A stay is a line (rope) attached to the upper end of a section of mast and to a point on the deck of the ship either forward or aft. The forestay is attached to a point forward and the backstay is attached aft. The stays and shrouds provide support for the mast to keep it from falling due to action of the ship and the forces of the wind. Sometimes a sail can be rigged on the forestay to add to the propulsion force and to balance wind forces for efficient sailing.

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