A spar from which a square sail is hung. A long spar, tapered at the ends, attached at its middle to a mast and running athwartships at right angles to the mast; used to support the top of a square sail. The yard can pivot (be braced) around the mast. At rest (braced square) the yard runs athwartships. Each yard takes its name from the section of mast that supports it, and the sails take their names from the yards.