Yes Barnakiel, I am thinking along those lines, but you, and possibly Steady, and I would have a mighty job convincing some that "modern" is not necessarily better, or even the equal of, "tried and true" :-)
We agree, I'm sure, that in a ship the lowest squares are, from for to aft, forecourse (fok), course (storsejl) and cro'jack (bergine). Next ones up are (in modern ships) lower foretopsl (underformærssejl), lower topsl (storeundermærssejl) and lower mizzentopsl (underkrydsmærssejl). Next, going up, are upper foretopsl (overformærssejl), upper topsl (storeoverformærssejl) and upper mizzentopsl (overkrydsmærssejl). I give you the Danish only to underscore how fortunate we are to be speaking English
The yards for the courses and the cro'jack were slung on fixed cranes just under the tops and the yards for the lower topsls on cranes just under the hounds. In consequence these yards could not move up and down. The yards for the upper topsls, however, were on halyards and were held to the topmasts by parrels so that to strike the upper topsls the yards were bought down to lie on top of the yards for the lowers.
Some ships had triangular storm courses and cro'jacks. The forecourses were always square. The advantage of the triangular sails
was not considered worth the hassle of having to actually change canvas
rather than reef. I had played with the thought of a triangular "downwind" sail for TrentePieds
, but I also came to the conclusion that it wouldn't be worthwhile, for the loss of area would negate the very advantages I'm after by thinking of a square sail at all.
Generally the first square sails to come in were those above the upper topsls, working from the top down, then the courses, so that in a "topsl breeze" only the lower topsls were set. These then came in from aft to fore till the ship wore only the foretopsl. The fore and aft sails were a chapter of their own.
All nifty stuff to remember, but given that my proposed sail will occupy a position high enuff to match that of a conventinal topsl, maybe that's the label I'll go with, unless I embrace Markus' idea just to set tongues wagging in the marinas