Shrouds

Shrouds are parts of the standing rigging on a boat and hold the mast upright, preventing it from moving to either side. The shrouds are swept backwards a little, too, and thus prevent the mast from moving forward as well.

This photograph shows Bit-by-Bit from the starboard side, from forward. You can clearly see the mast, the boom wrapped in the blue mainsail cover, the forestay coming down from the mast to the bow-beam, and the two shrouds coming down to the chain-plates on the outside edge of each hull. The plates are large pieces of heavy metal which are bolted to well-supported parts of the hull.
Bow 2 Mast Top port side

As you glance upwards from the deck, along the mast towards its head, you can see the spreader, the three pieces of metal which spread the rigging outwards, adding tension and force to kep the mast upright. Sitting on the spreader in the 2nd photo is the radar dome. If you look at the first photo, at the spreader and its rigging, you can see that the mast is held stiffly in the precise upright position, unable to bend or flex much.

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