Definition of bobstay in US English:



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

    • ‘Gordon Bok, an instrument maker and boat builder from Camden, carved a loose rendering of a man climbing in the bobstays of his sailboat.’
    • ‘The bobstay, forestay and one running backstay were made up by my local chandler from the drawings below.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘As with the bobstay chains were used for the bowsprit shrouds from about 1850, which were set up with hearts or rigging screws.’
    • ‘Brace the halyards and strap down the bobstays!’
    • ‘For the bobstays there should be ten or twelve links to the inch, and for the others considerably more.’
    • ‘Mr. Burtsall alone was preserved, as in falling he caught hold of one of the bobstays, and reached the bowsprit.’
    • ‘Straps and rings for bobstay plates are extant in the lower stempost, with mortises into the wood to admit the bobstay chains.’
    • ‘A replacement bobstay is available of Sailbryte wire with new fittings swaged on both ends.’
    • ‘The man, swimming for dear life in the water, grabbed the bobstays as the vessel pitched downward and climbed on deck.’
    • ‘I'm standing on the bobstay trying to get a decent picture of the bow, and not doing a very good job.’
    • ‘Below is a close-up of the stem fitting for the bobstay on this Vagabond pictured above.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The bowsprit is set up with double chain bobstays and double chain bowsprit shrouds.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Rising and falling with the sea, the man watched his opportunity and grabbed the bobstays.’
    • ‘The longitudinal pressure is counteracted by the bobstays, stays and backstays.’
    • ‘We designed a new attachment point for the bobstay at the stem and incorporated an additional hole for a heavy shackle.’
    • ‘I secured the bobstay to the rode and cut the snubber.’


Mid 18th century: probably from bob + stay.