Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A small fore-and-aft sail hoisted abaft the foremast and mainmast in a storm to keep a ship's bow to the wind.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A small, strong 3-sided sail sometimes set in place of the mainsail in heavy weather.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A fore-and-aft sail, bent to a gaff, and hoisted on a lower mast or on a small mast, called the trysail mast, close abaft a lower mast; -- used chiefly as a storm sail. Called also spencer.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A fore-and-aft sail set with a gaff and sometimes with a boom on the foremast and mainmast of ships, or on a small mast called a trysail-mast. See mast.

Etymologies

From obsolete try, a lying to, heaving to.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

Examples

  • The boat does not have a storm trysail, which is a small sail used in high winds to maintain control and keep the bow to the wind.

    OVERBOARD !

  • "Better rig that storm-trysail on the main, and a storm-jib," Grief said to the mate.

    A LITTLE ACCOUNTWITH SWITHIN HALL

  • I pulled two of the tripping-lines, and two of the contraptions exploded into light and noise and at the same time ran automatically down the jigger-trysail-stays, and automatically fetched up at the ends of their lines.

    CHAPTER XLVII

  • Of course each morning before daylight we shall lower all this apparatus to the deck, so that the men for'ard will not guess what we have up our sleeve, or, rather, what we have up on the trysail-stays.

    CHAPTER XLIV

  • Weber was taking down a trysail when an enormous wave blindsided the skipper, sending him sprawling across the deck, then over the boom, one foot becoming entangled in the lazyjacks.

    OVERBOARD !

  • I judged her to be of about twenty tons; she had a trysail set and heavily reefed down.

    Movie Night

  • After a very hard day's combat using only the storm jib and trysail, I finally hove to for a long night of furious wind.

    Aweigh

  • To no purpose did Curtis do everything in his power to bring the ship ahull; every effort was vain; the “Chancellor” could not bear her trysail, so there was nothing to be done but to let her go with the wind, and drift further and further from the land for which we are longing so eagerly.

    The Survivors of the Chancellor

  • We took in the foresail, mainsail, and inner jib, and had now only the topsail and a storm-trysail left.

    The South Pole; an account of the Norwegian antarctic expedition in the 'Fram', 1910 to 1912

  • The men sprang aloft immediately and furled the royals and top-gallant - sails; while others below took in the flying jib and hauled up the mainsail and trysail -- the hands wondering all the time what on earth the skipper was at, taking in all the spread of the vessel's canvas, when there wasn't a breath of air blowing!

    Fritz and Eric The Brother Crusoes

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