Often a sail is attached to the forestay. This sail may be a jib or a genoa. In a cutter rig, the jib or jibs are flown from stays in front of the forestay, perhaps going from the masthead to a bowsprit. The sail on the forestay is then referred to as the staysail or stays'l.
A forestay might be made from stainless steel wire on a modern yacht, solid stainless steel rod, carbon rod, or Ultra High Molecular Weight Polyethylene (such as Spectra or Dyneema) on a high-performance racing boat, and galvanised wire or natural fibers on an older cutter or square-rigged ship.