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 (trī′səl, -sāl′)
A small fore-and-aft sail hoisted abaft a mast in a storm to keep a vessel's bow to the wind.

[From obsolete try, a lying to, heaving to.]


(ˈtraɪˌseɪl; nautical ˈtraɪsəl)
(Nautical Terms) a small fore-and-aft sail, triangular or square, set on the mainmast of a sailing vessel in foul weather to help keep her head to the wind. Also called: storm trysail


(ˈtraɪˌseɪl; Naut. -səl)

a triangular or quadrilateral sail having its luff hooped or otherwise bent to a mast, used for lying to or keeping a vessel headed into the wind; spencer.
[1760–70; try (in sense “to lie to in heavy weather”)]
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References in classic literature ?
The Nan-Shan was being looted by the storm with a senseless, destructive fury: trysails torn out of the extra gaskets, double-lashed awnings blown away, bridge swept clean, weather-cloths burst, rails twisted, light-screens smashed -- and two of the boats had gone already.
The sailors hoisted the trysails a little way, tightened the sheets, fixed bunts to the sail, and strengthened the tackle and the stop of the lateen yard, set two men to watch at each fall and bade them look out for squalls.