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SAILING DICTIONARY

Sailing Dictionary - Sailing Terms and Definitions

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These are the Sailing Terms, Definitions, Slang and other words currently stored in our Sailing Dictionary. If you know any sailing terms that are not mentioned in this list then go ahead and suggest a word for our dictionary.

There are 50 Sailing Terms in our Sailing Dictionary:
ANCHOR
It is a heavy, mechanical device used to secure a floating vessel. Read Anchors Parts, Types, and Features for more information.

APPARENT WIND
This refers to the Wind that you feel when the vessel is moving. For more information, take a look at our Wind and Sailing section.

BEACON
It is a fixed aid to Navigation set up at a prominent position. See our Beacons and Buoyage Devices section for more details.

BEAUFORT SCALE
It is created by Admiral Sir Francis Beaufort of Britain to help the sailors in estimating Wind Speed and its effects through ocular observations. Read our Beaufort Scale section for details.

CAPSIZE
It is the term used when a boat is tilted at a 90 angle or turned over in the water. Read our Capsizing section for more information.

CATAMARAN
It is a boat with two Hulls. Know the features of other types of boats in our Sailboats - Types section.

CLOVE HITCH
This is used to secure a Sailboat to a post. Learn how to make this knot and other Sailing Knots in our Common Sailing Knots section.

DANBUOY
This is a floating marker with a code flag O at the top which indicates that someone fell overboard. Know other tools used in Sailing in our Safety and First Aid - Tools and Equipment section.

DECK
This is the area or platform which is specially - designed for the operation of the Cruising Sailboat. See our Cruising Sailboat - Deck section for more information.

DINGHY
It is a small Sailboat designed to accommodate one or two persons and is usually used in recreational Sailing. For more information, see our Dinghies - Types and Classes section.

FOG
It is a visible mass of condensed water vapor which is in contact with the ground. Know more about Fog and its Types in Fog and Sailing.

GALLEY
This refers to the kitchen area in a Cruising Sailboat. Know the other parts of a typical Cabin in our Cruising Sailboat - Cabin section.

GYBING
This is the act of altering the course of the Sailboat by bringing its Stern through the eye of the Wind. Read our Sailing Maneuvers - Gybing section for more details.

HALYARD
This refers to a line or rope which raises or pulls up the sail. Know other parts of a Sailboat in our Sailboat Parts - Rig section.

HEELING
This is a condition where the Sailboat leans to one side due to wind pressure. Read our How Sails Work section to know other fundamental aspects related to Sails and Sailboat.

HELMSMAN
This refers to the person who is responsible in steering the Sailboat. Know the basic tasks of a Helmsman in our Sailing Maneuvers section.

HULL
It is the frame or body of a ship, exclusive of masts, engines, or superstructure.

KEEL
It is the principal structural member of a ship, running lengthwise along the center line from bow to stern, to which the frames are attached.

LEE-CLOTH
This refers to a piece of cloth attached on the sea Berth to prevent yourself from falling off the Berth when the boat heels or during rough conditions. For additional information, read our Cruising Sailboat - Cabin section.

LEEWAY
This is the sideways drift caused by the Wind. Know more about Leeway in the How Sails Work section.

LUFF
It is the act of sailing closer into the wind.

LUGSAIL
It is a quadrilateral sail that lacks a boom, has the foot larger than the head, and is bent to a yard hanging obliquely on the mast.

MAGNETIC NORTH
It is the direction of the magnetic North Pole; the direction a compass points. Read our Navigation - Elements and Terms section for additional information.

MAINSAIL
It is the quadrilateral or triangular sail set from the after part of the mainmast on a fore-and-aft rigged vessel.

MAST
It is a tall vertical spar, sometimes sectioned, that rises from the keel or deck of a sailing vessel to support the sails and the standing and running rigging.

MAYDAY
This is the internationally recognized Distress Signal via radio. Take a look at our Communication Devices section and learn the proper way to make a Distress call.

NAVIGATION
This is the art and science of directing the movement of a vessel from one point to another. Take a look at our Navigation and Sailing section for more information.

OFFSHORE WIND
This refers to Wind blowing from the land and out towards the water. Know more about Offshore Wind in Wind and Sailing.

ONSHORE WIND
This refers to Wind which blows from the waters and out towards the land. Read our Wind and Sailing section for more information.

PILOTAGE
Also called Piloting, refers to the art and process of navigating through visual references on land or sea to ensure that the vessel reaches its destination safely. Read our Pilotage section for more information.

REEFING
It is the process of reducing the Sail area to suit the Wind condition. Learn how it is done in How Sails Work.

RUDDER
It is a moveable vertical flap or board in the center of the back edge of the boat. Know the other basic components or parts of Hull in our Sailboat Parts - Hull section.

RUNNING RIGGING
This is the collective term for all Lines (Halyards, Sheets) that raise, lower, and control the Sails. Know more about Rigs in Cruising Sailboats Rigs section.

SAIL TRIMMING
This is the process of adjusting the Sails regularly to ensure that the boat is getting the right driving power. Read our Sailing Principles - How Sails Work section for additional information.

SAILBOAT
It is a small boat propelled partially or wholly by sail.

SEASICKNESS
This is related to the disturbance in the sense of balance and equilibrium (spatial orientation) of the body. Seasickness is one of the Health Risks you may encounter afloat. Read our Sailing Safety and First Aid - Health Risks section for more details.

SHEET BEND
This is used in tying two Lines with the same or different sizes. Learn how to make this and other knots used in Sailing in our Common Sailing Knots section.

STANDING RIGGING
It is system of wires which holds the Mast up. Our section Cruising Sailboats Rigs can give you more details about Standing Rigging.

STARBOARD
This is the right-hand side of the Sailboat when facing forward. Know other terms that can help you in understanding the Rules of the Road in the Sailing Rules and Regulations section.

TACKING
This is the act of changing the direction of the Sailboat by bringing the bow into the Wind. Learn how to tack in our Sailing Maneuvers - Tacking section.

TELLTALES
These are strips of wool or nylon which are sewn or fastened on the Jib Luffs and Leech of Mainsail. Know the function of Telltales in our Five Sailing Essentials section.

TIDAL STREAM
Also called Tidal current, it is the horizontal flow of water caused by rising and lowering Tides. Know how they affect Sailboats in Tides and Sailing.

TIDE
It refers to the periodic rise and fall of ocean waters due to changes in the gravitational attraction of the moon and sun on the rotating earth. Know the different aspects of Tides in relation to Sailing in our Tides and Sailing section.

TILLER
It refers to a bar used to control the Rudder when steering. Visit our Sailboat Parts - Hull section to know other basic components or parts of Hull.

TRANSIT
Also called a Range, it is composed of pairs of Beacons which form a particular Line of Position when lined up. Read our Pilotage section for more details.

TRIMARAN
It is a multi-hulled Sailboat. Know more about Trimarans and other kinds of boats in Sailboats - Types section.

TRUE WIND
This refers to the Wind that you feel when the Sailboat is not moving. For more information, visit our Wind and Sailing section.

VHF RADIO
This is a very valuable and reliable two-way radio which provides clear communication through line-of-sight. Know more about this tool and other devices in our Sailing Tools - Communication Devices section.

WINCH
A Winch is a device used in winding up a Sailing Line or rope. Read our Cruising - Skills in Handling Sails section for details.

YAWL
This type has two Masts. Know other variations of Sailboats in our Sailboats - Types section.

 
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