Speak Like A Nautical Pro Using Sailing Terminology
Sailing Terminology is like a whole new language to explore. The nautical terms are hundreds of years old and are still used today.
The sailing terms can be quite complex in places. But after sometime the words come more naturally to you
and it becomes easier to say things that would sound stupid in any other context.
First things first. These are the ultimate sailing terms that everyone should know already, because they are so
commonly used in film and media.
Port and Starboard.
Port means left of the boat and Starboard means right of the boat.
Most people don't know that the front is called the Bow and the back is called the Stern.
Those are the easy ones out of the way, the rest of these you may or may not know. Here is a small glossary
of common sailing terms in alphabetical order:
- Anchor - A heavy piece of metal that is used to secure a vessel at a point
- Apparent Wind - The wind that you feel on your skin when you are moving
- Beam Reach - 90 degrees from the wind. Sails out half.
- Beating - Around 40 degrees from the wind. Almost head to wind. All sails in tight
- Bow - The front of a boat
- Broad Reach - 135 degrees from the wind. Sails out three quarters. Usually fastest point of sail.
- Buoy - An anchored flotation sphere used to mark a position in the water
- Capsize - When the boat turns over 90 degrees to windward or leeward
- Catamaran - A twinned hull boat with no centreboard
- Close Haul - 45 degrees from the wind. Sails out a quarter
- Crew - The person holding the gibsheet and controls the centreboard trim. Also controls the spinnaker
- Dinghy - A small boat capable of supporting one or two people
- Gybing - Turning a boat's stern through the wind and changing direction. The sails, the crew and the helm
- Heel - The boat turns over onto its side, because the weight distribution is not correct (not hiking out enough)
- Helmsman - The person holding the mainsheet and the tiller extension. Controlling the direction of
- Knot (Nautical Mile) - Means 1 nautical mile an hour, which is roughly equivalent to 1.15 miles per hour or 1.852 kilometres per hour
- Leeward - Closer to where the wind is going
- Mark - A buoy that is given a number and a designation (windward mark, gybe mark or leeward mark)
- Port - The left side of a boat
- Reefing - The process of reducing the mainsail's sail area in strong winds
- Running - 180 degrees from the wind. Sails out full. Usually slowest point of sail.
- Stern - The back of a boat
- Starboard - The right side of a boat
- Tacking - Turning the boat's bow head to wind and changing direction. The sails, the crew and the helm change side
- Trimaran - A three hull boat with no centreboard. Usually used by disabled people or for the paralympics
- True Wind - The wind you feel when the boat is not moving
- Turtled - When the boat turns over 180 degrees to windward or leeward
- Windward - Closer to where the wind comes from
These are the most important sailing terminology you will come across in sailing, so learn them!
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