Marine / Sailing Glossary A-C

Toward the stern of a boat, but outside the boat

Direction at right angles to the centreline of a boat.

Floating without any means of propulsion, and without mooring.

Toward the stern of a boat.

When a boat is stranded on the shore, or on the bottom of the body of water, it is
said to have run aground.

To leeward, toward the opposite to the source of the wind side of a boat.

All standing
To have all sails flying when running before the wind.

Overhead, above deck level

In the middle of the boat

Any type of hook or weight used to grip the bottom and attached by a cable prevent the boats drifting. There
are different types of anchors.

Apparent wind
The combination of the true wind and the wind caused by the boat’s own speed. This is the wind felt on the
boat, as well as the one shown by the telltales.

To be on or to go to the shore.

Aspect ratio
Concerns sails – the ratio of height to the length. A narrow but tall sail has a high aspect ratio, and a wide but
shorter sail has a low aspect ratio.

Behind the boat

At right angles to the centerline of the boat.

A device – may be electronic or mechanical – used for keeping the boat on course without having to steer it. It
uses a compass, and is attached to the boat’s steering mechanism.

Auxiliary/Auxiliary power
An engine that is permanently installed on the boat. Unfortunately it has to be used sometimes to power the boat. The
engine is also usually used to recharge the batteries.

Back a sail
To hold a sail in such a way, that the wind will fill it from the opposite to usual side. This maneuver
is used to slow down the boat (as if applying brakes), or to force a boat to tack when in irons.

Backing wind
A change in wind direction running counterclockwise, as in from west to southwest.

A rigging wire used to keep the mast from moving forward, as well as to vary the amount of bend in the mast. A
permanent backstay goes to the transom. Running backstays go to each gunwhale.

If your sails are filled with the wind on the opposite side to what you want (for example, if they are trimmed
for the starboard tack, but you get the wind from the port side), you are said to be backwinded.

To get rid of water accumulated in the boat. Dinghies are often fitted with self bailers which, when opened, drained water out of the

A very heavy material, such as lead or iron, placed in the keel of the boat, or in the bilge. It is used to
provide stability. In sailing dinghies the crew uses their weight as ballast.

Bare poles
In a very strong wind it is possible to be propelled by the force of the wind on only the mast and the boom. To
sail in such a way is called “bare poles”.

Thin strips of wood or plastic inserted into batten pockets used to stiffen the leech (to preserve the
shape of the sail).

The widest part of a boat.

The direction an object from teh viewer (based on the compass heading).

Lower part of a hull.

A device containing at least one sheave (pulley wheel) for altering the directiuon of a rope or to provide a purchase.

A spar (a wooden or metal pole) attached to the mast at a right angle, used to support the foot of a sail.

A reinforcing rope along the luff or the foot of the sail, it is slid into a slot along the edge of a spar
(mast, boom).

The front end of a boat.

Brace from the end of a bowspirit to the lower point of the stern.

Strong point for securing a rope. This may be ashore or on another vessel.

A spar that’s attached to the bow of a boat, along the centerline of the boat. The forestay can be attached to
it – thus allowing for a greater sail area.

Broad Reach
Sailing with the wind slightly aft of the beam.

Upright partition across the boat.

Any object floating as a marker and anchored to the bottom. It may be used as a naviagtional aid, a means of mooring or as an indicator of
a racing course.

Force which enables anything to float. Many boats have built in buoyancy tanks in case of the hull being holed or the
boats capsizing.

Buoyancy Aid
Safety garment to keeps its wearer afloat but (in Britain) one without the qualities that permit it to be called a

Small flag often at the mast head which is often used to indicate wind direction.

A twin hulled craft

A pivoting board that prevents the boat from sliding sideways.

The center of the boat: from the stern to the bow.

A nautically specialized map.

The angle between the side and bottom of a boat.

A fitting for securing a line. It can be wooden, metal or nylon.

An aft corner of a triangular sail.

Close Hauled
Sailing as close as possible to the wind

The rear boat area from where the crew operates the boat. Also refers to the area below decks.

People who operate a boat. The crew in a two man sailing dinghy usually refers to the person operating the jib sail /spinaker.

Rope loop or eye formed in sail or net.

Shelter on a boat not large enough to be a cabin.