We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What Is a Forestay?

By Paul Scott
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGeek is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGeek, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

A forestay is part of the standing rigging on a sailing vessel and runs from the top portion of the mast to the bow or front of the vessel. The stay may be a rope of steel or fiber construction or a solid rod of stainless steel or carbon composite. Smaller craft will generally have only one forestay while larger ships with stepped masts feature one for each mast section. The forestay serves a dual purpose in that it prevents the mast from leaning backward and may also support a sail in certain rigs. Sails attached to the stay are commonly jib or genoa sails.

The foremast on sailing vessels is supported by a piece of standing rigging known as a forestay. The term “standing rigging” means that it generally remains in one position and is not adjusted while underway. It is typically a galvanized or stainless steel rope, a fiber rope, or a solid carbon fiber or stainless steel rod. The stay is attached to the bow or front peak of the vessel and runs up to the top of the mast. In fractional rigs, the stay is attached a short way down from the mast top, thereby allowing for the use of a smaller jib.

In vessels with one piece masts, only one forestay is used. Larger ships with stepped, multisection masts have one per mast section. Each is named after the particular mast section and include fore topmast, fore topgallant, and fore royal stays. Sets of stays which support the mast towards the sides or gunwales of the vessel are known as shrouds. The rear or mizzen mast of a multimast vessel has a stay that runs astern and is known as a backstay.

Apart from its function as a mast support, the forestay is often rigged with a jib or genoa sail. Both are triangular sails and, depending on the particular rig, may be set singularly or in sets. Where two such sails are set, the foremost sail will be called the jib and is attached to a line running in front of the forestay and secured to a bowsprit. The rear sail is rigged directly to the forestay and called the staysail. This is commonly known as a cutter rig. Large, stepped mast vessels may feature up to four forward sails, the staysail, and three jibs, one on each of the mast section forestays.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Related Articles

Discussion Comments
WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.