Sailing Fundamentals :
The Official Learn-To-Sail Manual of the American Sailing Association
and the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary
Sailing for Dummies
The Art of Rigging
Sailing With Confidence VHS Video
Aback(backwind) - The sail filling on wrong side in the case
of sq rigger may cause the ship to back up.
Abaft towards the stern.
About - on the other tack
Abrest - Along side or at right to
Aft - At,near or towards the stern.
Aloft - up above, up the mast or in the rigging
"Ahoy" - seaman's call to attract attention
Amidships - In the middle of the ship
Anchor - A hook which digs in to the bottom to keep the ship from
Anchorage-A sheltered place or area where a boat can anchor.
Anchor Ball - A black ball visible in all direction display in the
forward part of a vessel at anchor.
Anchor Watch - A member or members of the crew that keep watch and
check the drift of ship.
Anchor Light - A white light visible in all direction display in the
forward part of a vessel at anchor.
Apparent Wind-Wind felt on a vessel underway
Avast! - The command to stop, or cease, in any operation.
Backstay - Mast support running to aft deck or another mast.
Backstaff a navigation instrument used to measure the apparent height
of a landmark whose actual height is known, such as the top of a
lighthouse. From this information, the ship's distance from that
landmark can be calculated.
Baggywrinkle: - chafing gear made from old ropes.
Bail - Ironrod partially circling the boom to which sheet block is
Ballast-Is either pigs of iron, stones, or gravel, which last is called
single ballast; and their use is to bring the ship down to her bearings
in the water which her provisions and stores will not do. Trim the
ballast, that is spread it about, and lay it even, or runs over one
side of the hold to the other.
Bark-3 Masted with Sq rigged on fore and main mast
Barkentine-3 Masted with Sq rigged on fore mast only
Beam - The widest part of the boat.
Bearing - The direction of an object expressed either as a true bearing
as shown on the chart, or as a bearing relative to the heading of the
Belay - Change order; - To make a line secure to a pin, cleat or bitt.
Belay pin - Iron or wood pin fitted into railing to secure lines to.
Bend - to fasten one line to another
Bight - any part of the rope between the two end.
Bilge- The lowest part of the interior hull below the waterline
Bilge Pump-A mechanical, electrical, or manually operated pump used to
remove water from the bilge.
Bitt - A vertically posted above deck used to secure line.
Beaufort Scale is a system for estimating wind strengths
Block - A pulley used to gain mechanical advantage,
Bobstaycable,chain or rod holding down the end of the bowsprit.
Boom: - a horizontal spar attached to the bottom edge of of a sail,
riding on the mast and controlled by sheet.
Bow - The forward part of the vessel.
Bowline - A knot use to form an eye or loop at the end of a rope.
Bowsprit: - a long spar attached to the Jibboom in the bow; used to
secure head sails.
Brig- is a two-masted vessel with both masts square rigged. On the
sternmost mast, the main mast, there is also a gaff sail
Brigantine- is a two-masted vessel fore mast being square rigged
Bulkhead - Below deck walls within vessel
Bulkward - Solid rail along ship side above deck to prevent men and
gear from going overboard,
Bung - A round wood plug inserted in hole to cover a nail scre or bolt.
Bunk: - a sleeping berth.
BuoyA floating navigation aid.
Burdened Vessel - That vessel which, according to the applicable
Navigation Rules, must give way to the privileged vessel.
Cable - The rope or chain made fast to the anchor.
Capstan: - the drum-like part of the windlass, which is a machine used
for winding in rope, cables or chain connected to an anchor cargo.
Carline Wood stringer support for hatches and cabins.
Calk to fill wooden vessel seams with oakum and cotton using caulking
irons and hammer.
Chain plate - A steel plate or bar by which the standing rigging is
attached to the hull.
Chanty - Shanties are the work songs that were used on the
square-rigged ships of the Age of Sail. Their rhythms coordinated the
efforts of many sailors hauling on lines
Charley noble: - galley stove-pipe.
Clew- The lower after corner of a sail
Clove Hitch attach a rope to a pole, this knot provide a quick and
Crow's Nest - protected look-out position high on the foremast
Coil - To lay a rope down in circular turns
Cleat - A wood or metal fitting with two horn around which ropes are
Clew - Lower aft corner of the fore and aft sail or the lower corners
of a sq sail.
Clove Hitch - Two half hitches around a spar,post or rope
Crosstrees - horizontal pieces of wood that cross the mast up high,
acting as spreaders for the topmast shrouds.
Davite: -small cranes, usually located aster, that are used to raise
and lower smaller boats from the deck to the water.
Ditty bag: - a small bag for carrying or stowing all personal articles.
DEADEYE A block with three hole in use to receive the laniard
of a shroud or a stay to adjust tension.
Dinghy A small boat, usually carried on hauled behind a bigger boat
Dead reckoning-A calculation of determining position by using course
speed last known position
Displacement-The weight of the water displaced by the vessel.
Displacement speed hull speed. The theoretical speed that a boat can
travel without planing This speed is 1.34 times the length of a boat at
Dorade-A horn type of vent designed to let air into a cabin and keep
Double Sheetbend -Join small to medium size rope.
douse To drop a sail quickly
Draft-The depth of water required float a vessel
Drift- A vessel leeway
Ease Sheet-To let the sheet out slowly loosen a line while maintaining
EPIRB Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon. An
emergency device that uses a radio signal to alert satellites or
passing airplanes to a vessel's position.
eye splice-A splice causing a loop in the end of a line, by braiding
the end into itself or similar methods.
Eye of the wind-The direction that the wind is blowing from.
Fall-The hauling part of the tackle to which power is applied.
Fathom-Measurement of six feet.
Fender-cushions used over the side to protect a vessel from chafing
when alongside another vessel or dock
Fife Rail-A rail around the mast with hole for belaying pins
Figurehead - carved figure on the front of the ship
Fo. c. sle / fore castle The extreme forward compartment of the vessel.
Fore the forward part of the vessel
Foremast:the mast in the forepart of a vessel, nearest the bow.
Foresail: - is set on the foremast of a schooner or the lowest square
sail on the foremast of Sq riggers
Figure Eight knot - A stopper knot for the end of the rope
Frames: - the wooden ribs that form the shape of the hull.
Gaff: - a free-swinging spar attached to the top of the sail.
Galley: - The kitchen of a ship.
Gallows- A frame used to rest the boom when the sail is down.
Gasket-Line used to secure a furled sail to the boom or yards.
GPS- global positioning system; is a satellite-based
radionavigation used to determine position
Gooseneck-The fitting which secures the boom to the mast.
GMT -- Greenwich Meridian Time, also known as Universal Time or Zula
Ground Tackle - A collective term for the anchor and anchor gear.
Gunwale (gunnel)-The upper railing of a boat's side.
Halyards: - lines used to haul up the sail and the wooden poles (boom
and gaff) that hold the sails in place.
Hatch:- an opening in the deck for entering below.
hawse hole-A hole in the hull for mooring lines to run through.
Headsails: -any sail foreward of the foremast.
Hold: - the space for cargo below the deck of the ship HoggedA vessel
whose bow and stern have dropped.
Horse/traveler-Metal or rope traveler to sheet a sail.
hull The main body of the boat, not including the deck,mast or cabin.
Hurricane-A strong tropical revolving storm of force 12(65 mph) or
higher in the northern hemisphere. Hurricanes revolve in a clockwise
Hypothermia -- the loss of body heat -- is the greatest danger for
anyone in the water. As the body loses its heat, body functions slow
down. This can quickly lead to death.
in irons- A sailboat with its bow pointed directly into the wind,
preventing the sails from filling properly so that the boat can move
Jack line-A strong line, or a wire stay running fore and aft along the
sides of a boat to which a safety harness can be attached.
Jacobs ladder-A rope ladder.
Jettison: -to throw overboard.
Jetty-A man made structure projecting from the shore. Breakwater
protecting a harbor entrance
Jib: - a triangular foresail in front of the foremast.
Jibboom -Spar forward of bowsprit
Jigger-Aft sail on the mizzen mast of a yawl or a ketch. After
mast (4th mast)on schooner or sailing ship carrying a spanker.
Jib-The foremost sail of a ship, set upon a boom which runs out from
Jib Sheet The lines that lead from the clew of the jib.
Jibe. To go from one tack to the other when running with the wind
coming over the stern
Keel: - the timber at the very bottom of the hull to which frames are
Keel-haul-To drag a person backwards and forwards under a ship's keel,
for certain offences.
Ketch-Two-masted boats, the after mast shorter, but with a ketch the
after mast is forward of the rudder post
King spoke-Marked top spoke on a wheel when the rudder is centered.
Knees-Supporting braces used for strength when two parts are joined.
Knockabout: - a type of schooner without a bowsprit.
knot A speed of one nautical mile per hour.
Lanyard - A shot line used for making anything fast
Latitude - The distance north or south of the equator measured and
expressed in degrees.
Lazyjacks: - lines from topping lifts to under boom which act as anet
to catch the sails when lowered.
Lazarette- A storage compartmentin the stern.
League - measure of distance three miles in length
Lee - The side sheltered from the wind
LeechAfter edge of a fore and aft sail
Lines: - ropes used for various purposes aboard a boat.
Log a navigation instrument used to estimate a ship's speed.
Longitude - The distance in degrees east or west of the meridian at
Luff Up-To steer the boat more into the wind, thereby causing the sails
to flap or luff
Mainmast: - the tallest mast of the ship; on a schooner, the mast
Mainsail: - The sail set on the mainmast.-the lowest square sail on the
Marlinspike - A tool for opening the strands of a rope while splicing
Mast: - a large wooden pole used to hold up the sails.
Navigable-An area with sufficient depth of water to permit vessel
Navigation-The art of getting vessel from one port to the next port.
Net Tonnage-Vessels measurement of cargo carrying capacity.
Nun Bouy-Red tapered navigation bouy.
Oakum tarred hemp or manila fibers made from old and condemned ropes
which have been picked apart. They were used for caulking the seams of
decks and sides of a wooden ship in order to make them watertight.
Parcel a rope - Is to put a narrow piece of canvass round it before the
service is put on.
Pay out: - to feed line over the side of the boat, hand over hand.
PEAK- Outer end of the gaff -upper aft corner of a gaff sail
PFD Personal Flotation Devices (PFD), better known as life jackets
Pilothouse: - a small cabin on the deck of the ship that protects the
steering wheel and the crewman steering.
Pitching-The movement of a ship, by which she plunges her head and
after-part alternately into the hollow of the sea.
Preventer- line and/or tackle which limits the movement of the boom,
usually for the purpose of preventing accidents or-An extra rope, to
assist another- Planking: - wood boards that cover the frames outside
Port - left side of the ship when facing forward
Purchase - Any sort of mechanical power employed in raising or removing
heavy bodies. Purchase To purchase the anchor, is to loosen it out of
Q flag -- all yellow signal flag meaning "My vessel is healthy and I
request free pratique.
Quarter - The sides of a boat forward of the stern aft of the shrouds
Quartering Sea- Winds and waves on a boat's quarter
Quay -- wharf used to discharge cargo
Queen topsail: - small stay sail located between the foremast and
Reefing-The operation of reducing a sail by taking in one or more of
Reef-bands- Pieces of canvass, about six inches wide, sewed on the fore
part of sails, where the points are fixed for reefing the sail.
Reef Points-short line thu the reef band to secure the foot of the sail
Rigging: - the lines that hold up the masts and move the sails
(standing and running rigging).
Rode - The anchor line and/or chain
Rudder: - a fin or blade attached under the hull. s stern used for
RUNNING LIGHTS-Navigation lights tell other vessels not only where you
are, but what you are doing
Running Rigging- lines which run through pulleys and block and tackle,
that are used to adjust the sails and yards
Sail: - a piece of cloth that catches the wind and so powers a vessel.
Sailing rig: - the equipment used to sail a bost, including sails,
booms and gaffs, lines and blocks.
Salon -- also saloon; main social cabin of a boat
Schooner: - sailing ships with at least 2 masts (foremast and mainmast)
with the mainmast being the taller. Word derives from the term
"schoon/scoon" meaning to move smoothly and quickly. ( a 3-masted
vessel is called a "tern").
Sea Cock - A through hull valve, a shut off on a plumbing or drain pipe
between the vessel's interior and the seaboat
Scuppers: - holes through the ship sides which drain water at deck
level over the side.
Scrimshaw - A sailors carving or etching on bones, teeth, tusks or
Scurvy - disease historically common to seaman -- was caused by lack of
Secure - To make fast.
Shackle -- a metal link which can be open and closed for joining chain
to anchor, etc.
Sheet: - piece of line fastened to the sail and used to position
relative to the wind.
Sheetbend is knot used to tie two ropes of unequal thickness together
Sheepshank is a shortening knot, which enables a rope to be shortened
Shroud: - a line or wire running from the top of the mast to the
spreaders, then attaching to the side of the vessel.
Sloop-A single-masted fore-and-aft-rigged sailing vessel with a single
headsail set from the forestay.
Spar: - a pole or a beam.
Spreaders -- small spars between the mast and shrouds
Spring line -- a line tied between two opposing forces that has a
neutralizing effect. At the dock with a bow line and stern line tied
off, a spring line is often added to limit the movements of a vessel
Sole: - the inside deck of the ship.
Square Knot used for tying two ropes together.
Squall-A sudden violent blast of wind.
Stay: - a line or wire from the mast to the bow or stern of a ship, for
support of the mast (fore, back, running, and triadic stays).
Starboard - right side of the ship when facing forward
Standing Rigging shrouds and stays that secure the yards and mast in
Stay sail: - any sail attached to a stay.
Stem: - the timber at the very front of the bow.
Stern - after end of a vessel
Tack-The lower forward corner of the sail
Taffrail log -- a propeller drawn through the water that operates an
meter on the boat registering the speed and distance sailed
Topmast: - a second spar carried at the top of the fore or main
mast,used to fly more sail.
Topping lift -- a line or wire for lifting the boom
Top Sail - A sail set above the gaff
Topsail Schooner- A schooner with a square rigged sail on forward mast
Transom: - the planking that forms the stern and closes off the sides.
Underway - Vessel in motion, when not moored, at anchor, or aground.
V-berth -- usually the forward berth of the boat, located in the bow
Vane-A small flag worn at each mast head to show wind direction
VHF -- very high frequency radio
Wake - Moving waves, track or path that a boat leaves behind it, when
moving thu the water
Water-line- The line made by the water's edge when a ship has her full
proportion of stores,and crew on board.
Weigh - To haul up; as, weigh the anchor.
Wheel: - device used for steering a boat.
Widow-maker: - a term for the bowsprit (many sailors lost their lives
falling off the bowsprit while tending sails).
Yankee: - a fore-sail flying above and forward of the jib, usually seen
on bowsprit vessels.
Yard - a spar usually fixed horizontally to a mast to support a sail.
Yawl boat: - smaller powered boat used to provide steerage-way when not
Yawing - The motion of a ship when she deviates from to the right or
Zula time --GMT- Greenwich Meridian Time, also known as Universal Time