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The Sailing Term for Bulging of Sail?

by Truke

I would like to know if there is a word for the 'bulging' of a sail, when a boat sails close to the wind. First it will start flapping, or luffing, but then the wind blows more directly into the sail on the 'wrong'side.

I need to build up a very small terminolgy database and need translations of words. If it may help the word, is 'killen' in Dutch. And to be clear, this is definitely not the same as 'to luff'.

Thank you in advance!


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Apr 30, 2010
"Killing" the propulsion.
by: Han

Hi Truke,

The answer to your question, I'm sure, is somewhere in Alex's articles; I would bet on "Points of Sail".
In short, (and I'm happy you mentioned "killen" as an example of what you mean because I'm a Dutchman: where did you learn the word?), there's a double meaning in English for "to luff": the first one is to steer higher into the wind, the second is the phenomenon you describe: the camber, built into the sail by the sailmaker, flaps back as a sign of disturbance of the airflow.
When I learned English in school (I was an accomplished sailor by that time) it was nice to discover that "killen" is a beautiful pun for killing the propulsion of the boat by the sail.

I do hope this is the right answer for you; if not, ring the bell once more.



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