A large spar which projects forward from the stem of a vessel. Its purpose is to extend the head sails, thereby counteracting the effect of the after sails and keeping the sail plan balanced. It is also one of the main supporters of the foremast, which is fastened to it by stays.
The bowsprit, or boltsprit, of a sailing vessel is a pole extending forward from the vessel's prow. It provides an anchor point for the forestay(s), allowing the fore-mast to be stepped further forward on the hull.