Parker Sailing Team
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Glossary Of Sailing Terms
Sailing terms can get quite confusing to a novice sailor. Even long time sailors can get confused with the terms. So here is a incomplete list of the terms used by sailors, to help you understand the words you may hear on your next sailing trip.
If you hear a new term that is not on the list, feel free to e-mail me and I'll add it to the list.
Beam - The width of a boat. If unspecified, it usually refers to overall width
Bow - The forward end of the boat.
Clew - The aft corner of the sail where the sheets are attached.
Depth - Depth refers to the height from the bottom of the canoe body to the deck. Depth is distinctly different from draft
Draft - Refers to the distance from the water's free surface to the bottom of the keel. It may also reference the canoe body, but is usually noted as such.
Foot - The sail's foot is the bottom.
Head - 1)The top corner of the sail where the halyard is attached. 2) The toilet.
Jib - The forward most sail on a fore/aft rigged boat.
Leech - The back end of the sail, between head and clew, where the battens are located.
Line - A rope on a sailboat. The word rope is never used on a sailboat.
Luff - 1) The forward edge of the sail. 2) To stall or flap the sail beginning along it's forward edge and progressively moving aft until the entire sail is stalled.
Mainsail - The main sail on a boat.
Mast - A vertical spar used to hold up the sails.
Sail - An area of fabric material that transmits the force of the wind to the hull to create a driving force.
Sheet - A line that pulls in, or lets out, the sail.
Spar - A pole used to support the sail.
Spinnaker - A downwind sail.
Stern - The after end of the boat.
Tack - 1) To turn the boat so the bow crosses through the wind. 2) The side of the boat from which the wind is blowing (ie Starboard/Port tack). 3) The forward lower corner of the sail.
Vang - See Boom Vang.
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