Sailing Terminology

Some of the most popular sailing terminology that is used includes:

Astern – This stands for behind the boat.

Apparent wind – This is the speed and direction that is felt by the crew. It is created by the movement of the boat and can also be referred to as true wind.

Aloft – This means above the deck.

Alee – This refers to the leeward side.

About – This refers to the opposite track.

Buoy – Term used for the floating navigation marker

Broach – This means that you should turn sideways to the surf and wind.

Bow – This is the front part of the boat.

Boom – It is a spar that takes the foot part of the sail

Cutter – Single mastered aft and fore boat that has an outer jib and an inner stay sail.

Course – Direction the boat is steered measured in degrees

Close reach – Sailing between a beam reach and close haul as the wind blows the beam.

Close hauled – Boat sails close to the wind when the sails have been pulled in.

Downhaul – A rope that is used to haul down a spar or sail to set downward tension

Dagger board – This is a centerboard that does not feature a pivot.

Eye of the wind – This is the direction from which the wind is blowing from.

Furl – Tightly rolling up a sail

Foremast -This is the mast that is closest to the bow.

Fore and aft -Direction of the keel (lengthwise)

Galley – Kitchen found in the vessel

Genoa – Huge headsail that overlaps the mainsail

Grommet – Brass ring in a piece of canvas

Gunwales – Upper edges on the boats sides

Guy – Adjustable rope of the vessels rig

Headway – Moving in the forward direction.

Helm – This is a wheel

Hoist – Entire length of a luff

Hull – Boats body

In irons – To refuse to fall off

Jib – Triangular headsail set on the foremast forward

Jibsheet – Line used to control jib.

Keel – Centerline backbone on the boats bottom

Lee helm – Tendency of the boat swinging leeward

Leeward – Away from the wind

Line – Length of a rope that has specific use

Luff up – Turning the boats head to face the wind

Mainsheet – Line controlling the main boom

Make fast – Securing a line

Masthead – Top of a mast

Mast – Poles that hold the sails

On the wind – Close-hauled

Point – Heading close to the wind

Port – Left-hand side of the vessel

Port tack – When wind hits the port side first as the boat sails with main boom

Privileged vessel – A boat that has ROW (right of way)

Rigging – Securing sails and masts

Rudder – Wooden plate or vertical metal, whose movements steers the vessel

Run – Sailing with sheets eased out.

Running rigging – All the moving lines like halyards and sheets and are used to set and trim sails

Sheet – Line that controls movement of the boom

Ship shape – Seamanlike and neat

Spreaders – These are horizontal spars attached to the mast that extend the stays and shrouds to assist in supporting the mast.

Shrouds – Ropes or wires that support a mast laterally

Traveller – A slide used for altering the sheet angles

Tacking – Working to the windward side through sailing close-hauled on varying courses to distribute the wind on all the sides of the boat.

Trim – Adjusting angles of a sail

True wind – Speed and direction of wind felt when on land or stationery

Wake – A boat’s behind.

Weather side – The side of the boat where the wind blows

Waterline – Line along the hull where the boat floats

Weather – Opposite of leeward (windward)

Yankee – A fore-sail flying forward and above the jib, normally observed on bowsprit vessels.

Yarn –  A sea tale

Zephyr – A gentle breeze

Zodiac – Name used to refer to an inflatable boat