Glossary of Sailing Terms

The Endeavour Sailing School full glossary of sailing terms.

Sailing Terms

ABACK - Said of a sail which is desperately set with the wind on the wrong side or is accidentally ‘taken aback’ by a shift of wind or movement of the helm

ABAFT THE BEAM - The sector on both sides of the boat from abeam to astern

ABATE - The true wind abates or moderates when it blows less strongly than before

ABEAM - To the side, more or less at right angles to the fore and aft line of the vessel

ADRIFT - Not attached to the sea bed

AFLOAT - Floating; At sea

AFT - Towards the stern of the vessel

AGROUND - Onto or on a shore, reef, or the bottom of a body of water “they felt a jolt as the ship ran aground"

AHEAD - Directly in front of your vessel

AHOY! - Shout to attract the attention of another vessel

ALMANAC - An annual publication containing information on, for example, buoyage, tides, signals, glossaries, and positions of heavenly bodies

ALEE - To leeward

ALOFT - Up the mast or in the rigging

AMIDSHIPS - The centre part of the vessel

ANCHOR AWEIGH - The anchor is said be aweigh at the point when it breaks out (broken out) of the sea bed when it is being hauled in    

ANCHOR BUOY - A small buoy attached by a light line to the anchor which enables you to see where your anchor is lying

ANCHOR CABLE - Chain or rope connection between a vessel and her anchor

ANCHOR LIGHT - An all-round white light to indicate a vessel is at anchor

ANCHOR LOCKER - A locker where the anchor and anchor chain are kept

ANCHOR ROLLER - A roller at the bow of the vessel which the cable is passed over when at anchor

APPARENT WIND - The wind felt by the crew in a boat that is moving over the ground

ASHORE - On the land; or aground

ASTERN - Directly behind your vessel; or a movement through the water in that direction

AUTOPILOT - Equipment that allows the boat to follow automatically a compass course or a course relative to wind direction

AUXILIARY - A term for a sailing boat that has auxiliary power, i.e. an engine

AWASH - Level with the surface of the water which just washes over an object

BABY STAY - An inner forestay

BACK - Of Wind: it backs when it shifts to blow from a direction that is further anticlockwise i.e., from Northerly to North Westerly

OF SAIL - To back a sail: it is sheeted or held to windward so that the wind strikes it on the side which is normally to leeward (see aback)

BACK STAY - A stay that supports the mast from aft

BAIL - To remove water from the bilges or cockpit

BAILER - A utensil used to bail water out of a boat

BALL - A black signal shape displayed when a vessel is at anchor by day

BALLAST - Additional weight placed low in the hull to improve stability

BAR - A shallow area (shoal) close by a river mouth or harbour entrance

1 BAR - A measure of barometric pressure usually noted as 1000 millibars

BARE POLES - No sails are set and boat is driven by the force of the wind on the spars and rigging

BATTEN - A flexible strip of wood or plastic used to stiffen the leech of a mainsail

BATTEN POCKET - A pocket on the leech of a mainsail to contain the batten

BEACH - To run a vessel ashore deliberately

BEACON - A mark erected on land or in shallow water to guide or warn shipping

BEAM - The breadth of the vessel

BEAM REACH - A point of sailing with the wind roughly at right angles to the fore and aft line

BEAR AWAY - To alter course away from the wind

BEARING - The direction of an object from an observer

BEARINGS - (3 figure notation) Bearings and courses are given in a 3-figure notation i.e., 180°

BEATING - Sailing towards the wind with the sails hauled in tight

BEAUFORT SCALE - A scale of measurement of the force of the wind

BELOW DECK - Beneath the deck

BERTH - A place where a vessel can be tied up; A sleeping place on a vessel; To give an obstruction a wide berth by keeping well clear

BILGES - The lowest part inside the hull below the cabin sole (floor) where bilge water collects

BINNACLE - Strong housing to protect the steering compass

BLOCK - A pulley made of wood, metal or plastic

BOAT HOOK - A pole, generally made of wood or light alloy, with a hook at one end, used for picking up moorings and buoys

BOLLARD - Strong fitting, firmly bolted to the deck, to which mooring lines are made fast. Large bollards are on quays, piers and pontoons

BOOM - Spar that supports the foot of a sail

BOOM OUT - On a run to thrust the genoa out to windward so that it fills with wind

BOW - The forward part of a boat. A direction 45° either side of right ahead

BOWLINE - A knot tied in the end of a line to make a loop that will neither slip nor jam


BREAKWATER - A structure to protect a harbour or beach from the force of the sea

BROACH/ING - When running before a strong wind to be suddenly brought broadside on

BROAD REACH - Sailing with the wind on the quarter

BULKHEAD - A vertical partition below decks

BUNK - A built-in sleeping place

BUOY - A floating object used to indicate the position of a channel, wreck, danger, etc., or the position of an object on the seabed

BUOYANCY AID - A life-preserver to help a person float if he falls in, less effective than a lifejacket

BURGEE - A triangular flag worn at the masthead

CABIN - The sheltered area in which the crew live and sleep

CABLE - Chain or rope that is made fast to the anchor; A measure of distance equivalent to one tenth of a nautical mile

CAPSIZE - The boat overturns

CAST OFF - To let go a rope or line

CHAIN PLATE - A fitting which is bolted to the hull, to which the shrouds are attached

CHANDLER - A shop which sells nautical gear

CHANNEL - A waterway through shoals, rivers or harbours

CHART - Printed map giving many details about the area covered by water and details about the adjacent land

CHART DATUM - Reference level on charts and for use in tidal predictions

CLEAR - To disentangle a line; To avoid a danger or obstruction; Improved weather

CLEAT - A fitting with two horns round which a rope is secured

CLEW - The after lower corner of a sail to which sheets are fitted

CLEW OUTHAUL - The line which tensions the foot of the sail

CLOSE HAULED - Sailing as near into the wind as possible without the sails flapping.

COACH ROOF - The part of the cabin that is raised above the deck to provide height in the cabin

COASTGUARD - The organisation responsible for search and rescue operations in UK waters

COCKED HAT - In navigation the triangle formed when three position lines fail to meet at a single point

COCKPIT - A space lower than deck level in which the crew can sit or stand

COLLISION COURSE - The course of a vessel which, if maintained relative to that of another would result in a collision

COMPASS ROSE - A circle printed on a chart representing the true compass and graduated clockwise from 000° to 360°

COURSE - The direction in which the vessel is being, or is to be, steered

COURTESY ENSIGN - The national flag of a country being visited by a foreign boat, it should be flown in the starboard spreader

CQR ANCHOR - A patented anchor (Coastal Quick Release) with good holding power

DANBUOY - A temporary mark to indicate position or a man overboard. A flag flies from a spar passing through a float weighted at the bottom

DECK LOG - A book in which all matters concerning navigation are entered

DEPTH SOUNDER - See Echo Sounder

DEVIATION - The deflection of the needle of a magnetic compass caused by the proximity of ferrous metals, electrical circuits or electronic equipment

DIAPHONE - A powerful two-tone fog signal with a grunt at the end.

DIP THE ENSIGN - To lower the ensign briefly as a salute.  It is not rehoisted until the vessel saluted has dipped and rehoisted hers in acknowledgement.

DISPLACEMENT - The weight of a vessel defined as the weight of water displaced by that vessel

DISTANCE MADE GOOD - The distance covered over the ground having made allowance for tidal stream and leeway.

DIVIDERS - Navigational instrument for measuring distance on charts

DODGER - Screen fitted to give the crew protection from wind and spray

DOLPHIN - A mooring post or group of piles

DOUBLE UP - To put out extra mooring lines when a storm is expected

DOUSE - To lower a sail; Extinguish a light quickly

DOWNHAUL - A rope or line with which an object such as a spar or sail is pulled down

DOWNSTREAM - The direction towards which the stream flows

DOWNWIND - Direction to leeward

DRAG - The anchor drags when it fails to hold and slides over the seabed

DRAUGHT - The vertical distance from the lowest part of the keel to the waterline

DREDGER - A vessel for dredging a channel

DRIFT - To be carried by the tidal stream; The distance that a boat is carried by the tidal stream in a given time

EASE OUT - To let a rope out gradually

EBB - The period when the tidal level is falling

ECHO SOUNDER - An electronic depth-finding instrument

ENSIGN - The national flag worn at or near the stern of a vessel to indicate her nationality

EPIRB - Electronic Position Indicating Radio Beacon that transmits a distinctive signal on a distress frequency

EVEN KEEL - A vessel floating so that her mast is more or less vertically upright

FAIR - Advantageous or favourable, as of wind or tidal stream; In weather meaning no significant precipitation

FAIRLEAD - The lead through which a working line is passed in order to alter the direction of pull

FAIRWAY - The main channel in a body of water such as an estuary or river

FENDER - Any device hung outboard to absorb the shock when coming alongside and to protect the hull when moored alongside

FETCH - The distance travelled by the wind when crossing open water.  The height of the waves is proportional to the fetch and strength of the wind

FIX - The position of a vessel as plotted on the chart from position lines obtained by compass bearings, direction finder, echo sounder etc.

FLASHING LIGHT - A light where there is more darkness than light

FLOOD - The period when the tidal level is rising

FLUKE - The shovel-shaped part of an anchor that digs into the ground

FLYING OUT - A sail is flying out in a breeze when it has no tension in the sheets

FOCSLE (FORECASTLE) - The part of the accommodation below the foredeck and forward of the mast

FOG - Visibility reduced to less than 1000 metres (approximately 0.5 nautical miles)

FOGHORN - A horn with which fog signals are made

FOLLOWING SEA - Seas that are moving in the same direction as the vessel is heading

FOOT - The lower edge of the sail

FORE-AND-AFT - Parallel line between the stem and stern

FOREDECK - The part of the deck that is forward of the mast and coach roof

FOREHATCH - A hatch forward, usually in the foredeck

FOREPEAK - The most forward compartment in the bows of the vessel

FORESAIL - The headsail set on the forestay

FORESTAY - The stay from high on the mast to the stem head providing fore-and-aft support for the mast

FOUL - The opposite of clear; Adverse (wind or tide); Unsuitable

FOUL ANCHOR - An anchor whose flukes are caught on an obstruction on the seabed or tangled with the cable

FORWARD - Toward the bow of the vessel (pronounced “forrard”)

FREEBOARD - The vertical distance between the waterline and the top of the deck

FULL RUDDER - The maximum angle to which the rudder can be turned

FURLING - Rolling up or gathering and lashing a lowered sail using sail ties or shock-cord to prevent it blowing out

GALE - In the Beaufort Scale, wind force 8, 34 to 40 knots. Severe gale, force 9 is 41 to 47 knots

GALLEY - An area where food is prepared and cooked

GELCOAT - The outer unreinforced layer of resin in a GRP (Glass Reinforced Plastic) hull

GENOA - A large overlapping headsail set in light breezes

GIVE WAY - To alter course in order to concede passage to another vessel

GIVE WAY VESSEL - The vessel whose duty it is to keep clear of another, she should take early and substantial action to avoid a collision

GO ABOUT - To change tack by altering course to bring the wind on the other side

GOOSENECK - Fitting which attaches the boom to the mast

GOOSE WINGING - To set the mainsail on one side of the vessel and the headsail on the other when running

GRAB RAIL - Rails fitted above and below decks to grab at when the vessel heels

GROUND TACKLE - A general term for the anchors, cables and all the gear required when anchoring

GUARD RAIL - Safety line fitted round the vessel to prevent the crew falling overboard

GUNWALE - The upper edge of the side of a vessel

GUY - A line attached to the end of a spar to keep it in position

GYBE - To change from one tack to another by turning the stern through the wind

GYBE-OH! - The call to indicate that the helm is being put across to gybe

HALYARD - A line or rope with which a sail, spar or flag is hoisted up a mast

HAND-BEARING COMPASS - Portable magnetic compass with which visual bearings are taken.

HANDRAIL - A wooden or metal rail on the coach roof or below deck which can be grabbed to steady a person

HARDEN IN - To haul in the sheets to bring the sail closer to the centreline; the opposite of ease out

HATCH - An opening in the deck that allows access to the accommodation

HAUL IN - To pull in

HEAD - The bow or forward part of the vessel; The upper corner of a triangular sail

HEAD TO WIND - To point the stem of the vessel into the wind

HEADING - The direction in which the vessel’s head is pointing

HEADLAND - A fairly high and steep part of the land that projects into the sea

HEADS - The lavatory on a vessel

HEADSAIL - Any sail set forward of the mast or of the foremast if there is more than one mast

HEADWAY - Movement through the water stem first    

HEAVE TO - To stop or slow the vessel by coming head to wind, and laying with the headsail aback and the helm to leeward.  

HEEL - To lean over to one side

HEIGHT OF TIDE - The vertical distance at any instant between sea level and chart datum

HELMSMAN - The member of the crew who steers the vessel

HOIST - To raise an object vertically with a halyard

HULL - The body of a vessel excluding masts, rigging and rudder

HURRICANE - In the Beaufort scale, wind of force 12, 64 knots or above

HYDROFOIL - A vessel with hydrofoils to lift the wetted surface of her hull clear of the water at speed

HYDROGRAPHY - The science of surveying the waters of the earth and adjacent land area, and publishing the results in charts, pilots, etc, for example Admiralty charts

IALA - International Association of lighthouse Authorities which is responsible for he International buoyage system

IMPELLER - Screw-like device which is rotated by water flowing past: used for measuring boat speed and distance travelled through the water

IN IRONS - When the vessel is caught in stays and refuses to pay off on either tack

INSHORE - Near to or towards or in the direction of the shore

IN STAYS - When the bow points directly into the wind with the sails flapping during the process of going about

ISOBAR - On a synoptic chart, a line joining points of equal pressure

ISOPHASE - A light where the duration of light and darkness are equal

JACKSTAY - A wire secured between two points on deck which allows crew to move along the deck whilst remaining clipped on

JIB - Triangular headsail set on a stay forward of the mast

JURY RIG - A temporary but effective device that replaces lost or damaged gear

KEDGE ANCHOR - A lightweight anchor used to move a boat or anchor temporarily in fine weather


KICKING STRAP - line or tackle to pull the boom down to keep it horizontal

KNOT - The unit of speed at sea; nautical miles per hour; A series of loops in a line or rope

LANDFALL - Land first sighted after a long voyage at sea

LANYARD - A short length of line used to secure an object such as a knife

LASH DOWN - To secure firmly with a rope or line

LEAD LINE - A line marked with knots at regular intervals and attached to a heavy weight; used to determine the depth of water

LEE - The direction towards which the wind blow

LEECH - The trailing edge of a triangular sail

LEE-OH! - The action of putting the helm across to go about

LEE SHORE - A coastline towards which the onshore wind blows; the shore to leeward of a boat

LEEWARD - The opposite direction to windward; downwind, away from the wind

LEEWAY - The angular difference between the water track and the vessel’s heading.  The effect of wind moving the boat bodily to leeward

LINE - Alternative name for a small rope or for a rope used for mooring a vessel

LIST - A permanent lean to one side or the other

LOA - Length Overall

LOCK - A chamber with gates at each end in which the water level can be raised or lowered

LOCKER - An enclosed stowage anywhere on board

LOG - A devise to measure a vessel’s speed or distance travelled through the water

LOG READING - The reading of distance travelled through the water usually taken every hour from the log and recorded in the deck log

LOOK-OUT - Visual watch; Member of the crew responsible for keeping it

LOP - Short choppy seas

LOSE WAY - A vessel loses way when she slows down and stops in the water

LUBBER LINE - The marker in the compass which is aligned with the fore-and-aft line of the boat against which the course can be read off on the compass card

LUFF - The leading edge of a sail

LULL - A temporary drop in wind speed

MAINSAIL - The principal sail

MAINSHEET TRAVELLER - The athwartships slider to which the mainsheet tackle is made

MAKE FAST - To secure the vessel with mooring lines to the jetty or to tie up to a buoy

MAKE SAIL - To hoist the sails and get under way

MAKING WAY - A vessel that is being propelled through the water

MARINA - Artificial boat harbour usually consisting of pontoons

MARK - An object that marks a position

MAST - The most important vertical spar without which no sail can be set

MAST STEP - Fitting into which the mast heel fits

MASTHEAD LIGHT - A white light exhibiting near the masthead by a power driven underway

MAYDAY - The internationally recognised radio telephone distress signal

MHWS - Mean High Water Springs: The average level of all high waters at spring tides   throughout the year; used as the datum level for heights of features on charts

MIST - Visibility reduced to between 0.5 and 2 nautical miles due to suspension of water particles in the air

MOLE - A breakwater made of stone or concrete

MONOHULL - A vessel with a single hull

MOORING - The ground tackle attached to a mooring buoy

MOORING BUOY - A non-navigational buoy to which a vessel can moor

MOORING RING - A ring on a mooring buoy

NAUTICAL ALMANAC - Official publication giving positions of heavenly bodies and other information to enable a vessel’s position to be established

NAUTICAL MILE - Unit of distance at sea based on the length of one minute of latitude

NAVIGATION LIGHTS - lights exhibited by all vessels between sunset and sunrise

NEAP TIDE - Tides where the range is least and the tidal streams run least strongly

NEAR GALE - Wind of Beaufort force 7, 28 to 33 knots

NOTICE TO MARINERS - Official notices issued weekly or at other times detailing corrections to charts and hydrographic publications

OCCULTING LIGHT - A light eclipsing at regular intervals so that the duration of light is greater than the duration of dark

OILSKINS - Waterproof clothing worn in foul weather

ON THE PORT (OR STARBOARD) BOW - Ahead of your vessel at an angle to the bows, but forward of the beam

ON THE PORT (OR STARBOARD) QUARTER - At an angle to the stern of your vessel, but abaft the beam

OUTHAUL - A line with which the mainsail is hauled out along the boom

OVERFALLS - Turbulent waters where is a sudden change in depth or where two tidal streams meet

PAINTER - The line at the bow of a dinghy

PAN PAN - The internationally recognised radio telephone urgency signal which has priority over all calls except Mayday

PARALLEL RULES - Navigational instrument used in conjunction with the compass rose on the chart to transfer bearings and courses to plot a vessel’s position

PAY OFF - Let the sails fill and sail away on a new tack.

PAY OUT - To let out a line or rope gradually

PILE - A stout timber or metal post driven vertically into a river or seabed

PILOT - An expert in local waters who assists vessels entering or leaving harbour; An official publication listing details of, for example, local coasts, dangers and harbours

PINCH - To sail too close to the wind so that the sails lose driving power

PITCH - The up and down motion of the bow and stern of a vessel

PLOT - To find a vessels position by laying off bearings on a chart

PORT - The left-hand side of the vessel looking forward

PORT TACK - Sailing with the wind on the port side and the sails set on the starboard side

PREVAILING WIND - The wind direction that occurs most frequently at a place over a certain period

PREVENTER - A line rigged from the end of the boom to the bow in heavy weather to prevent an accidental gybe

PULPIT - Stainless steel frame at the bow encircling the forestay to which the guardrails are attached

PUSH PIT - Colloquial term for the stern pulpit

PYROTECHNIC - Any type of rocket or flare used for signalling

RACE - A strong tidal stream

RADAR REFLECTOR - A device hoisted or fitted up the mast to enhance the reflection of radar energy

RAFT OF BOATS - Two or more vessels tied up alongside each other

RANGE OF TIDE - The difference between sea level at high water and sea level at the preceding or following low water

RATE - The speed of a tidal stream or current given in knots and tenths of a knot

REACH - A vessel is on a reach when she is either close-hauled or running.  It is her fastest point of sail

READY ABOUT - The helmsman’s shout that he intends to go about shortly

REEF - To reduce the area of sail, particularly the mainsail

RESTRICTED VISIBILITY - Visibility restricted by rain, drizzle, fog, etc., during which vessels are required to proceed at a safe speed and to navigate with extreme caution

RHUMB LINE - A line on the surface of the earth that cuts all meridians at the same angle.  On a standard Mercator chart, the rhumb line appears as a straight line

RIDING TURN - On a winch the situation where an earlier turn rides over a later turn and jams

RIGGING - All ropes, lines, wires and gear used to support the masts and to control the spars and sails

RISK OF COLLISION - A possibility that a collision may occur; usually established by taking a compass bearing of an approaching vessel

ROLLER REEF - A method of reefing where the sail area is reduced by rolling part of the sail around the boom

ROUND UP - To head up into the wind

ROVING FENDER - A spare fender held ready by a crew member in case of emergencies

RUDDER - A control surface in the water at or near the stern, used for altering course

RUN/RUNNING - To sail with the wind dead astern

RUNNING FIX - A navigational fix when only a single landmark is available.  Two bearings are taken and plotted at different times, making allowance for distance travelled

RUNNING RIGGING - All rigging that moves and is not part of the standing rigging

SACRIFICIAL ANODE - A zinc plate fastened to the hull to prevent corrosion of metal fittings on the hull

SAIL LOCKER - Place where sails are stowed

SAIL TIES - Light lines used to lash a lowered sail to the boom or guardrails to prevent it blowing about

SALOON - The main cabin

SAR - Search and Rescue

SCEND - Vertical movement of waves or swell against, for example, a harbour wall

SCUPPER - Drain hole in the toe-rail

SEA ANCHOR - A device, such as a conical canvas bag open at both ends, streamed from bow to stern to hold a boat bow or stern onto the wind or sea

SEA BREEZE - A daytime wind blowing across a coastline from the sea caused by the rising air from land heated by the sun

SEA LEGS - The ability to keep one’s feet in spite of the motion of the boat

SEACOCK - A stop-cock next to the hull to prevent accidental entry of water

SECURITE - An internationally recognised safety signal used on the radio telephone preceding an important navigational or meteorological warning

SET (SAILS) - To hoist a sail    

SET (TIDAL STREAM) - The direction to which a tidal stream or current flows

SET SAIL - To start out on a voyage

SHACKLE - A metal link for connecting ropes, wires or chains to sails, anchors, etc. 

To shackle on is to connect using a shackle

SHAPE - A ball, cone or diamond shaped object, normally black, hoisted by day in a vessel to indicate a special state or occupation

SHEET/S - Rope or line fastened to the clew of a sail or the end of the boom supporting it.  Named after the sail to which it is attached

SHIPPING FORECAST - Weather forecast broadcast four times each day by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) for the benefit of those at sea

SHIPPING LANE - A busy track across the sea or ocean

SHIPSHAPE - Neat and efficient

SHOAL - An area offshore where the water is to shallow that a vessel might run aground. To shoal is to become shallow

SHOCK CORD - Elastic rubber bands enclosed in a sheath of fibres, very useful for lashing

SHORTEN SAIL - To reduce the amount of sail set either by reefing or changing to make a smaller sail

SHROUD/S - Parts of the standing rigging that supports the mast laterally

SIDE DECK - The deck alongside the coach roof

SILL - A wall which acts as a dam, to keep water in a marina

SLAB REEF - A method of reefing a boomed sail where the sail is flaked down on top of the boom

SLACK OFF - To ease or pay out a line

SLACK WATER - In tidal waters, the period of time when the tidal stream is non-existent or negligible

SLAM - The underpart of the forward part of the hull hitting the water when pitching in heavy seas

SLIDE - A metal or plastic fitting on the luff or foot of a sail running in a track on the mast or boom

SLIP - To let go quickly

SLIPWAY - An inclined ramp leading into the sea

SNATCH - Jerk caused by too short an anchor cable in a seaway; To take a turn quickly around a cleat, bollard or Samson post

SNUG DOWN - To prepare for heavy weather by securing all loose gear

SOLDIERS WIND - A wind that enables a sailing vessel to sail to her destination and return without beating

SOLE - The floor of a cabin or cockpit

SOS - International distress signal made by light, sound or radio

SOUND - To measure the depth of water

SOUNDING - The depth of water below chart datum

SOU’WESTER - A waterproof oilskin hat with a broad brim

SPAR - General term for all poles used on board such as a mast, boom and yard

SPEED MADE GOOD - The speed made good over the ground; that is , the boat speed corrected for tidal stream and leeway

SPILL WIND - To ease the sheets so that the sail is only partly filled by the wind, the rest being spilt

SPINNAKER - A large symmetrical balloon shaped sail used when running or reaching

SPINNAKER POLE - A spar which is used to hold the spinnaker out

SPIT - A projecting shoal or strip of land connected to the shore

SPRAY HOOD - A folding canvas cover over the entrance to the cabin

SPREADERS - Metal struts fitted either side of the mast to spread the shrouds out sideways

SPRING TIDE - The tides at which the range is greatest: the height of high water is greater and that for low water is less than those for neap tides

SPRINGS - Mooring lines fastened to prevent a boat moving forwards or backwards relative to the quay or other boats alongside

SQUALL - A sudden increase of wind speed often associated with a line of low dark clouds representing an advancing cold front

STANCHIONS - Metal posts supporting the guardrails

STAND BY TO GYBE - A warning, given by the helmsman, that he is about to gybe

STAND OFF - To head away from shore

STAND ON - To maintain course and speed of your vessel because you have right of way

STANDING RIGGING - Wire rope or solid rods that support masts and fixed spars but do not control the sails

STARBOARD - The right-hand side of the vessel looking forward

STARBOARD TACK - Sailing with the wind on the starboard side and the sails set to the port side

STAY - Part of the standing rigging which provides support fore-and-aft

STEADY - Order to the helmsman to keep the boat on her present course

STEAMING LIGHT - Alternative name for a masthead light

STEERING COMPASS - The compass permanently mounted adjacent to the helmsman which he uses as a reference to keep the boat on a given course    

STEM - The forwardmost part of the hull

STERN - The afterpart of the boat

STERN LIGHT - A white light exhibited from the stern

STORM - Wind or Beaufort force 10, 48 to 55 knots:

STORM JIB - Small heavy jib set in strong winds

STOW - Put away in a proper place.  Stowed for sea implies that all gear and loose equipment has also been lashed down

SWASHWAY - A narrow channel between shoals

SWINGING ROOM -The area encompassed by the swing that excludes any risk of collision or grounding

SYNOPTIC CHART - A weather chart covering a large area on which is plotted information giving an overall view of the weather at a particular moment

TACKING - The process by which a sailing vessel can go to windward, making a series of zig-zag ‘tacks’ at an angle to the wind

TAKE IN - Lower a sail

TAKE THE HELM - Steer the vessel

TELL TALES - Lengths of wool or ribbon attached to a sail or shroud to indicate the airflow or apparent wind direction

TIDAL STREAM - The horizontal movement of water cause by the tides

TIDAL STREAM ATLAS - An official publication showing the direction and rate of the tidal streams for a particular area

TIDE - The vertical rise and fall of the waters in the oceans in response to the gravitational forces of the sun and moon

TIDE TABLES - Official annual publication which gives the times and heights of high and low water for standard ports

TILLER - A lever attached to the rudder head by which the helmsman moves the rudder

TOE RAIL - A low strip of wood or light alloy that runs round the edge of the deck

TOPPING LIFT - A line from the base of the mast passing around a sheave at the top thence to the end of the boom to take the weight of the boom when lowering the sail

TOPSIDES - The part of the vessel which pes above the waterline when she is not heeled

TO LUFF - To steer to close to the wind, causing the sails to flap.  Often done to relieve the wind pressure on the sails while they are adjusted

TRAFFIC SEPARATION SCHEME - In areas of heavy traffic, a system of one-way lanes where special regulations apply to shipping in this area

TRANSIT - Two fixed objects are in transit when they are in line 

TRANSOM - The flat transverse structure across the stern of the hull

TRIM - To adjust the sails by easing or hardening in the sheets to obtain maximum driving force

UNDER WAY - Commonly describes any vessel moving through the water ie by tide, but not under propulsion.  Strictly speaking it refers to any vessel not actually anchored or tied up

VHF - Very High Frequency – usually taken as meaning the VHF radio telephone

WARP - Heavy lines used for mooring, kedging or towing, and to move a vessel by hauling on warps secured to a bollard or buoy

WASH - The turbulent water left astern by a moving vessel

WASH BOARDS - Removable planks fitted in the cabin entrance to prevent water getting in

WEATHER HELM - The tendency of the vessel to turn her bow to windward making it necessary to turn the rudder to maintain a straight heading

WHIPPING - Twine bound round the ends of a rope to keep it from fraying

WHISKER POLE - light spar to hold out the clew of a headsail when running, particularly when goose winged

WHITE HORSES - Breaking waves with foamy crest. Not surf breaking on the shore

WINCH - A fitting designed to assist the crew hauling on a rope or line

WINCH HANDLE - A removable handle used for operating a winch

WINDLASS - The winch used for lifting the anchor

WINDWARD - The direction from which the wind is coming

YARD - A long spar on which a square sail is set

Get in touch

Office hours

Mo - Fr 9.30 - 16.30
Sa 10.00 - 14.00

Out of office contact

Mobile 0034 628 478 400


Edifico Antiguo Varadero
Bloque D No 15 - 2nd Planta
35571 Puerto Calero Marina
Lanzarote - Canary Islands

>> Get directions using Google Maps


Phone 0034 928 849 670
Mobile 0034 628 478 400

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