forestay

[fawr-stey, fohr-]
noun
1.
a stay leading aft and upward from the stem or knightheads of a vessel to the head of the fore lower mast; the lowermost stay of a foremast.
2.
a stay leading aft and upwards toward the mainmast of a sloop, knockabout, cutter, ketch, yawl, or dandy.

Origin:
1325–75; Middle English forstay. See fore-, stay3

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World English Dictionary
forestay (ˈfɔːˌsteɪ)
 
n
nautical an adjustable stay leading from the truck of the foremast to the deck, stem, or bowsprit, for controlling the motion or bending of the mast

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Example sentences
The foremast is set up with a forestay and two shrouds.
The jib is carried on the forestay, clubbed along its foot, and led out on the bowsprit.
She doesn't know the main sheet from the forestay, and what's more doesn't want to know.
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