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ketch, fore-and-aft-rigged sailing vessel with a mainmast forward carrying a mainsail and jibs. It has a mizzenmast aft, stepped forward of the rudder post. In the United States, ketch-rigged vessels are widely used today as yachts. The term was formerly applied to a two-masted square-rigged vessel with the mainmast stepped amidship. Widely employed in offshore fishing by American colonists until about 1700, the ketch was also used until the mid-19th cent. as a warship in European navies.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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