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.

mizzen mast, mainmast and foremast
Grand Turk
Mast on a tall ship: (1) mainmast, (2) topmast, (3) topgallent mast, (4-6) ratlines

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.

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