they stood on the jetty and watched the slow-moving vessel tacking towards her anchorage. She was some seventy feet in length, with a massive beam of over twenty. Single-masted, and with a rounded, blunt bow, she looked cumbersome and heavy, but Bolitho knew from what he had seen elsewhere that properly handled cutters could use their great sail area to tack within five points of the wind and in most weathers. She carried a vast, loose-footed mainsail, and also a squared topsail. A jib and fore completed her display of canvas, although Bolitho knew she could set more, even studding sails if required.
Midshipman Bolitho and the Avenger, Chapter 2, Alexander Kent
|By KDS444 - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=33382230|
|By Casito at the English-language Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2543139|
|By Suzanne Maltais - Own work, CC BY-SA 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1393065|
Right, anyway, I need to hammer out in-game distinctions for some of these concepts. Pointing them out and listing them will help to systematize it all, instead of just letting random possible ideas bouncing around my skull until the end of time. Maybe next time I'll have rules worked out, or maybe I'll just list some two-masted vessel types. Either way will be progress, I suppose.
Things to work out: Square-rig sailing speed downwind, fore-and-aft points of sail into the wind, shallower/deeper drafts, gaff rigs, catboats/under-sailed rigs, "extra" sails/stud sails, lugsails