from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. Nautical A rope or chain used to steady the bowsprit of a ship.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. A strong rope or chain rigging running from the end of the bowsprit to the ship's stem or cutwater
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- n. A rope or chain to confine the bowsprit of a ship downward to the stem or cutwater; -- usually in the pl.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. Nautical, one of two or three ropes or chains extending from the outer end of the bowsprit to the cut-water. Their function is to hold the bowsprit down in its place, and counteract the upward strain exerted by the headstays.
Sorry, no etymologies found.
The Kanaka caught the bobstay, climbed over the bow, and crawled aft.
I heard the wind sighing in the rigging of my boat, I heard the halyards napping on the mast, and I wondered if the mooring chains were chafing at the bobstay in the running tide.
Our bobstay snapped like sealing-wax, our mainsail rent like ribbon, our foresail flew away, and she would not answer her helm, and we remained in the trough of the waves, which rose awfully high.
The little craft was tossing in the heavy swell, and before she had been in the pack for ten minutes she came down on a cake of ice and broke the bobstay.
When we had wind, we used it to the utmost; but we did not do this without the loss of one or two things; the new jib-sheet broke a couple of times, and one night we carried away the outer bobstay of the jib-boom.
On the forward side of the stem a segment-shaped iron was bolted from the bobstay-bolt to some way under the keel.
A filthy hole I call it; we had to stop a couple of days, as we fouled a buoy coming in and carried away the bobstay; we lay in a dirty little tidal dock, and there was nothing to do on shore. '
He had doubled round the bows of the yacht, and I did the same, ducked under the bowsprit, forgetting the bobstay, and fell violently on my head, with all the wind knocked out of me by a wire rope and block whose strength and bulk was one of the glories of the Dulcibella.
After this, climbing up the bobstay, he regained the deck, and proceeded to dry his hairy frame on an ancient flannel shirt.
Sea, the lookout forward called the attention of the officer of the watch to the fact that a huge shark was jammed in between the bobstay-shackle and the stem.