On a sailing vessel, a forestay, sometimes just called a stay, is a piece of standing rigging which keeps a mast from falling backwards. It is attached either at the very top of the mast, or in fractional rigs between about 1/8 and 1/4 from the top of the mast. The other end of the forestay is attached to the bow of the boat.
Often a sail is attached to the forestay. This sail may be a jib or a genoa. In a cutter rig, the jib or jibs are flown from stays in front of the forestay, perhaps going from the masthead to a bowsprit. The sail on the forestay is then referred to as the staysail or stays'l.
A forestay might be made from stainless steel wire on a modern yacht, solid stainless steel rod, carbon rod, or ultra high molecular weight polyethylene (such as Spectra or Dyneema) on a high-performance racing boat, and galvanised wire or natural fibers on an older cutter or square-rigged ship.
- Richard O. Claus; William B. Spillman; U.S. Air Force Wright Laboratory (2000). Smart Structures and Materials: Sensory phenomena and measurement instrumentation for smart structures and materials. Intelligent Materials Forum (Mitō Kagaku Gijutsu Kyōkai): SPIE.
- Bo Streiffert; Dag Pike; Loris Goring (September 1994). Modern Boat Maintenance: The Complete Fiberglass Boat Manual. Sheridan House. pp. 80–. ISBN 978-0-924486-71-5.
- Jeremy Evans (March 2009). The Sailing Bible: The Complete Guide for All Sailors from Novice to Experienced Skipper. A&C Black. pp. 185–. ISBN 978-1-4081-0249-7.
- Bob Bond (1992). The Handbook of Sailing. Knopf. pp. 51–. ISBN 978-0-679-74063-6.
- Roger Barnes (2 January 2014). The Dinghy Cruising Companion: Tales and Advice from Sailing a Small Open Boat. A&C Black. pp. 45–. ISBN 978-1-4081-8027-3.
- The dictionary definition of forestay at Wiktionary