Names Of Sails On A Sailboat

Names Of Sails on a Sailboat: What Are The Most Common Types Of Sails?

In this article, you are going to see more about the world of sailing.

There are different types of sails used in  specific boats.

Check out some of the names of sails listed below to find out the most common sails names

Common Types of Sails


This is the largest piece of the mast in a sailing vessel.

However, on a square vessel, it is the lowest on the main-mast.

The mast is responsible for the navigation of the boats from one end to the next.

Perhaps, it is safe to say that the speed of the bat will be determined by this piece of sail.

Mainsail Sailboat Sail Name
Main sail


This type of sail is always triangular although, some of them always have four corners.

The triangular staysails that are used at the foremost position on the boat are called jibs.

In boats, these rigs help in tacking which will further help in preventing the lumbering up of the windward side.


Genoa is the largest jib that overlaps the mainsail.

It extends past the mast when you have a different view from the side.

The jib was originally given the name overlapping jib, which further changed to what you know it for today.

However, it is only fair to know in what types of boats the jib is well fitted to work.

You can find them in boats such as yawls and ketches.

Genoa Sail Overlaps The Mainsail And The Mast
Genoa sail, Photo by D Ramey Logan


Spinnaker is a different type of sail due to the functions it performs on the movement of the boat.

It is designed for sailing off the wind from reaching the downwind.

As the boat is in motion, the spinnaker is filled up with wind creating a balloon like shape.

It has a construction that is purely made out of lightweight fabric like the nylon.

Spinnaker Sail Name
Spinnaker sail


The Gennaker has recently been developed in the 90’s which a design showing that it is majorly, a crossover between Genoa and the spinnaker. Gennaker is rigged as the spinnaker but it’s tack is fastened to the hull.

The best thing about it is that it can obtain the optimum generation of lift within a short period of time.

Gennaker Sail
Gennaker sail

Drifter / Reacher Sail

The drifter is a full draft lightweight made of nylon.

Drifters are designed with the ultimate purpose of cruising the sailors.

A drifter can make the work of a spinner much easier when cruising a spinmaker.

The best thing about drifters is that they come in different choices of colours and so you have the choice to mix and match.


The most common types of sails are as follows:

  • Mainsail
  • Staysail
  • Genoa
  • Spinnaker
  • Gennaker
  • Drifter / Reacher

So, these are what you’ll find most commonly on boats.


All product names, logos, and brands are property of their respective owners. All company, product and service names used in this website are for identification purposes only. Use of these names, logos, and brands does not imply endorsement.

It is our policy to make every effort to respect the copyrights of outside parties. If you believe that your copyright has been misused, please provide us with a message stating your position and we will endeavor to correct any misuse immediately.

Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, we may receive an affiliate commission, at no extra cost to you. This helps us keep this website alive. Learn more here.

igor desperatesailors

Hi, I’m Igor, Skipper of S/Y "The Hooker". A decade ago, I conquered my childhood dream: to be a sailing skipper, own a sailing yacht. Yes, it knocked dullness out of my urban life — Read more →

Articles: 78

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Amazon Disclosure is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases. Amazon and the Amazon logo are trademarks of, Inc., or its affiliates.

Please refer to our Privacy & Affiliate policy for more details.