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1 – mainsail Edit this on Wikidata 2 – staysail Edit this on Wikidata 3 – Spinnaker Edit this on Wikidata
4 – hull Edit this on Wikidata 5 – keel Edit this on Wikidata 6 – rudder Edit this on Wikidata 7 – skeg Edit this on Wikidata
8 – Spar Edit this on Wikidata 9 – Spreader Edit this on Wikidata 10 – Shroud (sailing) Edit this on Wikidata
11 – sheet Edit this on Wikidata 12 – boom Edit this on Wikidata 14 – Spinnaker pole Edit this on Wikidata
15 – Backstay Edit this on Wikidata 16 – Forestay Edit this on Wikidata 17 – boom vang Edit this on Wikidata

Stays are ropes, wires, or rods on sailing vessels that run fore-and-aft along the centerline from the masts to the hull, deck, bowsprit, or to other masts which serve to stabilize the masts.[1]

A stay is part of the standing rigging and is used to support the weight of a mast.

It is a large strong rope extending from the upper end of each mast and running down towards the deck of the vessel in a midships fore and aft direction.

The shrouds serve a similar function but extend on each side of the mast and provide support in the athwartships direction. The object of both is to prevent the masts from falling down but the stays also prevent springing, when the ship is pitching deep.

Thus stays are fore and aft. Those led aft towards the vessel's stern are backstays while those that lead forward towards the bow are forestays.

To miss stays is an unsuccessful attempt to tack.

Types of staysEdit

forestay or headstay
reaches from the foremast-head towards the bowsprit end
mainstay
extends to the ship's stem. The mizzenstay stretches to a collar on the main-mast, immediately above the quarter-deck.
fore-topmast stay
goes to the end of the bowsprit, a little beyond the forestay, on which the fore-topmast staysail runs on hanks.
main-topmast stay
attaches to the hounds of the foremast, or comes on deck.
mizzen-topmast stay
goes to the hounds of the main-mast.
top-gallant, royal, or any other masts
have each a stay, named after their respective masts
springstay
is a kind of substitute nearly parallel to the principal stay, and intended to help the principal stay to support its mast
triatic stay
is a stay that runs between masts. On a ketch it runs between the main mast and the head of the mizzen mast and is used to stop the upper section of the mizzen mast being pulled backwards. On a steamer, an iron bar between the two knees secures the paddle-beams. (See funnel stays).

To stay. To tack, to bring the ship's head up to the wind for going about; hence to miss stays, is to fail in the attempt to go about. In stays, or hove in stays, is the situation of a vessel when she is staying, or in the act of going about. A vessel in bad trim, or lubberly handled, is sure to be slack in stays, and refuses stays, when she has to wear.[2]

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