1The principal sail of a ship, especially the lowest sail on the mainmast in a square-rigged vessel.
- Hornblower watched as both ships backed the mainsails, turned the helm hard over, and took up the prescribed position.
- As the galley righted itself, another wave struck from the other side, and the ship heeled over so far its mainsail almost touched the water.
- While the mainsail provides a large portion of power, it also affects the boat's directional control.
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