Definition of headsail in US English:



  • A sail on a ship's foremast or bowsprit.

    • ‘They have changed their racing headsail for a new roller-furling gib, refitting the furling gear that came with the yacht.’
    • ‘Early on, the wind filled to 18 knots and the yachts were forced to reef their mainsails and change headsails under difficult conditions.’
    • ‘Roller-furling headsails should be removed from the foils not only do they create windage but the chance of their unrolling is great.’
    • ‘However, headsails are large and a good furling system and large self-tailing winches are a must.’
    • ‘These lessons proved to be vital, as we had to reef the mainsail (making it smaller) and change headsails later that evening under difficult conditions.’
    • ‘When the breeze picked up to 35 kts we dropped the spinnaker, gybed, set the headsail and started heading back inshore to catch the cold front moving in from the south-west.’
    • ‘For the final time, the crew took the spinnaker down and raised the headsail - without a hitch.’
    • ‘Initially the 35.5 is quite tender and quick to heel, so it is important not to overpower the boat with large headsails.’
    • ‘A larger headsail and cruising spinnaker are nice to have for beam reaching and running in light air but many owners find the mainsail and 120% jib work just fine.’
    • ‘A key to his victory eight years ago was the innovative giant headsail that gave EF Language a significant advantage over the rest of the fleet in the initial stages.’
    • ‘We unfurl the headsail and streak across the World Sailing Speed Record Council's start line 42 seconds after the stroke of midnight.’
    • ‘You have taken your roller furling headsail off, so you know everything works, and, if you have a roller furling main, you have taken it off too.’
    • ‘She is cutter rigged with a large foretriangle to allow plenty of room for both headsails.’