Flickr Commons Alan Villiers
A large and strong spar (pole), extending forward from the vessel's prow. It provides an anchor point for the forestays, and forward support for the foremast. When not in use, the headsails are stowed by tying them onto the bowsprit. Handling the sails on the bowsprit is dangerous work, especially on rough seas, which led to the bowsprit's nickname, "widowmaker."