Gaff-topsail

Definitions

  • Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • n Gaff-topsail (Naut) A small triangular sail having its foot extended upon the gaff and its luff upon the topmast.
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n gaff-topsail Nautical, a light triangular or quadrilateral sail set above a gaff (as the gaff extending the head of a cutter's mainsail), and having its foot extended by it. See cut under gaff.
    • n gaff-topsail A kind of sea-catfish, Ælurichthys marinus, abundant on the southern Atlantic and Gulf coasts of the United States: popularly so called from the elevated dorsal fin.
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Usage

In literature:

A moment later I was aloft, casting loose the gaff-topsail.
"Martin Hyde, The Duke's Messenger" by John Masefield
The schooner sailed like a witch, carrying only two gaff-topsails.
"Ned Myers" by James Fenimore Cooper
I got hold of the gaff-topsail yard and run it under his arms, and threw a rope over him, and sung out 'Hold on, Greenleaf!
"Godey's Lady's Book, Vol. 42, January, 1851" by Various
The bow of the West Wind was thus pointed closer into the wind; and the gaff-topsails enabled her to hold her speed after this change.
"A Victorious Union" by Oliver Optic
But this might have been due to the fact that his gaff-end was obscured from our view by the spread of his topsails.
"A Middy in Command" by Harry Collingwood
I wanted to take in the gaff-topsail also, but Bob would not hear of such a thing.
"For Treasure Bound" by Harry Collingwood
In the meantime the crew had come aft to take in the mainsail and gaff-topsail.
"Hurricane Hurry" by W.H.G. Kingston
The mainsail was cast loose, jib and staysail ready, and the gaff topsail would not take many minutes to run up in its place.
"In the King's Name" by George Manville Fenn
Away aloft, one hand, and loose the gaff-topsail!
"The Pirate Slaver" by Harry Collingwood
The main gaff-topsail was next set, and the Josephine was then under full sail.
"Down the Rhine" by Oliver Optic
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