tripping line

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A small rope made fast to the yardarm of a square-rigged ship's topgallant yard when the lifts and braces were removed before the yard was struck down on deck. Its purpose was to hold one end of the yard so that it could be canted to the perpendicular before being lowered. Similarly, a tripping line was employed when lowering a topmast, being used to hoist the mast sufficiently to take its weight off the fid to allow it to be withdrawn before lowering.

Subjects: Maritime History.

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