This gull appeared not to have any feet – hence the title* footlose* and not footloose – captured at Mevagissey Harbour, Cornwall, UK
In most sailing vessels the lower edge of the mainsail, known as the foot, was lashed to a boom to keep it stretched and properly shaped. However, there were some exceptions, notably the London River barges. These did not have a boom and the sail was allowed to hang loose along the foot. Loose-footed sails, as they came to be called, had a mind of their own and were more difficult to control. It is from this that the meaning footloose and fancy free is believed to have come.