Ropes leading from the leech on both sides of a loose-footed sail on a fore-and-aft rig and through leading blocks secured on the mast hoops of the sail to deck level. Their use was to gather in the sail close to the mast so that it was temporarily furled when coming up to a mooring or as required. The old-fashioned whaler rig in which the mainsail was loose footed was always fitted with brails. To brail in, to haul on the brails and bring the leech of the sail up to the mast.
Subjects: Maritime History — Warfare and Defence.