pole of wood, metal or lightweight materials used in the rigging of a sailing vessel to carry or support its sail
The mast of a sailing ship is a tall vertical pole which supports the sails. Larger ships have several masts, with the size depending on the style of ship.
Until the 20th century, a ship's masts would be wooden spars, originally constructed from a single straight tree trunk. As ship sizes increased, taller masts were constructed by lashing up to three spars together.
- http://www.bluewatersailing.com/shipclass.php Archived 2010-09-23 at the Wayback Machine
- http://www.hms-trincomalee.co.uk/virtual/rigging/sails.htm Archived 2006-04-05 at the Wayback Machine
- Glossary of Nautical terms, sailing and boat parts