BBC SPORT Arabic Spanish Russian Chinese
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX    SEARCH 

BBC Sport
 You are in: Other Sports: Sailing  
Sport Front Page
-------------------
Football
Cricket
Rugby Union
Rugby League
Tennis
Golf
Motorsport
Boxing
Athletics
Other Sports
Statistics
US Sport
Horse Racing
Snooker
Sailing
Cycling
Skiing
-------------------
Special Events
-------------------
Sports Talk
-------------------
BBC Pundits
TV & Radio
Question of Sport
-------------------
Photo Galleries
Funny Old Game
-------------------
Around The UK: 
N Ireland
Scotland
Wales

BBC Sport Academy
BBC News
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
LANGUAGES
EDITIONS

  Friday, 1 June, 2001, 16:30 GMT 17:30 UK
The jargon guide
BBC Sport Online presents an alphabetical guide to the most common nautical terms used in the sport of sailing.


A.
Aft. At, near or towards the stern, or rear, of the boat.

Amas. The outboard hulls of a trimaran.

Anchor. A heavy object used to moor a ship to the sea bottom, typically fitted with curved triangular plates for added purchase.


B.
Boom. A long pole or spar extending horizontally from the mast which holds or extends the base of a sail.

Buoy. An anchored float usually coloured orange serving as a navigation mark or mooring station.

Beam. The widest part of the boat. A term used to desribe its width.


C.
Cleat. A metal or wooden-toothed device used to stop a rope from slipping.

Coffee-grinder. Popular name for a winch. The winches are turned in either direction using removable windlasses.


D.
Draught. Vertical distance from waterline to bottom of keel.

Daggerboard. A retractable fin up to 15ft long that can be lowered beneath the hull to prevent the boat from drifting sideways while sailing into the wind.

Dinghy. A small boat for recreational sailing with mast and sails. It can also mean a rubber inflatable open boat.


E.
Ebb. The movement of the tide out to sea.

Easterly. A wind blowing from the east. Can be similarly applied to the other points of the compass.


F.
Furl. To fold or roll a sail and secure it to its main support.

Fathom. Six feet. Common measure of depth.

Fore. At or towards the front of the boat.

Fast. To tie anything securely is to make it fast.


G.
Galley. The kitchen area on a ship or yacht.

Genoa. Often shortened to "jenny", the Genoa is biggest foresail (as opposed to the mainsail) on the boat and is positioned in front of the foremast.


H.
Helm. The mechanism, a wheel or tiller, used to move the rudder and thus steer the boat. The skipper can also be called the helm.

Halyard. Rope used to hoist or lower a sail, flag or signal.


J.
Jib. A triangular foresail (smaller than the main sail) in front of the foremast.
K.
Keel. A fixed centreboard attached to the hull of a vessel giiving a boat greater stability.

Knot. A fastening made by looping a piece of string on itself and tightening it. Also, unit of speed equivalent to one nautical mile per hour.


L.
Leeward. The side of the boat away from the direction from which the wind blows; the side sheltered from the wind. The opposite side is windward.

Lanyard. A short rope used to tie anything securely.

Latitude. The distance north or south of the equator measured and expressed in degrees.

Longitude. The distance east or west of the Greenwich meridian measured and expressed in degrees.


M.
Mast. Any upright wooden or metal supporting pole, especially one carrying the sails of a ship, or aerial.

Multihull. A yacht is no longer just a yacht. It is either a monohull ie single hulled, or multihulled. If it has two hulls it is a catamaran. Three make it a trimaran.

Mooring. A place on the water where a boat or ship is secured. Can also mean the ropes, chains or anchors by which the boat is tied.


N.
Nautical mile. One minute (ie one sixtieth) of a degree of latitude; approximately 6076 feet - about 1/8 longer than the statute mile of 5280 feet.
O.
Overboard. Over the side or out of the boat, as in "Man Overboard!"

Outboard (motor). A small detachable engine which may be mounted on a boat's stern and used to power an inflatable dinghy for shore trips.


P.
Port. The side of the ship that is on the left when one is facing forward. Can also mean an opening in the side of a ship for boarding or loading.

Painter. A line attached to the bow of a boat for use in towing or mooring.


R.
Reef. To reduce the area of sail available to the wind.

Rudder. A flat blade hinged vertically below the waterline near the stern of the boat used for steering.


S.
Sail. A sheet of canvas extended on a mast to catch the wind as a means of propelling a ship.

Sheet. As a noun, a term for a rope attached to the lower corner of sails. As a verb, to trim the sails, ie make them either more or less taut.

Starboard. The right side of the ship when facing forward

Spinnaker. A huge, brightly-coloured sail often referred to coloquially as a kite which can be raised at the front of the boat in light to moderate winds to increase speed.

Spar. A thick, strong pole used for a mast or yard on a ship.


T.
Trim. To adjust the sails depending on the position and or strength of the wind.

Tiller. A pole or lever used to turn a rudder and steer a boat.

Tender. A small boat used to transport equipment and crew from shore to a larger boat.


V.
VMG. Short for Velocity Made Good. It is the measure of the speed at which a boat is calculated to have sailed up or downwind.

Vane. Small flag worn at each mast head to show wind direction.

VHF. Short for Very High Frequency, as in radio.


W.
Windlass. A winding pole or lever used to pull in cable or turn a winch.

Whisker pole. A light spar which holds the jib out when sailing downwind.

Wake. A trail of disturbed water left by a ship.

Windward. Facing the wind or the side of the boat facing the prevailing winds. Opposite to leeward.


Y.
Yacht. A boat or small ship, usually with sails and often with an engine, built for racing or cruising.

Yard. A spar usually fixed horizontally to a mast to support a sail.


Z.
Zephyr. A gentle breeze from the west.

Volvo Ocean Race

Volvo Features

LEG-BY-LEG GUIDE

CLICKABLE GUIDES

INTERNET LINKS
Links to more Sailing stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Sailing stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

Sport Front Page | Football | Cricket | Rugby Union | Rugby League |
Tennis | Golf | Motorsport | Boxing | Athletics | Other Sports |
Special Events | Sports Talk | BBC Pundits | TV & Radio | Question of Sport |
Photo Galleries | Funny Old Game | N Ireland | Scotland | Wales