Definition of bobstay in US English:



  • A rope used to hold down the bowsprit of a ship against the upward pull of the forestay.

    • ‘We designed a new attachment point for the bobstay at the stem and incorporated an additional hole for a heavy shackle.’
    • ‘It is so strong that a mooring pennant can be shackled through a special fitting so the entire boat can swing off the bobstay fitting, without any concern about chafing.’
    • ‘The man, swimming for dear life in the water, grabbed the bobstays as the vessel pitched downward and climbed on deck.’
    • ‘The bowsprit is set up with double chain bobstays and double chain bowsprit shrouds.’
    • ‘I'm standing on the bobstay trying to get a decent picture of the bow, and not doing a very good job.’
    • ‘The bobstay, forestay and one running backstay were made up by my local chandler from the drawings below.’
    • ‘A replacement bobstay is available of Sailbryte wire with new fittings swaged on both ends.’
    • ‘I hung over the side of the pulpit and saw that the bobstay chain was shackled to the end cap on the bowsprit, so I hunted up a wrench and another shackle.’
    • ‘I secured the bobstay to the rode and cut the snubber.’
    • ‘Mr. Burtsall alone was preserved, as in falling he caught hold of one of the bobstays, and reached the bowsprit.’
    • ‘As with the bobstay chains were used for the bowsprit shrouds from about 1850, which were set up with hearts or rigging screws.’
    • ‘Below is a close-up of the stem fitting for the bobstay on this Vagabond pictured above.’
    • ‘Straps and rings for bobstay plates are extant in the lower stempost, with mortises into the wood to admit the bobstay chains.’
    • ‘For the bobstays there should be ten or twelve links to the inch, and for the others considerably more.’
    • ‘The longitudinal pressure is counteracted by the bobstays, stays and backstays.’
    • ‘Brace the halyards and strap down the bobstays!’
    • ‘Rising and falling with the sea, the man watched his opportunity and grabbed the bobstays.’
    • ‘Manufacturers produced copper or bronze hull fittings, solid bronze bars for the bobstays on the bowsprit, phosphor-bronze wire for the headstays, and bronze blocks for the running gear.’
    • ‘Gordon Bok, an instrument maker and boat builder from Camden, carved a loose rendering of a man climbing in the bobstays of his sailboat.’
    • ‘One aspect of fitting a bobstay is that instead of the rear end of the bowsprit pressing down into its mounting on the mast step, it is now pushed backwards towards the mast.’


Mid 18th century: probably from bob + stay.