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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.]
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
trysail(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
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014
try•sail(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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