A short perpendicular spar under the cap of the bowsprit of a sailing vessel used for holding down or guying the jib-boom by means of martingales. It was a necessary spar to support the rigging needed to counteract the upward pull on the jib-boom of the topgallant mast's fore-topgallant stay. The name, of course, comes from the position of the spar, pointing vertically downwards towards the sea just beyond the bows of the vessel; that is, it would strike a dolphin were one to leap out of the water just beneath it. For illus.
Subjects: Maritime History.