The spanker is the fore-and-aft sail at the lower right.

On a square rigged ship, the spanker is a gaff-rigged fore-and-aft sail set from, and aft of, the aftmost mast.[1][2][3] Spankers are also called driver, jigger, and a pusher sail.[4]

On a schooner of four or more masts, the spanker is the sail on the mast nearest the stern.[5]

The spanker is a small sail, but as it is so far aft of the balance point of the hull, it has strong leverage. When sheeted in, the spanker is important in driving the boat to a new tack.[4]


  1. ^ Wilson, Charles (1843). The art of sail-making. London: Dennett.
  2. ^ Crothers, William L. (2014-07-09). The Masting of American Merchant Sail in the 1850s: An Illustrated Study. McFarland. ISBN 9780786493999.
  3. ^ Wood, Max (2004). Sailing Tall: Around the World on the Square Rigged Passat (1946-1948). Seafarer Books. ISBN 9780954275020.
  4. ^ a b Toss, Brion (August 31, 2016). "Harvesting the wind".
  5. ^ "spanker (noun)".