Boating 101

The Language of Sailing

Below is a list I compiled of basic sailing terminology that I quickly had to learn upon moving aboard ZV. A lot of these words I had never heard in my 26 years of life. I will continue to update this list as it grows.

  1. Port and Starboard: left and right. (Tip: remember left/port both have 4 letters right/starboard do not)
  1. Head sail: also referred to as the jib or Genoa. The sail on the bow of the boat.
  2. Mainsail: the sail connected to the mast of the vessel.
  3. Companion way: the stairs leading below deck
  4. Cabins: bedrooms
  5. Head: bathroom
  6. Lazarettes: storage lockers in the cockpit and on the swim platform used for storage
  7. Anchor snubber: a line attached to a cleat and hooked onto the anchor chain when it is dropped. It’s purpose is to reduce tension on the chain.
  8. Windlass: mechanical doodad that pulls in the anchor
  9. Cleat: stainless steel post used to tie off lines to
  10. Running lights:red and green lights located on the sides of a vessel, turned on while in motion to indicate leaving and returning
  11. Spreader lights: high power lights that illuminate the deck
  12. Bimini: cover above the steering wheel
  13. Dodger: cover above the companion way
  14. Hatch: glass windows that open and form a sealwhen closed
  15. Thru Hull: a pipe that goes out of the boat through the hull ex:sink and toilet
  16. Main Halyard: line that goes to the top of the mast. Raises mainsail. (Halyard lines can be located in different places on boat so always refer to it as “____” halyard)
  17. Jib/Genoa/Headsail: same thing
  18. Tack: pull the port side lines to bring headsail into the wind
  19. Jibe: pull starboard lines to bring head sail into the wind
Beneteau Oceanis 430

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