Are you going to buy a sailboat? Perhaps you are new to the sport and need to learn more. Before you take lessons, understanding some basic sailing terms will give you a head start and make the process much easier. Here are 11 important things that all first time sailors should know.
1. Port and Starboard
So many people constantly get these two terms mixed up and it cab be a real problem if someone is giving you directions. The best way to avoid this is the use common memory tricks or strategies. See yourself sitting in the boat and you are facing the front. Port is to the left and starboard is to your right. Here are three memory tips:
- The word "port" and the word "left" both have the same amount of letters.
- Imagine a bottle of red "port" wine (port lights on a ship are red).
- Think of a ship that has left "port" and went out to see.
2. Stern or Aft
The stern is always the back part of your boat. This is sometimes referred to as "aft". To remember this, think of the back section as "after" or "aft".
This is the front section of the boat. Remember, when you are facing the bow, that is how your determine port and starboard.
4. Windward and Leeward
These terms are not hard to remember. Windward means in the direction that the wind is currently blowing. This term is very important because that is the easiest way to sail, so the wind will carry you forward. Leeward is the opposite of windward. When you are leeward you are facing the wind.
This is the cross pole or horizontal pole on your mast. IT connects the sail to the mast and you adjust settings on the boom to sail in the direction you want.
Tacking is a sailing maneuver you must be familiar with. When you turn your boat's bow through the wind, this is tacking Also, while sailing you are on port tack if the wind is blowing over your port side. Naturally, when the wind is blowing over starboard, you are on starboard tack.
This is just the opposite of tack. Instead of turning your bow through the wind, you are adjusting the stern through the wind. Choosing a tack or jibe maneuver all depends on which way the wind is blowing.
This is a very important part of your boat. The rudder runs underneath a boat and is what steers the sailboat. Some boats use wheels while others have a control in the aft section.
The mainsail is the large triangle shaped sail behind the mast (to the aft). It is attached to the boom.
This sail is located in front of the mast and is not connected to a boom. Just about every kind of sailboat has a jib sail.
When someone talks about a sailboat's lines, they are referring to the ropes onboard.