from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- n. the topsail on a foremast. See sail.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. The square-sail on the foremast next above the course or foresail.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- n. the topsail on a foremast
Sorry, no etymologies found.
The foresail and fore-topsail, emptied of the wind by the manoeuvre, and with no one to bring in the sheet in time, were thundering into ribbons, the heavy boom threshing and splintering from rail to rail.
The fore-topsail would give her the necessary way, but spreading it before she was before the wind would lay her over on her beam ends.
He ran his eyes aloft to make sure that the preparations for goose-einging the fore-topsail were complete, and his gaze lingered for a while longer as he observed the motion of the spars relative to the wild sky.
He soon hailed the deck from the fore-topsail yard, and said he saw a boat broad off on the weather bow, with her sails spread "wing and wing," and steering directly for the brig.
It was near the close of the first watch when the fore-topsail getting loose on the lee yard arm, I went aloft to secure it.
A gale of wind occurred on the coast, and the crew were ordered aloft to reef the fore-topsail.
It was not long before the wind swept across the waves with almost resistless force, when it was found necessary to strip the brig of all canvas, excepting a storm main-staysail and close-reefed fore-topsail; the yards were braced up, the helm lashed a-lee, and the brig was laid to.
The captain's prediction was verified; for the wind continued to increase, accompanied with fine drizzling rain, until about nine o'clock, when orders were given to take another reef in the mainsail, and double reef the fore-topsail.
It increased to the strength of a hurricane towards one o'clock in the morning, when, the fore-topsail and mizzen staysail blowing away, the ship had to content herself with running under bare poles, careering through the water faster than ever.
Captain Miles was just thinking of setting the spanker and bending a new fore-topsail, when, as if it had been all at once shut off from its source, the strong north-western wind in a moment ceased to blow.