Glossary

A - B

A

ABEAM
Sailing at right angles to the wind, i.e. between 80° and 100° of the true wind.
AEROFOIL MAST
Mast with teardrop profile that can swivel.
ANTICYCLONE
High atmospheric pressures, higher than 1015 hPa (HectoPascal).
APPARENT WIND
Vector combination of true wind and relative wind (shown by yacht's vane).
APPENDAGES
Submerged parts used to control the boat (rudders) or prevent leeway (keel, centerboards).

 

B

BALLAST
Lead weight in the keel used to compensate for the heel caused by the wind in the sails.
BALLAST TANK
Container that can be filled with seawater to add weight to the boat and/or alter its longitudinal trim.
BATTEN
Carbon fiber slats slotted into the mainsail to shape the fabric.
BEAM WIND
Sailing direction between beam reach and running when a spinnaker (broad reach to running) or gennaker (abeam to broad reach) can be set.
BEAR AWAY (TO)
Change direction by coming away from or falling off the eye of the wind; the tiller is pulled up.
BEATING, BEAT UP WIND (TO)
Sail on the same point by going about, usually close-hauled.
BEAUFORT SCALE
Wind speed is rated from 0 Calm to 12 Hurricane.
BOOM
Pole or spar extending horizontally from the mast that holds the foot of the mainsail.
BOW
Front part of the sailboat.
BULB, BULB KEEL
Teardrop-shaped lead weight at the keel bottom.

 

C - F

C

CHANDLERY, FITTINGS
All the equipment used to handle a sailboat (pulleys, winches, ropes, etc.)
CIRCUMNAVIGATION
Sailing around the world.
CLOSE HAULED, BY THE WIND
Sailing point closest to the wind, i.e. about 45° to the wind direction.
CLOSE REACHING
Point of sail between close-hauled and wind abeam, i.e. between 50° and 90° of the true wind.
COFFEE GRINDER
Vertical Winch with two handles and a great force of reduction.
CORIOLIS EFFECT
Due to the effect, cyclones rotate counterclockwise in the Northern hemisphere and clockwise in the Southern hemisphere.

 

D

DEAD CALM
Flat calm, no wind.

 

E

EASE OFF (TO), SLACKEN
Loosen a sheet or halyard.

 

F

FOIL
A foil, also called a lift supporting design, is an appendage which is stuck out on both sides of the hull. With a strong wind on the beam, they increase the speed of the boat.
FOOT
Linear measure of about 30.48 centimeters (60 feet = 18.29 meters).
FOOT
Bottom edge of a sail running between the tack (front of the sail) and the clew (point where the sheet is attached).
FOREFOOT
Front part of the boat between the bow and the keel.

 

G - K

G

GAFF
System of spars used to extend a sail's area near the mast head.
GENNAKER
Triangular headsail set for beam wind used between 90° and 120° of true wind.
GENOA
Headsail, jib with large foot.
GO ABOUT
Change tack by moving the bow of the boat through the wind by luffing.
GO OVERBOARD
To go to extremes, as a result of enthusiasm. The skipper goes as fast as he can.
GUY, BRACE
Part of sheet to windward (spinnaker or downwind sail), the downwind part remains the sheet.
GYBE (TO) OR JIBE (TO)
Change tack by passing the boat's stern through the wind and making the boom move from one side to the other.

 

H

HALYARD
Line used to hoist the sails.
HEAD WIND
Into the wind, the boat stops. Also called in irons.
HEADER
Wind rotation unfavorable to the yacht's progress.
HECTOPASCAL (HPA)
international unit used to measure atmospheric pressure; isobars are lines of equal pressure on weather charts.
HEELING
The boat leans over due to the wind pressure on the sails.
HELM, TILLER OR WHEEL
Mechanism, tiller or wheel, used to steer the boat.
HULL, BOTTOM
Submerged part of the hull.

 

I - J

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K

KNOT
Speed of one nautical mile per hour (1852 meters per hour)

 

L - P

L

LEECH
Trailing edge of a sail running between the head (at the mast head) and the clew (at the bottom).
LEEWARD (TO)
Everything on the lee side of the boat (away from the wind).
LIFT (TO), SHIVER (TO)
When a boat heads into the eye of the wind, the airflow stalls on the sail which flaps or shivers (going about or sails not trimmed)
LOW PRESSURE AREA
Low atmospheric pressures, lower than 1015 hPa.
LOWER (TO), HAUL IN (TO)
Bring in, lower a sail.
LUFF
Leading edge of a sail; on the mainsail this is the edge that slides up and down the mast.
LUFF UP (TO)
Change direction by coming up to the eye of the wind; the tiller is pushed down.

 

M

MAINSAIL
Sail led up the mast (by the luff) and attached to the boom (by the foot).
METEOROLOGY DATA
Computer data giving the wind speed and direction.

 

N

NAUTICAL MILE
Distance of 1852 meters corresponding to one minute of arc along a meridian.
NAVIGATION TABLE
Fixed or gimballed table used to lay out the ship's charts.

 

O

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P

PITCH
Longitudinal oscillation of a sailboat caused by the waves.
POINTS OF SAIL
Yacht's angle in relation to the wind direction (close hauled, close reach, abeam, broad reach, running).
PORT
Left-hand side of a boat.

 

Q - T

Q

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R

RATING RULES
Rules defining a yacht's characteristics to be followed by the architect (length, draft, emergency equipment, etc.).
REACH
Point of sail between wind abeam and wind astern, i.e. between 110° and 150° of the true wind.
REEFING
System for reducing the area of the mainsail in strong wind.
RELATIVE WIND
Wind created by a moving sailboat.
RIGGING
Equipment used to handle sails, either standing (e.g. mast, shrouds, stays) or running (e.g. sheets, halyards).
ROACH
Upper curve of the mainsail supported by the battens.
RUDDER BLADE
Submerged part of the rudder system.
RUNNING
Sailing downwind with the wind astern, i.e. between 160° and 180° of the true wind.
ROLL
To move forward along a surface by revolving on an axis or by repeatedly turning over.

 

S

SHEET
Line attached to corner of sail used for control (a sheet is bent to a sail).
SHIVER (TO), SPILL (TO)
Wind blanketed by land or obstacle (another boat).
SHROUD
Steel or synthetic fiber cable that supports the mast sideways.
SOLENT
Headsail, jib with small foot.
SPINNAKER OR KITE
Billowing sail set for beam wind used between 120° and 180° of true wind.
STARBOARD
Right-hand side of a boat.
STAYSAIL
Headsail, light breeze jib.
STORM JIB
Headsail, very small jib for heavy weather.
SWING KEEL OR CANTING
Keel (blade and ballast bulb) that can tilt sideways to about 40°.

 

T

TACK
The tack of the sail is the front bottom corner; the tack is also the boat's orientation in relation to the wind (the side of the boat taking the wind first), i.e. starboard tack or port tack.
TACKING
Sail close-hauled in zigzag course beating into the wind.
TRIM
The boat's balance when sailing. Lateral trim for heel angle; longitudinal trim for the angle on the bow.
TRUE WIND
Real direction and speed of wind, created by differences of atmospheric pressure.

 

U - Z

U

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V

VEER AFT (TO)
Wind rotation favorable to the yacht's progress.

 

W

WINCH
Small winch with removable handle used to tauten sheets.
WINDWARD
Everything on the wind side of the boat.

 

X-Y-Z

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