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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A jib (also spelled jibb) is a triangular staysail set ahead of the foremast of a sailing boat. Its tack is fixed to the bowsprit, to the bow, or to the deck between the bowsprit and the foremost mast. Jibs and spinnakers are the two main types of headsails on a modern boat.

Modern yachts and small craft

A jib, left, compared to a genoa, right. The foretriangle is outlined in red.

On a boat with two staysails the inner sail is called the staysail, and the outer (foremost) is called the jib. This combination of two staysails is called a cutter rig (or a yankee pair) and a boat with one mast rigged with two staysails and a mainsail is called a cutter.

On boats with only one jib, it is common for the clew of the jib to be further aft than the mast, meaning the jib and mainsail overlap. An overlapping jib is called a genoa jib or simply a genoa (see illustration).

On cruising yachts with more than one jib, it is common for the innermost jib to be self-tacking, either by using a boom along the foot of the sail, or by cleating the jib sheet to a track, or both. On other cruising yachts, and nearly all racing sailboats, the jib needs to be worked when tacking. On these yachts, there are two sheets attached to the clew of the jib. As the yacht comes head to wind during a tack, the active sheet is released, and the other sheet (the lazy sheet) on the other side of the boat is pulled in. This sheet becomes the new active sheet until the next tack.

Traditional vessels

The barque Alexander von Humboldt, with four jibs set and a fifth furled on the bowsprit

Schooners typically have up to three jibs. The foremost one sets on the topmast forestay and is generally called the jib topsail, a second on the main forestay is called the jib, and the innermost is called the staysail. Actually, all three sails are both jibs and staysails in the generic sense.

A square-rigged ship typically has four jibs (though vessels with more or fewer exist). From forward to aft, these sails are called:

  • Flying jib
  • Outer jib
  • Inner jib
  • Fore (topmast) staysail

See also



Up to date as of January 15, 2010
(Redirected to jib article)

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary




Etymology 1

A jib, left, compared to a (roughly 150%) genoa jib, right.

Alternative spellings




jib (plural jibs)

  1. (nautical) A triangular staysail set forward of the foremast. In a sloop (see image) the basic jib reaches back roughly to the level of the mast.
  2. (nautical) Usually with a modifier, any of a variety of specialty triangular staysails set forward of the foremast.
  3. The projecting arm of a crane
  4. An object that is used for performing tricks while skiing, snowboarding, skateboarding, inline skating, or biking. These objects are usually found in a terrain park or skate park.
Derived terms

See also

Etymology 2

Of uncertain origin.


to jib

Third person singular

Simple past

Past participle

Present participle

to jib (third-person singular simple present jibs, present participle jibbing, simple past and past participle jibbed)

  1. Of a horse, to stop and refuse to go forward.
  2. (figuratively) To stop doing something, to become reluctant to proceed with an activity.
    • 1992, Hilary Mantel, A Place of Greater Safety, Harper Perennial 2007, pp. 401-2:
      Some of us began to jib when the family began to collect portraits of their new son to decorate their walls [...].


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