|This article is about one of the ship types. You may be looking for the other ship type called "Brig".|
A brigantine was a type of ship with two masts, only the forward of which is square rigged. Originally the brigantine was a small ship carrying both oars and sails. It was a favorite of Mediterranean pirates and its name comes from the Italian word brigantino, meaning brigand, and applied by extension to his ship. By the 17th century the term meant a two-masted ship. In the late 17th century, the British Royal Navy used the term brigantine to refer to small two-masted vessels designed to be rowed as well as sailed, rigged with square rigs on the front mast and fore-and-aft rigging on the mainmast.
By the first half of the 18th century the word had evolved to refer not to a ship type name, but rather to a particular type of rigging: square rigged on the foremast and fore-and-aft rigged on the mainmast.
The foremast of a brigantine is square rigged, made to catch wind coming directly from behind. The foremast also runs jib and staysails to catch the wind when it is coming from the sides. The mainmast is fore-and-aft rigged, carrying a gaff sail or lateen sail to catch wind coming from the sides and for better maneuverability.