mainsail definition

  • noun:
    • the key sail of a vessel.
    • A quadrilateral or triangular sail set from the after the main mainmast on a fore-and-aft rigged vessel.
    • A square sail set from main-yard on a square-rigged vessel.
    • the greatest (or just) sail on a sailing vessel.
    • the key sail in a ship or other vessel.
    • In a square-rigged vessel, the sail bent towards the main-yard; the main course: in a fore-and-aft rigged vessel, the big sail set regarding after area of the mainmast.
    • plural The square sails in the mainmast: they are the training course, or mainsail appropriate, the low and upper topsails, the topgallantsail and royal, and a skysail if the ship is lofty. Men-of-war typically carry single topsails rather than a divided sail.
    • the lowermost sail on the mainmast

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